The Issue of
South China Sea
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
People's Republic of China
China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. It was the first to discover and name the islands as the Nansha Islands and the first to exercise sovereign jurisdiction over them. We have ample historical and jurisprudential evidence to support this, and the international community has long recognized it. During World War II, Japan launched the war of aggression against China and occupied most of China's territory, including the Nansha Islands. It was explicitly provided in the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Proclamation and other international documents that all the territories Japan had stolen from China should be restored to China, and naturally, they included the Nansha Islands. In December 1946, the then Chinese government sent senior officials to the Nansha Islands for their recovery. A take-over ceremony was held on the islands and a monument erected in commemoration of it, and the troops were sent over on garrison duty. In 1952 the Japanese Government officially stated that it renounced all its "right, title and claim to Taiwan, Penghu Islands as well as Nansha and Xisha islands", thus formally returning the Nansha Islands to China. All countries are very clear about this part of historical background. As a matter of fact, the United States recognized China's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands in a series of subsequent international conferences and international practice.
For quite a long period of time after WWII, there had been no such a thing as the so-called issue of the South China Sea. No country in the area surrounding the South China Sea had challenged China's exercise of sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. Prior to 1975, Vietnam had, in explicit terms, recognized China's territorial integrity and sovereignty over the Nansha Islands. Before the 1970s, countries like the Philippines and Malaysia had never referred to their territories as including the Nansha Islands in any of their legal instruments or statements made by their leaders. In the Treaty of Peace signed in Paris in 1898 and the Treaty signed in Washington in 1900 between the United States and Spain, the scope of the Philippines' territory was expressly laid down, which did not include the Nansha Islands. This was further confirmed in the Philippines Constitution of 1935and the Mutual Defense Treaty Between the Philippines and the United States in 1951. As for Malaysia, it was only in December 1978 that it first marked part of the Nansha Islands, reefs and waters into the territory of Malaysia in its published continental shelf maps.
Moreover, the Nansha Islands are recognized as China's territory by governments of quite a few countries and by resolutions of international conferences. For example, Resolution No. 24 adopted by the ICAO conference on Pacific regional aviation held in Manila in 1955 requested the Taiwan authorities of China to improve meteorological observation on the Nansha Islands, and no representative at the conference made objection to or reservation about it. In maps published in many countries, the Nansha Islands are marked as China's territory. For example, this is clearly done in Japan's Standard World Atlas of 1952, which was recommended by the then Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuo Okazaki in his own handwriting, the World New Atlas published in Japan in 1962, which was recommended by the then Foreign Minister Masayoshi Ohira , the Welt-Atlas published in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1954, the Penguin world atlas published in the United Kingdom in 1956, and the Larousse atlas published in France in 1956. Vietnam acknowledged the Nansha Islands as being China's territory in its world maps published in 1960 and 1972 as well as its textbooks published in 1974. The Nansha Islands are recognized as China's territory in many countries' authoritative encyclopedias published since the beginning of the 20th century, such as the Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations in the United States in 1963, the Bolshaya Sovietskaya Enciclopediya of 1973 and the Japanese Kyodo World Manual of 1979.
Beginning from the 1970s, countries like Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia have by military means occupied part of the islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands, gone in for big-scale resource development in waters adjacent to the Nansha Islands and laid claim to sovereignty over them. In view of this, the Chinese Government has time and again made solemn statements that these acts constitute serious infringement upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and are illegal, null and void. The so-called legal basis provided by those countries is not tenable at all.
|Historical Evidence |
China's Sovereignty over Nansha Islands
China was the first to discover, name, develop£¨conduct economic activities on and exercise jurisdiction of the Nansha Islands.
A. China the First to Discover and Name the Nansha Islands
The earliest discovery by the Chinese people of the Nansha Islands can be traced back to as early as the Han Dynasty. Yang Fu of the East Han Dynasty (23-220 A.D.) made reference to the Nansha Islands in his book entitled Yiwu Zhi (Records of Rarities) , which reads: "Zhanghai qitou, shui qian er duo cishi"("There are islets, sand cays, reefs and banks in the South China Sea, the water there is shallow and filled with magnetic rocks or stones"). Chinese people then called the South China Sea Zhanghai and all the islands, reefs, shoals and isles in the South China Sea, including the Nansha and Xisha Islands, Qitou.
