ISLANDS AND ARCHIPELAGOS OF VIET NAM 18

In April 1975 the Vietnamese People’s Navy liberated the islands of Truong Sa, Son Ca, Nam Yet, Song Tu Tay, Sinh Ton and An Bang, which had been occupied by the Sai Gon army. The provisional revolutionary government of the Republic of South Viet Nam asserted the sovereignty of Viet Nam over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos and declared its rights of protection of the islands.
On 2 July 1976 Viet Nam was unified under the new name the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. Since then, as the inheritor of the ownership of the islands from the previous administration, Viet Nam has held itself responsible for protecting sovereignty over the islands and has issued many important legal documents concerning them.
The Constitutions of 1980 and 1992, the 2003 Law on the States Boundaries, the Government Declaration on 12 November 1977 on Territorial Waters, Contiguous Zone, Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf of Viet Nam, the Government Declaration on 12 November 1982 on the Baseline to be Used for Measuring the Width of Viet Nam’s Territorial Waters have all asserted that Hoang Sa and Triicing Sa are an integral part of Vietnamese territory, which has its own sea areas to be specifically defined in the followed documents. In 1979, 1981 and 1988 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the SRVN published the White Books on sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos. These documents clearly proved the sovereignty of Viet Nam over these two archipelagos in all the aspects of history, legality and international practice.
Proceeding from the demand for managing these two archipelagos, on 9 December 1982 the Council of Ministers of the SRVN issued the decree organizing Hoang Sa archipelago into the Hoang Sa island district of Quang Nam-Ba Nang province, and Truong Sa archipelago into the Triidng Sa island district of Dong Nai province. On 28 December 1982, at the 4th session of the 7th National Assembly of Viet Nam was issued the resolution separating the Truong Sa island district from Dong Nai province and merging it into Phu Khanh province (now Khanh Hoa province). On 6 November 1996, pursuant to the resolution issued at the 10th session of the SRVN National Assembly (9th tenure), Hoang Sa district was separated from the former Quang Nam-Da Nang province and was merged into the centrally-managed Da Nang City. The authorities of the two Hoang Sa and Truong Sa island districts now take over the management tasks.
The resolution issued at the 5th session of the SRVN National Assembly (9lh tenure) on 23 June 1994, which approved the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982, clearly stated: “The National Assembly once again asserts the sovereignty of Viet Nam over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos. The National Assembly tends to resolve debates of territorial sovereignty and other disagreements on the East Sea through peaceful negotiations. Debates should be resolved in the spirit of equality, mutual understanding and respect for international laws, especially for the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982 and respect for the rights of sovereignty and the jurisdiction rights of coastal states over the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. While accelerating negotiation to find basic and long-term solutions, the states concerned must retain stability on the basis of the status quo, not to take actions which would make the situation be more complicated, not to use violence or threaten to use violence.” The National Assembly further stressed: “The resolution of debates on Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos must be distinguished from the protection of the sea areas and continental shelf under the sovereignty of Viet Nam, under the rights of sovereignty and the jurisdiction rights of Viet Nam in accordance with the principles and standards of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982.”
At present Viet Nam actually manages 21 islands, rocks and shallow grounds belonging to the Truong Sa archipelago. Viet Nam has unceasingly strengthened and developed the material infrastructure, economy and society in order to turn step by step this island district into a territorial administrative unit on par with its position and role in the territorial administrative system of the SRVN.
Now Vietnamese people live on 21 islands and shallow grounds of Truong Sa archipelago, of which are the nine floating islands of Song Tu Tay, Nam Yet, Son Ca, Sinh Ton, Sinh Ton Dong, Truong Sa, Truong Sa Dong, Phan Vinh and An Bang; and the 12 shallow grounds including Da Lat, Thuyen Chai, Da Tay, Da Dong, Toc Tan, Nui Le, Tien Nu, Len Dao, Co Lin, Da Lem, Nui Thi and Da Nam.
Truong Sa archipelago has great potential in terms of oil and gas. As an integral part of Vietnamese territory, Truong Sa archipelago now belongs to Truong Sa district of Khanh Hoa province.
Given the strategic position of Truong Sa archipelago, Viet Nam has considered the protection of this archipelago and the East Sea at large a significantly important task now and in the future.

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