White Paper On The Hoang Sa and Truong Sa Islands, Republic of Vietnam, Saigon 1975

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    admin Thư Viện Sách Việt Staff Member Quản Trị Viên


    Table of Contents
    1. Foreword
    2. Proclamation by the Government of the Republic of Vietnam (1974)
    3. The Early Historical Rights of Vietnam
    4. First Vietnamese document on the Hoang Sa Islands
    5. First evidence from foreign sources
    6. Testimony by Vietnamese historian Le Qui Don
    7. Confirmation by other foreign sources.

    The Philippine government has also argued that the remaining islands of the Spratly archipelago (i.e., those not occupied by Philippine troops) are still -subject to the disposition of Allies in the past world war-. According to this theory, when Japan relinquished its rights over the Spratlys by the San Francisco Peace Treaty, its jurisdiction was assumed by the Allied powers who have,not yet ceded the archipelago to any particular country. No reasoning can be more disputable, since the Spratlys were already and fully part of Vietnamese territory before World War II. These islands were merely seized militarily by Japan and, just like Mindoro or Guam, must simplv return to their legitimate owner. It is obvious that military occupation by Japan could not result in any transfer of sovereignty over those islands and that Vietnam was ipso facto reinstated in her lawful rights after the defeat of Japan. In the San Francisco Peace Treaty, it was simply said that:

    "Japan renounces all right, title and claim to the Spratly Islands and to the Paracel Islands."

    Previously, the Cairo Declaration (1943) the Yalta Agreement and the Potsdam Declaration (1945), which are the basic documents for postwar territorial settlements, contained no clause contrary to the sovereignty of Vietnam over both archipelagoes. There have not been any other legal texts that attribute these territories to any country - as was correctly pointed out by the Philippine government. Thus, all sovereign rights must be returned to their legal titular, i.e., Vietnam which, since 1949 had inherited (or rather retaken) all of the former French rights over these territories. Therefore, the short clause about the Paracels and Spratlys in the San Francisco Peace Treaty was merely designed to confirm that Japan withdrew all her claims in earlier disputes with France.

    It is to the credit of the Philippine government that it has not associated itself with the burlesque adventure of one of its private citizens, Mr. Tomas Cloma, who has prt,ended to - discover - the Vietnamese Truong Sa islands in 1956 and has proclaimed an independent - Freedomland - covering most of this archipelago (39). But the fact remains that Philippine troops are presently stationed on some of the islands described by Mr. Cloma as part of K Freedomland v. This matter must be settled in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations. The Vietnamese people are entirely confident that the legal and peaceful channels available to solve such disputes will confirm the legitimacy of their rights.

    Regarding China, it must be stressed that few people have had knowledge of any Chinese claims over the Spratlys in the past (40). In a sudden move on August. 24, 1951, Netv China in Peking attacked both French and Philippine claims regarding these islands and stated that they must be considered to be - outposts of Chinese national territory -. Subsequently, the People's Republic of China continued to issue statements filled with threats to use force in order to seize the Truong Sa archipelago (41). But it was the Republic of China's government which took the initiative and sent troops from Taiwan to occupy Thai Binh Island (Itu-Aba) on June 8, 1956. Itu-Aba is the largest island of the Spratlys and thus was a kind of - capital - where all French services were centered. As late as December 1973, the Far Eastern Economic Review of Hongkong reported that a marker still stood there with the inscription: (France - Ile ItuAba et Dependances - 10 Aouit 1933 - (42).

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