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Vietnam's Continental Shelf
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Questions about History ?
Here are several comments on the issue of South China Sea.
(1) By the law of sea, merely discovery of an island does not guarantee a
(2) The first time China sent its stationed troop to Nansha Islands (Taiping)
is 1910 by the navy minister Li Zhun. Due to the Xin Hai Revolution of 1911,
they starved there soon.
(3) The sovereignty over one island does not guarantee the sovereignty over
uninhabited surrounding islands unless the military takes regular patrol around
(4) The sovereignty over one island grants China the territory claim 12
nautical miles around it, not the entire sea.
(5) Zeng Mu An Sha is 20 meters below sea-level. It can not be a basis for a
territory claim. Its original name is James, after its discoverer. Zeng Mu was
made up arbitarily by the ROC government.
(6) The PRC declared in 50's (signed by Zhou En Lai), that Yellow Sea and Bo
Hai are China's inner seas, East Sea (including the Taiwan Strait) and South Sea
are open waters.
(7) China has been asked by foreign countries the historical or legal
background for Chinese maps about the South Sea. The PRC foreign ministry has
not been able to give an answer.
Chinese Territory ???!!!
about Vietnam's legal rights
For its part, Vietnam asserts that: "[It] has maintained effective occupation of
the two archipelagos [Paracel and Spratly islands] at least since the 17th
century when they were not under the sovereignty of any country, and the
Vietnamese State has exercised effectively, continuously and peacefully its
sovereignty over the two archipelagos until the time when they were invaded by
the Chinese armed forces."
Hanoi also claims that France administered the islands as part of its
protectorate and that these rights passed to Vietnam with the demise of French
Indochina. France claimed to have occupied Spratly Island itself in 1930. In
April 1975 North Vietnamese forces seized six of the Spratly Islands which had
been held by South Vietnamese troops. Chinese and Vietnamese forces clashed in
the Spratly Islands in March 1988. The 'Battle of Fiery Cross Reef' left about
75 Vietnamese killed or missing and three Vietnamese ships ablaze.
Vietnam currently occupies 25 Spratly Islands features, the most of any claimant
state. It claims all the Spratly Islands, whether on the basis of sovereignty
over the islands themselves or as a consequence of claims based on its mainland
continental shelf jurisdiction.
Jane's information Group:
A code of conduct for the South China Sea?
Updated Thu., Apr. 01, 1999 at: Lon 3:14
p.m. Pra 4:14 p.m. NY 10:14 a.m. HK 10:14 p.m.
China Rejects Philippines' Tribunal Challenge
BEIJING, Apr. 01, 1999 -- (Agence France Presse) China rejected Thursday
suggestions that it should refer a territorial dispute with the Philippines in
the South China Sea to an international tribunal.
"China holds irrefutable sovereignty over the Nansha (Spratly) Islands and
adjacent waters," foreign ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi told a news briefing.
"The two sides have had friendly talks on the issue and have agreed to refrain
from doing things that would escalate the situation," Sun said.
"To internationalize this issue would escalate the situation further," he said.
Philippine President Joseph Estrada on Wednesday cancelled a planned visit to
China in May because of the diplomatic row over a reef in the South China Sea's
Spratly islands, which China refers to as Nansha.
The diplomatic row began when Manila discovered small, octagon-shaped Chinese
structures on Mischief Reef in 1995.
Beijing in 1998 expanded the structures into modern, three-story concrete
buildings that it insists are a shelter for fishermen and have no military
Mischief Reef is just 135 nautical miles from the Philippines island of Palawan.
( (c) 1999 Agence France Presse)
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