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STATEMENT

BY THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

OF THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIET NAM

ON THE HOANG SA AND TRUONG SA

ARCHIPELAGOES

(AUGUST 7, 1979)

On July 30, 1979, China made public in Peking some documents in an attempt to justify its claim of sovereignty over the Paracels and Spratly archipelagoes.

As regards this issue, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam declares:

1. The Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes are part of Vietnamese territory. The Vietnamese feudal states were the first in history to occupy, organize, control and exploit these archipelagoes in their capacities as Statees. This ownership is effective and in conformity with international law. We have sufficient historical and legal documents proving Viet Nam's indisputable sovereignty over these two archipelagoes.

2. The Chinese interpretation of the September 14, 1958 note by the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam as recognition of China's ownership over the archipelagoes is a gross distortion since the spirit and letter of the note only mean the recognition of a 12 -mile limit for Chinese territorial waters.

3. In 1965, the United States intensified its war of aggression in South Viet Nam and launched a war of destruction by air and naval forces against North Viet Nam. It declared that the combat zone of the U.S. armed forces included Viet Nam and an adjacent zone of about 100 nautical miles from Viet Nam's coast line. At that time. in their anti-U.S. struggle for national salvation the Vietnamese people had to carry out their fight in all forms to defend. their territorial integrity. Moreover, Viet Nam and China then maintained friendly relations. The May 9, 1965 Statement by the Government of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam had its raison d'être only with this historical background.

4. Since 1972, following the Shanghai Joint Communiqué, the Chinese rulers have colluded with the U.S. aggressors and betrayed the Vietnamese people, causing more and more obstacles to the war of resistance of Viet Nam. Early in January 1974. just before the Vietnamese people won complete victory in Spring 1975, China occupied by armed forces the Hoang Sa archipelago then administered by the Saigon administration.

The Republic of South Viet Nam then clearly stated its position as follows:

- Sovereignty and territorial integrity are questions sacred to every nation.

- As regards territorial border questions, there often exist between neighboring countries disputes left by history, which may extremely complicated and should be thoroughly studied.

- The countries concerned should consider this question in the spirit of equality, mutual respect, friendship and good neighborliness and settle it by negotiations.

5. At the talks held on September 24, 1975 with the Vietnamese Party and Government Delegation on a visit to China, Chinese Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping admitted that there were disputes between the two sides on the problem of the Paracels and Spratly archipelagoes and that the two sides should later discuss with each other to settle the problem.

6. By illegally occupying the Hoang Sa archipelago by military force, China has encroached upon the territorial integrity of Viet Nam and trampled underfoot the principles of the United Nations Charter which calls for settlement of all disputes by peaceful negotiations. After launching a large-scale war of aggression against Viet Nam, the Chinese side again raised the question of the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes while creating an increasingly tense situation along the Vietnamese border and refusing to discuss urgent measures to ensure peace and stability in border areas of the two countries. It is clear that the Chinese rulers have not given up their attempt to attack Viet Nam once again. Their actions pose a serious threat to peace and stability in Southeast Asia and expose more clearly their expansionist ambitions, big-nation hegemonism. bellicose nature, their volte-face and their traitorous character

Ha Noi, August 7, 1979.