To: Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General
The United Nations
One United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
On behalf of the Federation of Associations of the Republic of Vietnam Navy and Marine Merchant, we, the undersigned concerned Republic of Vietnam Navy Veterans,Vietnamese American Intellectuals and all other American citizens in the United States of America, respectfully bring to your attention the issue of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Vietnam with regards to the Paracels and Spratley archipelagoes and ask for your immediate intervention and support.
The Paracels and Spratley groups of islands had historically been in the interest of the Vietnamese people. Our Nguyen dynasty at the beginning of the 19th century had officially and unequivocally integrated them into the national community with the establishment of a formal administrative jurisdiction over them
These two archipelagoes are situated on the Vietnamese continental shelf as defined in Article 76 of the United Nation Law of the Sea Convention (1982)
China had repeatedly used forces to usurp the sovereignty of Vietnam, over the eastern group of Paracels in 1956 and over the rest of the archipelago in 1974 and over the occupation of 8 more reefs and islands of the Spratley archipelago in 1988. In two instances sea battles had occurred and Vietnamese blood was shed for the defense of its territorial integrity.
The alarming Chinese military expansion in the South East Asia is all too blatant with the redraw of the map, the declaration of sovereignty over the entire South China Sea, the special effort to build a seapower with aircraft carrier and nuclear submarines and the construction of naval bases in the disputed area.
China' s ruthless gunboat policy in the South China Sea is creating a dangerous atmosphere of tension among contending nations such as Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines. The situation could degenerate into serious armed conflicts, which would destabilize the entire South East Asia region if the Free World keeps ignoring China' s aggressive behavior.
We hereby urgently ask the Secretary-general with all the power vested in the United Nations to adjure China to restitute the Paracels archipelago to Vietnam. To give top priority to a peaceful solution of the present conflict at the Spratley archipelago, an international committee for a permanent and equitable ruling must be formed with the participation of the United States and other seapowers as voting members to assure fairness for all and compliance by all
The Honorable Madeleine Albright,
Secretary of State
U.S. State Department
Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Mrs. Albright:
On behalf of the Federation of Associations of the Republic of Vietnam Navy and Merchant Marine, we, the undersigned concerned Republic of Vietnam Navy Veterans,Vietnamese American Intellectuals and all other American citizens in the United States of America, earnestly bring to your attention the issues of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Vietnam and the Gunboat policy of the Republic of China in the South China Sea.
As your Honorable is well aware, the Paracels and the Spratley archipelagoes belong to Vietnam legally and historically. They are situated on the natural continental shelf as defined in Article 76 of the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (1982)
From time immemorial these islands had been in the scope of the Vietnamese interest. Due to the lack of a vast fertile inland, our people had been naturally exploiting the rich resources of the Eastern Sea for survival. At the beginning of the 19th century the Nguyen dynasty integrated the above archipelagoes in our national community and established the related administrative jurisdiction. It was a decisive and unequivocal course of action to claim sovereignty over the Paracels and Spratley Islands However, three times in the century, China had violated the Law of the Sea and used the Gunboat Policy to usurp the territorial integrity of Vietnam. In 1956 taking advantage of the French withdrawal, Chinese military forces occupied the eastern group of the Paracels archipelago.
In 1974, while the Republic of South Vietnam was under the all-out assault from the North Vietnamese communists, China again forcefully took over the rest of the islands after a bloody battle with the South Vietnamese navy. In 1988 China went further south to occupy 8 reefs and islands of the Spratley archipelago disregarding protests from violated countries. Another battle ensued and again more blood was shed for the defense of Vietnam territory. In 1983 China redrew the map and claimed sovereignty over the entire South China Sea and in 1992 issued a law stating that military vessels and scientific vessels (meaning oil rigs) going through these water must request Chinese permission.
