VietNamNet Bridge - "Sovereignty must be peacefully established and exercised by the State, without dispute, absolutely not sovereignty seized by force," said Prof. Dr. Nguyen Quang Ngoc, the chair of the Council for Appraisal of Artifacts, Historical and Legal Evidence for Vietnam’s Sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands.
The World Atlas (Bruxelles - 1827) by the eminent geographer Philippe Vandermaelen (1795-1869), member of the Paris Geographical Society, includes a map showing that the Paracel Islands belong to Vietnam.
Prof. Dr. of History Nguyen Quang Ngoc was one of the first members of the Council for Appraisal of Artifacts, Historical and Legal Evidence for Vietnam’s Sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands.
He has long been completing the tasks of assessment, decoding artifacts, compiling historical and legal evidence and arranging them to serve as basis for exhibitions on the Hoang Sa - Truong Sa islands held by the Ministry of Information and Communications.
Ngoc said there is much legal evidence that affirms Vietnam's sovereignty over the two archipelagos of Hoang Sa - Truong Sa, including important and vivid evidence contributed by ordinary people.
Ngoc said the first exhibition of this type was organized by Da Nang City named "Hoang Sa - Truong Sa Documents," mainly the documents about Hoang Sa. The documents are part of ta research project by Dr. Tran Duc Anh Son and some overseas Vietnamese. They include a number of Western maps and Western atlases about China.
When the External Information Department of the Ministry of Information and Communication organized the national exhibition on Hoang Sa - Truong Sa, Mr. Ngoc was invited as the chair of the document evaluation council, which consisted of many experts from the Government Boundary Committee, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Center for Marine and Maritime Research, the Mapping Bureau, and others.
The Council decided to choose historic Western maps collected by Dr. Tran Duc Anh Son, the Western Atlas about China that had recently been collected in the US, and some old maps and documents of Vietnam, particularly documents called “Chau Ban” (administrative documents of the royal court) as the exhibits in the national exhibition on Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa in the central province of Ha Tinh. The exhibition was a big success.
After each exhibition, the organizers received opinions and materials from the public to enrich their objects, documents and evidence for the next exhibition.
At the exhibition in Thai Nguyen, the organizers added photos of historic maps of the West, proving Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa. These are the photos of the original maps, so the quality is very good, Ngoc said. According to Ngoc, these photos were taken by Dr. Tran Duc Anh Son in France. Among them is a map by Taberd in 1838.
The birth certificate of a citizen on the Paracel Islands, provided by the people, for an exhibition held by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment in Ho Chi Minh City.
Ngoc said the amount of evidence, both historical and legal, of Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa, is huge. In terms of ancient maps alone, there are several hundred old maps of the West but the council only chose several dozen of the maps for exhibitions. There are also many valuable “chau ban”, particularly those of the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945).
Ngoc said sovereignty is national sovereignty, ie sovereignty that is established and enforced by the State in conditions of peace, without dispute, absolutely not sovereignty seized by force, or sovereignty of individuals or factions. Therefore, documents of the state or “chau ban” are the most appreciated in regards to legality.
He emphasized that the “chau ban”, including the reports of ministries and agencies to the emperor on sending boats to Hoang Sa to map and collect marine resources, are unique documents that only Vietnam has. These documents are highly praised for their legal value over Vietnam’s sovereignty of Hoang Sa and Truong Sa.