General Kang Tai, one of the famous ancient Chinese navigators of the East Wu State of the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280AD), also mentioned the Nansha Islands in his book entitled Funan Zhuan (or Journeys to and from Phnom) (the name of an ancient state in today's Cambodia). He used the following sentences in describing the islands: "In the South China Sea, there are coral islands and reefs; below these islands and reefs are rocks upon which the corals were formed."
In numerous history and geography books published in the Tang and Song Dynasties, the Nansha and Xisha Islands were called Jiuruluo Islands, Shitang (literally meaning atolls surrounding a lagoon), Changsha (literally meaning long ranges of shoals), Qianli Shitang, Qianli Changsha, Wanli Shitang, and Wanli Changsha among others. Reference was made to the Nansha Islands in over one hundred categories of books published in the four dynasties of Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing in the name of Shitang or Changsha.
There were more detailed descriptions of the geographical locations and specific positions of the various islands of the Nansha Islands in the Yuan Dynasty. For instance, Wang Dayuan, a prominent Chinese navigator in the Yuan Dynasty, wrote about the Nansha Islands in his book entitled Abridged Records of Islands and Barbarians in these words: "The base of Wanli Shitang originates from Chaozhou. It is tortuous as a long snake lying in the sea. Its veins can all be traced. One such vein strentches to Java, one to Boni (or Burni, a kingdom which then existed in what is now Brunei in the vicinity of the Kalimantan) and Gulidimen (another kingdom on the Kalimantan), and one to the west side of the sea toward Kunlun (Con Son Islands, located outside the mouth of the mekong River some 200 nautical miles away from Saigon) in the distance°≠." Wanli Shitang here refers to all the islands in the South China Sea, including the Nansha Islands.
In the Consolidated Map of Territories and Geography and Capitals of Past Dynasties published in the Ming Dynasty, we find the words "Shitang", "Changsha" and "Shitang." Judging from the geographical locations of these places as marked on the Map, the second Shitang denotes today's Nansha Islands.
The Road Map of the Qing Dynasty marks the specific locations of all the islands, reefs, shoals and isles of the Nansha Islands where fishermen of China's Hainan Island used to frequent, including 73 named places of the Nansha Islands.
B. China the First to Develop the Nansha Islands
Chinese people started to develop the Nansha Islands and engage in fishing on the islands as early as in the beginning of the Ming Dynasty. At that time, fishermen from Haikou Port, Puqian Port, Qinglan Port and Wenchang County went to the Nansha Islands to fish sea cucumber and other sea produce.
The 1868 Guide to the South China Sea has accounts of the activities of the Chinese fishermen in the Nansha Islands. According to the Guide, "fishermen from Hainan Island went to Zhenhe Isles and Reefs and lived on sea cucumber and shells they got there. The footmarks of fishermen could be found in every isle of the Nansha Islands and some of the fishermen would even live there for a long period of time. Every year, there were small boats departing from Hainan Island for the Nansha Islands to exchange rice and other daily necessities for sea cucumber and shells from the fishermen there. The ships used to leave Hainan Island in December or January every year and return when the southwesterly monsoon started." Since the end of the Qing Dynasty, fishermen from Hainan Island and Leizhou Peninsula of China have kept going for fishing on the Nansha Islands. Most of the fishermen come from Wenchang County and Qionghai County. One or two dozens of fishing boats from these two counties would go to the Nansha Islands every year.
The Road Map is another strong evidence to the development of the islands on the South China Sea by the Chinese people since the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The Road Map served as a navigational guide to the Chinese fishermen for their trips to the Xisha and Nansha Islands for productive activities there. It was a result of the collective work of many people on the basis of their navigational experience. The first Road Map was produced in the Ming Dynasty and it was constantly improved later on. It showed the navigational routes and courses from Qinglan, Wenchang County, Hainan Island or Tanmen Port of Qionghai County to the various isles of the Xisha and Nansha Islands.