The Chinese ambition to move in and contest the control of the Pacific Ocean at least on the eastern side is all too clear. With the Japanese navy being only a defensive force, and the United States navy gradually leaving all Far East strategic bases, China sees the opportunity to annex the South China Sea and monopolize its vast mineral and biological wealth. To reach this goal, the Chinese government is implementing systematic steps as follow:
1) Redraw the map and declare sovereignty over the entire South China Sea. 2) Reinforce her navy through the purchase of an aircraft carrier from Ukraine and the conversion of a large cargo ship into another one. 3) Augment the size of the submarine force to include nuclear units capable of long range operation. 4) Acquire midair refueling technique from Iran to increase the operating range of its fighting airplanes. 5) Build a naval base at the Paracels with airfield capable of operating fixed wing aircrafts.
For a traditionally agricultural country, these sudden efforts of China to become a sea power with long-range capability truly do not forebode anything good for the peace and stability of the Far East region. We firmly believe that the United States, in her leading role for a better world community must act now to stop China in its idea of turning the South China Sea into a national lake. China, like any other nations, must abide by all international laws that constitute the foundation of the World Order.
Therefore, we urgently request Madam the Secretary of State to bring the current disputes regarding the Paracels and the Spratley archipelagoes to the United Nations International Court of Justice for a fair and equitable ruling that all contending nations can live with. We also request that the United States of America be one of the voting members of any international committee for this matter to assure fairness to all and compliance by all.
Mr. Jiang Zemin, President
C.C.P. Central Committee
Zhongnanhai, Xi Cheng Qu, Beijing
People's Republic of China
Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of the Federation of Associations of the Republic of Vietnam Navy and Merchant Marine, we, the undersigned concerned Republic of Vietnam Navy Veterans, Vietnamese American Intellectuals and all other American citizens in the United States of America, earnestly bring to your attention the important issues of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Vietnam with regard to the Paracels and Spratley archipelagoes.
Historically, these islands had been in the scope of Vietnamese interest. This is understandable since, unlike China which enjoys immense and fertile farming lands, the country of Vietnam is only a narrow and elongate littoral band of many hundreds miles. Therefore from time immemorial, Vietnamese people had turned toward the Eastern Sea for their survival. The integration of these two archipelagoes into our national community had been a decisive and unequivocal fact at the beginning of the 19th century by the reigning Nguyen dynasty, which made them legally, and officially parts of the country. This course of action was fully supported by records at our national archives as well as by documentation of re-known world historians.
Furthermore, Paracels and Spratley are much closer to Vietnam than to any surrounding nations, including China. Also they are situated on the natural extension of the Vietnamese continental shelf as defined in Article 76 of the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention (1982).
However, in the last decades, China had used its powerful navy and taken advantage of the troubling times its neighbor was facing to occupy the Eastern group of the Paracels in 1956 and the rest of the archipelago in 1974 after a bloody sea battle with the Vietnamese navy. In 1988 China went further South to the Spratley archipelago to annex other reefs and islands. Another battle ensued and more blood was shed in the defense of Vietnam territorial integrity.
Obviously with her current military strength, China has the capability to usurp any island in that far out area. However her illegal activities are not only recorded as gross injustices to be resolved sooner or later by the international community, but most important they are forever the root causes of unhealthy hatred and animosity among the Chinese and the Vietnamese people.
Mr. President, you have vast knowledge of international relations and you understand their implications on the stability of the world and the responsibility of individual nations in the safeguard of the New World Order, which is based on mutual respect and partnership. You have been seen deeply involved in global organizations, which serve the interest and welfare of all nations, from superpowers to lesser-developed ones.
With this in mind, and since China is one of the Charter members of the United Nations Organization, we urgently request Mr. President:
1) To restitute the Paracels Islands to Vietnam
2) To bring the territorial dispute of the Spratley archipelago to the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ).
A fair ruling on maritime boundaries and claims of seabed and subsoil resources of the region is much needed to avoid further armed confrontations in the area and to allow contending nations to live in good friendship and prosperous neighborhood.