International Recognition Of China's Sovereignty over the Nansha Islands
2004-04-08 15:56

A. Many countries, world public opinions and publications of other countries recognize the Nansha Islands as Chinese territory.

1. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and the Northern Island

a) China Sea Pilot compiled and printed by the Hydrography Department of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom in 1912 has accounts of the activities of the Chinese people on the Nansha Islands in a number of places.

b) The Far Eastern Economic Review (Hong Kong) carried an article on Dec. 31 of 1973 which quotes the British High Commissioner to Singapore as having said in 1970: "Spratly Island (Nanwei Island in Chinese) was a Chinese dependency, part of Kwangtung Province… and was returned to China after the war. We can not find any indication of its having been acquired by any other country and so can only conclude it is still held by communist China."

2. France

a) Le Monde Colonial Illustre mentioned the Nansha Islands in its September 1933 issue. According to that issue, when a French gunboat named Malicieuse surveyed the Nanwei Island of the Nansha Islands in 1930, they saw three Chinese on the island and when France invaded nine of the Nansha Islands by force in April 1933, they found all the people on the islands were Chinese, with 7 Chinese on the Nanzi Reef, 5 on the Zhongye Island, 4 on the Nanwei Island, thatched houses, water wells and holy statues left by Chinese on the Nanyue Island and a signboard with Chinese characters marking a grain storage on the Taiping Island.

b) Atlas International Larousse published in 1965 in France marks the Xisha, Nansha and Dongsha Islands by their Chinese names and gives clear indication of their ownership as China in brackets.

3) Japan

a) Yearbook of New China published in Japan in 1966 describes the coastline of China as 11 thousand kilometers long from Liaodong Peninsula in the north to the Nansha Islands in the south, or 20 thousand kilometers if including the coastlines of all the islands along its coast;

b) Yearbook of the World published in Japan in 1972 says that Chinese territory includes not only the mainland, but also Hainan Island, Taiwan, Penghu Islands as well as the Dongsha, Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha Islands on the South China Sea.

4. The United States

a) Columbia Lippincott World Toponymic Dictionary published in the United States in 1961 states that the Nansha Islands on the South China Sea are part of Guangdong Province and belong to China.

b) The Worldmark Encyclopaedia of the Nations published in the United States in 1963 says that the islands of the People's Republic extend southward to include those isles and coral reefs on the South China Sea at the north latitude 4°.

c) World Administrative Divisions Encyclopaedia published in 1971 says that the People's Republic has a number of archipelagoes, including Hainan Island near the South China Sea, which is the largest, and a few others on the South China Sea extending to as far as the north latitude 4°, such as the Dongsha, Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha Islands.

5. Viet Nam

a) Vice Foreign Minister Dung Van Khiem of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam received Mr. Li Zhimin, charge d'affaires ad interim of the Chinese Embassy in Viet Nam and told him that "according to Vietnamese data, the Xisha and Nansha Islands are historically part of Chinese territory." Mr. Le Doc, Acting Director of the Asian Department of the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry, who was present then, added that "judging from history, these islands were already part of China at the time of the Song Dynasty."

b) Nhan Dan of Viet Nam reported in great detail on September 6, 1958 the Chinese Government's Declaration of September 4, 1958 that the breadth of the territorial sea of the People's Republic of China should be 12 nautical miles and that this provision should apply to all territories of the People's Republic of China, including all islands on the South China Sea. On September 14 the same year, Premier Pham Van Dong of the Vietnamese Government solemnly stated in his note to Premier Zhou Enlai that Viet Nam "recognizes and supports the Declaration of the Government of the People's Republic of China on China's territorial sea."

c) It is stated in the lesson The People's Republic of China of a standard Vietnamese school textbook on geography published in 1974 that the islands from the Nansha and Xisha Islands to Hainan Island and Taiwan constitute a great wall for the defense of the mainland of China.

B. The maps printed by other countries in the world that mark the islands on the South China Sea as part of Chinese territory include:

1. The Welt-Atlas published by the Federal Republic of Germany in 1954, 1961 and 1970 respectively;

2. World Atlas published by the Soviet Union in 1954 and 1967 respectively;

3. World Atlas published by Romania in 1957;

4. Oxford Australian Atlas and Philips Record Atlas published by Britain in 1957 and Encyclopaedia Britannica World Atlas published by Britain in 1958;

5. World Atlas drawn and printed by the mapping unit of the Headquarters of the General Staff of the People's Army of Viet Nam in 1960;

6. Haack Welt Atlas published by German Democratic in 1968;

7. Daily Telegraph World Atlas published by Britain in 1968;

8. Atlas International Larousse published by France in 1968 and 1969 respectively;

9. World Map Ordinary published by the Institut Geographique National (IGN) of France in 1968;

10. World Atlas published by the Surveying and Mapping Bureau of the Prime Minister's Office of Viet Nam in 1972; and

11. China Atlas published by Neibonsya of Japan in 1973.

C. China's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands is recognized in numerous international conferences.

1. The 1951 San Francisco Conference on Peace Treaty called on Japan to give up the Xisha and Nansha Islands. Andrei Gromyko, Head of the Delegation of the Soviet Union to the Conference, pointed out in his statement that the Xisha and Nansha Islands were an inalienable part of Chinese territory. It is true that the San Francisco Peace Treaty failed to unambiguously ask Japan to restore the Xisha and Nansha Islands to China. But the Xisha, Nansha, Dongsha and Zhongsha Islands that Japan was asked to abandun by the Peace Agreement of San Francisco Conference were all clearly marked as Chinese territory in the fifteenth map A Map of Southeast Asia of the Standard World Atlas published by Japan in 1952, the second year after the peace conference in San Francisco, which was recommended by the then Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuo Okazaki in his own handwriting.

2. The International Civil Aviation Organization held its first conference on Asia-Pacific regional aviation in Manila of the Philippines on 27 October 1955. Sixteen countries or regions were represented at the conference, including South Viet Nam and the Taiwan authorities, apart from Australia, Canada, Chile, Dominica, Japan, the Laos, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, New Zealand and France. The Chief Representative of the Philippines served as Chairman of the conference and the Chief Representative of France its first Vice Chairman. It was agreed at the conference that the Dongsha, Xisha and Nansha Islands on the South China Sea were located at the communication hub of the Pacific and therefore the meteorological reports of these islands were vital to world civil aviation service. In this context, the conference adopted Resolution No. 24, asking China's Taiwan authorities to improve meteorological observation on the Nansha Islands, four times a day. When this resolution was put for voting, all the representatives, including those of the Philippines and the South Viet Nam, were for it. No representative at the conference made any objection to or reservation about it.

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