The development and productive activities of the Chinese fishermen on the Nansha Islands after the founding of the Republic of China in 1912 have been recorded in both Chinese and foreign history books. Mr. Okura Unosuke of Japan wrote about his expedition trip to Beizi Island in 1918 in his book Stormy Islands, which reads: "he saw three people from Haikou of Wenchang County when the expedition team he organized arrived in Beizi Island." In 1933, Miyoshi and Matuo of Japan saw two Chinese people on the Beizi Island and three Chinese people on the Nanzi Island when they made an investigation trip to the Nansha Islands. It is also recorded in A Survey of the New South Islands published in Japan that "fishermen planted sweet potato on Zhongye Island and that fishermen from the Republic of China resided on the islands and grew coconuts, papaya, sweet potato and vegetables there."
C. China the First to Exercise Jurisdiction over the Nansha Islands
The Nansha Islands came under the jurisdiction of China from the Yuan Dynasty. Geography Book of the History of the Yuan Dynasty and Map of the Territory of the Yuan Dynasty with Illustration both includes the Nansha Islands within the domain of the Yuan Dynasty. The History of the Yuan Dynasty has accounts of the patrol and inspection activities by the navy on the Nansha Islands in the Yuan Dynasty.
The inscription on the Memorial Tablet of the Tomb to General Qian Shicai of the Hainan Garrison Command of the Ming Dynasty reads: "Guangdong is adjacent to the grand South China Sea, and the territories beyond the Sea all internally belong to the Ming State." "General Qian led more than ten thousand soldiers and 50 huge ships to patrol tens of thousands of li on the South China Sea." All these descriptions clearly testify to the ownership by China of the Nansha Islands in the Ming Dynasty. The Hainan Garrison Command of the Ming Dynasty was responsible for inspecting and patrolling as well as exercising jurisdiction over the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha Islands.
In the Qing Dynasty, the Chinese Government marked the Nansha Islands on the authoritative maps and exercised administrative jurisdiction over these islands. The Nansha Islands were marked as Chinese territory in many maps drawn in the Qing Dynasty such as A Map of Administrative Divisions of the Whole China of the 1724 Map of Provinces of the Qing Dynasty, A Map of Administrative Divisions of the Whole China of the 1755 Map of Provinces of the Imperial Qing Dynasty, the 1767 Map of Unified China of the Great Qing for Ten Thousand Years, the 1810 Topographical Map of Unified China of the Great Qing for Ten Thousand Years and the 1817 Map of Unified China of the Great Qing for Ten Thousand Years.
Between 1932 and 1935, the Chinese Government set up a Committee for the Review of Maps of Lands and Waters of China, which was composed of officials from the Headquarters of the General Staff, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Navy Command, the Ministry of Education and the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission. This Committee examined and approved 132 names of the islands in the South China Sea, all of which belonged to the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha Islands.
In 1933, France invaded and occupied 9 of the Nansha Islands, including Taiping and Zhongye Islands. The Chinese fishermen who lived and worked on the Nansha Islands immediately made a firm resistance against the invasion and the Chinese Government lodged a strong protest with the French Government.
All the names of the islands, isles and reefs on the South China Sea including the Nansha Islands were unmistakably marked on the Map of the Islands in the South China Sea compiled and printed by the Committee for the Review of Maps of Lands and Waters of China in 1935.
In 1939, Japan invaded and occupied the islands on the South China Sea. In line with the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of China, in consultation with the Navy and the government of Guangdong Province, appointed Xiao Ciyi and Mai Yunyu Special Commissioner to the Xisha and Nansha Islands respectively in 1946 to take over the two archipelagoes and erect marks of sovereignty on the Islands.
In 1947, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of China renamed 159 islands, reefs, islets and shoals on the South China Sea, including the Nansha Islands. It subsequently publicized all the names for administrative purposes.
In 1983, the Chinese Toponymy Committee was authorized to publicize the approved names of the islands, reefs, islets and shoals on the South China Sea.
In short, a host of historical facts have proved that it was the Chinese people who were the first to discover and develop the Nansha Islands and it was the Chinese Government that has long exercised sovereignty and jurisdiction over these islands. The Nansha Islands have become an inalienable part of Chinese territory since ancient times.
China's Sovereignty over the Nansha Islands
China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and it has ample jurisprudential evidence to support this.
