- Ministry of Foreign Affairs
People's Republic of China
Table of Contents
1. Its Origion
2. Historical Evidence To Support China's Sovereignty over Nansha Islands
3. Jurisprudential Evidence To Support China's Sovereignty over the Nansha
4. Basic Stance and Policy of the Chinese Government in Solving the South
China Sea Issue
5. International Recognition Of China's Sovereignty over the Nansha Islands
1. Its Origion
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
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
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
2. Historical Evidence to Support China's Sovereignty
over the Spratlys
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
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
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.
3. Jurisprudential Evidence To Support 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
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
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.
4. 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
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.
5. 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
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
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
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
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
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
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.