Historian debunks China’s claim over Hoang Sa


VietNamNet Bridge – At several international seminars recently, some senior officials, generals, diplomats and scholars of China claimed that the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 is positioned within the exclusive economic zone of Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago of China. However, the claim is completely groundless, as many researchers have pointed out.



Hoang Sa, oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981, international law
A Chinese vessel stands ready to ram into a Vietnamese ship (Photo: VNA)

Associate Professor, Dr Nguyen Hong Quan counters China’s claim with international legal principles and historical and legal evidence of Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos.

The principle of acquisition of territory in international law

While China bases its claim for the two archipelagos on the principle of “historic sovereignty” and “historic title”, citing some ancient documents mentioning Chinese travel in the East Sea , it should be pointed out that this principle has become outdated.

In the long history of the development of international law, the principles and legal norms on the establishment of sovereignty have been formed on the basis of international practice (such as real occupation, historic sovereignty or geographic distance) but it is the principle of acquisition that has become widely recognised and applied in resolving disputed territories.


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