A. Full and accurate historical data, both Chinese and foreign, has provided rich and substantial evidence to show that the Chinese people were the first to discover and name the Nansha Islands. As early as in the Han Dynasty that was more than two thousand years ago, the Chinese people discovered the Nansha Islands through their navigational experience and in the course of their productive activities over the years. All this was amply recorded in the books such as Records of Rarities by Yang Fu of the Eastern Han Dynasty, Records of Rarities in Southern Boundary by Wan Zhen of the Three Kingdoms Period and A History of Phnom by General Kang Tai of the East Wu State. All these historical records represent the Chinese people's cognition and appreciation of the land on which they lived and worked. They are of great importance in the perspective of international law. In view of the development of international law, these records and accounts of the discovery by the ancient Chinese people of the islands on the South China Sea bear abundant evidence to China's indisputable territorial sovereignty over the Nansha Islands. Obviously, the Nansha Islands are not land without owners, but rather they are an inalienable part of Chinese territory. No country in the world has the right to change China's legal status as the owner of the Nansha Islands in any way.
B. The fact that the Chinese people have developed the Nansha Islands and carried out productive activities there and that the Chinese Government has actually exercised jurisdiction over these islands has reinforced China's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands. After discovering the Nansha Islands, the Chinese people started to develop and engage in fishing, planting and other productive activities on the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters from the Tang and Song Dynasties at the latest. Fei Yuan of the Jin Dynasty (265-420 A.D.) wrote about the fishing and collecting of coral samples by the fishermen of China on the South China Sea in his article Chronicles of Guangzhou. After the Ming and Qing Dynasties, fishermen from Wenchang County and Qionghai County of Hainan Island used to sail southward with the northeasterly monsoon to the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters for fishing every winter and come back to Hainan with the southwesterly monsoon before the typhoon season started. The Chinese people lived and engaged in fishing, planting and other productive activities on the Nansha Islands individually at first, but they were later on organized with the approval and support of the Chinese Government. Even when the conditions on the Nansha Islands were not suitable for people to live, some of the Chinese fishermen still lived on the islands for years. For ages, Chinese fishermen would come and go between Hainan Island and Guangdong Province on the one hand and the Nansha Islands on the other for productive activities and they never failed to pay their taxes and fees to the Chinese Government.
C. The exercise of jurisdiction by the Chinese Government over the Nansha Islands is also manifested in a series of continued effective government behavior. After Emperor Zhenyuan of the Tang Dynasty (785-805AD) came to the throne, China included the Nansha Islands into its administrative map. It did so more conscientiously in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. A wealth of official documents of the Chinese Government, its local history books and official maps have recorded the exercise of jurisdiction by the successive governments of China over the Nansha Islands and recognized these islands as Chinese territory. Up till the beginning of this century, the Chinese Government had exercised peaceful jurisdiction over the Nansha Islands without any disputes.
Since the beginning of this century, the Chinese Government has undauntedly maintained China's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands. In the 1930s, France once invaded and occupied nine of the Nansha Islands, over which the Chinese Government immediately made diplomatic representations with the French Government and against which Chinese fishermen staged an organized resistance. Between 1912 and 1949 when China was a republic, the then Chinese Government took a series of active measures to safeguard its sovereignty. For instance, it furnished the Chinese fishermen and fishing boats that engaged in the fishing on the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters with China's national flags. It organized trips to the Nansha Islands for a survey of their history and geography. And it authorized a map-printing and toponymic agency to rename and approve the names of all the islands on the South China Sea including the Nansha Islands, individually and collectively.
During World War II, Japan invaded and occupied China's Nansha Islands. China made unremitting efforts for the recovery of these islands from the Japanese occupation. In 1943, China, the United States and the United Kingdom announced in the Cairo Declaration that all the territories that Japan had stolen from China should be "restored to China," including "Manchuria, Taiwan and the Penghu Islands." At that time, Japan put the Nansha Islands under the jurisdiction of Taiwan. The territories to be restored to China as identified in the Cairo Declaration naturally included the Nansha Islands. The 1945 Potsdam Proclamationconfirmed once again that the stolen territories should be restored to China. According to the Cairo Declaration and Potsdam Proclamation, China recovered the Nansha Island in 1946. At the same time it went through a series of legal procedures and announced to the whole world that China had resumed the exercise of sovereignty over the Nansha Islands. Subsequently, the Chinese Government held a take-over ceremony and sent troops to the islands on garrison duty. An official map of the Nansha Islands was drawn and printed, the Nansha Islands were renamed, collectively and individually, and the earliest book of the physical geography of the Nansha Islands was also compiled and printed.
After the founding of the People's Republic of China, the Nansha Islands were incorporated into Guangdong Province and Hainan Province successively and the Chinese Gvoernment has all along maintained China's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and taken effective actions for that.
In view of all this, the Chinese Government has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands. Some countries have claimed sovereignty of these islands on the ground that these islands are within their continental shelves or exclusive economic zones. According to international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, maritime rights and interests should be based on territorial sovereignty for the former derives from the latter. No country should be allowed to extend its maritime jurisdiction to the territories of other countries, still less should it be allowed to invade and occupy other's territory on the ground of exclusive economic zones or the continental shelves. All in all, any action by any country with regard to the islets, islands or reefs of the Nansha Islands, military or otherwise, constitutes encroachment of China's territorial sovereignty. It is illegal and null and void according to international law. It can in no way serve as a basis for a country's territorial claim, nor can it change China's indisputable legal status as having sovereignty over the Nansha Islands.
|Basic Stance and Policy of the Chinese Government in Solving the South China Sea Issue|
The Chinese Government has always stood for negotiated settlement of international disputes through peaceful means. In this spirit, China has solved questions regarding territory and border with some neighboring countries through bilateral consultations and negotiations in an equitable, reasonable and amicable manner. This position also applies to the Nansha Islands. China is committed to working with the countries concerned for proper settlement of the disputes related to the South China Sea through peaceful negotiations in accordance with the universally-recognized international law and the contemporary law of the sea, including the fundamental principles and legal regimes set forth in the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). This was explicitly written into the Joint Statement issued at the China-ASEAN informal summit in 1997. The Chinese Government has also put forward the proposition of "shelving disputes and going in for joint development". China is ready to shelve the disputes for the time being and conduct cooperation with the countries concerned pending settlement of the disputes. This is not only what China stands for but also what China does. In Recent years, China has on many occasions had consultations and exchanged views on the question of the South China Sea with the countries concerned, and a broad identity of views has been reached. The bilateral consultation mechanisms between China and the Philippines, Viet Nam and Malaysia respectively are in effective operation, and positive progress has been made to varying degrees in the dialogues. At China-ASEAN Senior Officials Meetings(SOM) and China-ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conferences(PMC), too, the two sides have had candid exchange of views on the South China Sea question, and agreed to seek and appropriate solution to the problem by peaceful means and through friendly consultations.
China maintains that all the parties concerned should adopt a restrained, calm and constructive approach on the question of the Nansha Islands. In recent years, countries like Viet Nam and the Philippines have sent troops to seize some uninhabited islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands, destroyed the marks of sovereignty erected by China there, and arrested, detained or driven away by force Chinese fishermen fishing in the South China Sea. On this question, the Chinese side has always persisted in having discussions and settling relevant problems with the countries concerned through diplomatic channels and by peaceful means. It fully testifies to China's sincerity in preserving regional stability and the overall interests of bilateral friendly relations.
China attaches great importance to the safety and unimpededness of the international water lanes in the South China Sea. Its efforts to safeguard its sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and maritime rights and interests do not affect the freedom of the passage foreign vessels and aircraft enjoy in accordance with international law. In fact, China has never interfered with the freedom of passage of foreign vessels and aircraft in this area, nor will it ever do so in the future. China is ready to work together with the littoral states of the South China Sea to safeguard the safety the international water lanes in the area of the South China Sea.
The question of the South China Sea is a question between China and the relevant countries. The Chinese Government has consistently advocated settlement of the disputes between China and the countries concerned through amicable bilateral consultations. Involvement by any external force is undesirable and will only further complicate the situation. China and the countries concerned are fully capable and confident of handling their disputes appropriately. Peace and tranquility in the South China Sea area can be maintained on a long-term basis. At present, there is no crisis at all in that area. The kind of tension in the South China Sea which has been played up, even with ulterior motives, is contrary to the facts.
|International Recognition |
Of China's Sovereignty over the Nansha Islands
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."
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.
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.