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主题: Regarding the 1958 Letter by Pham Van Dong

Regarding the 1958 Letter by Pham Van Dong 2008-09-23 13:22 #1

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This article is transferred from a Vietnamese website, where I involved in argument with the Vietnamese.

Admin note: Below is the actual transcript of Dr. Balazs Szalontai's answers which has been obtained from Dr. Szalontai himself.

Dr. Balazs Szalontai: In 1955-1958, the DRV leadership, having to cope with internal difficulties and lacking sufficient international support, was far from achieving its aim of unifying Vietnam under its own rule. In these years, its primary ally was China, as the Soviet Union was not greatly interested in giving much direct support to North Vietnam. Under these circumstances, Hanoi could not hope to establish its authority over the Paracel and Spratly islands in the near future, and thus it did not suit its interest to risk a serious disagreement with the PRC over the islands. Therefore in these years the North Vietnamese government sought to secure Chinese support, and it went only so far as to evade making a public statement in favour of China's specific territorial claims or signing a binding agreement that would have explicitly renounced Vietnamese claims for the islands.
In 1974, the situation was completely different. With the U.S. troops gone and the Thieu regime getting weaker and weaker, the unification of Vietnam under northern rule was no longer a distant possibility. Had the Chinese not intervened, Hanoi could have easily taken the islands together with the rest of South Vietnam. Between 1968 and 1974, Sino-Vietnamese relations deteriorated to a very low level for various reasons, whereas the Soviet Union was giving intense support to the DRV. In such a situation, the North Vietnamese standpoint understandably became much more assertive, and less ready to please China, than it had been in the 1950s.

For similar reasons, China's standpoint had also become more inflexible than before. While Beijing may not have risked alienating an otherwise friendly and "reliable" Vietnam solely for the sake of annexing the Paracels, in 1974 it could no longer hope that Hanoi would take sides with it against Moscow. On the contrary, the DRV firmly resisted Chinese pressure to adopt an anti-Soviet standpoint, and it openly disagreed with the process of Sino-U.S. rapprochement. Moreover, in the end of 1973 and early 1974, the CCP leaders had good reason to feel that Sino-U.S. detente had failed to yield the expected results. Washington did not break diplomatic relations with Taiwan, nor did it refrain from seeking a rapprochement with the USSR. On the contrary, Soviet-U.S. detente was progressing well. Thus in 1974 the Chinese leaders felt encircled once again, and this is why they wanted to improve their strategic position in South-east Asia by occupying the Paracels, and increasing their support to the Khmer Rouge and the Burmese Communist guerrillas.

BBC: Why do you think there exists such a letter by Pham Van Dong? In what circumstances did Pham Van Dong write this now controversial document?

Dr. Balazs Szalontai: The general context of the Chinese declaration was the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, held in 1956, and the resulting treaties signed in 1958, such as the Convention on the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone. Understandably, the PRC government, though not being a member of the U.N., also wanted to have a say in how these issues were dealt with. Hence the Chinese declaration of September 1958. In these years, as I said before, North Vietnam could hardly afford to alienate China. The Soviet Union did not give any substantial support to Vietnamese reunification, and neither South Vietnamese leader Ngo Dinh Diem nor the U.S. government showed readiness to give consent to the holding of all-Vietnamese elections as stipulated by the Geneva Agreements. On the contrary, Diem did his best to suppress the Communist movement in the South. This is why Pham Van Dong felt it necessary to take sides with China, whose tough attitude toward the Asian policies of the U.S. offered some hope. And yet he seems to have been cautious enough to make a statement that supported only the principle that China was entitled for 12-mile territorial seas along its territory but evaded the issue of defining this territory. While the preceding Chinese statement was very specific, enumerating all the islands (including the Paracels and the Spratlys) for which the PRC laid claim, the DRV statement did not say a word about the concrete territories to which this rule was applicable. Still, it is true that in this bilateral territorial dispute between Chinese and Vietnamese interests, the DRV standpoint, more in a diplomatic than a legal sense, was incomparably closer to that of China than to that of South Vietnam.

BBC: There is also an alleged statement made by Ung Van Khiem in 1956, which has been publicly exploited by China? Does this alleged statement contribute to our understanding of Dong's letter?

Dr. Balazs Szalontai: According to the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, in mid-1956 DRV Deputy Foreign Minister Ung Van Khiem told the Chinese charge d'affaires that the Paracels and Spratlys were historically Chinese territories. At first I believed that the veracity of this statement must be doubtful. After all, in 2004 the Chinese Foreign Ministry simply deleted certain disputed periods of Korean history from the Korean section of its website, thus demonstrating its readiness to "modify" the historical past as it saw fit. I also accepted the logic that if Khiem did make this statement, it would have meant that the VWP leadership really intended to renounce Vietnam's claims for the Paracels and the Spratleys in favor of the PRC. But now I think otherwise, having studied, among others, Mongolia's border negotiations with the Soviet Union.

Namely, I realized that Khiem's statement actually had no binding force. In a Communist system, the statements made by a high-ranking official like Khiem is expected to represent the official views of the top leadership, but the leadership can disavow him and his statements at will by dismissing him under some seemingly unrelated pretext. This is what happened to Mongolian Foreign Minister Sodnomyn Averzed in 1958. During negotiations over a disputed part of the Soviet-Mongolian border, he adopted a rather firm standpoint, and, in all probability, he acted on the instructions of the top leadership. But when the Soviet side refused to yield the territory the Mongolians claimed, and complained of Averzed's "nationalist attitude", the top Mongolian leadership disavowed and promptly dismissed him. This could have happened to Khiem, too, if the top VWP leadership had wanted to disavow his statement. In any case, he was only a deputy foreign minister, and he made only a private verbal statement in the presence of a charge d'affaires. In a Communist system, this does not have the same binding force as a specific written agreement, an official government statement with precise references to the territorial issues, or a verbal statement made by a more or less "irreplaceable" leader, such as a prime minister, a head of state, or a general secretary. Obviously, the North Vietnamese leaders did not sign such an agreement, or make such a statement, because otherwise the Chinese would have already published it.

In sum, if the North Vietnamese leaders committed a sin, it was purposefully deceiving the Chinese, rather than seriously renouncing their claims for a part of Vietnamese territory. This is exactly the sin of which the Chinese accused them later, and in this particular case, the Chinese view seems to be more accurate than the South Vietnamese one.

BBC: Does Dong's letter have any legal meaning nowadays?

Dr. Balazs Szalontai: It weakens Vietnam's stance a bit, but I do not think it has any binding force. In my view, the Chinese statements emphasizing the principle of "silence is consent" carry little weight. The South Vietnamese government explicitly protested against China's claims, and made determined efforts to keep the islands, but this completely failed to deter China from occupying the Paracels. China simply ignored Saigon's protests. Had Hanoi protested, the result would have been the same.

BBC: What can Vietnam do with Dong's letter today? For a long time, there has been a silence, with no public debate about this incident. Can Vietnamese people have a debate about it without an impression of giving any kind of advantage to China?

Dr. Balazs Szalontai: I think a public discussion of the issue, given the relatively limited legal relevance of Pham Van Dong's letter, would not hurt either Vietnam or China, but of course the two governments may see the issue differently.

_______________________________________________

BBC Vietnamese
Translated by Thinh Do
24 January 2008





Admin note: This interview was translated from Vietnamese by VietWill. The original language in which the interview was conducted is unknown. If the original interview was conducted in English, the present English translation may not be exactly the same as the words employed by the parties in the interview. If we are able to find the original transcript of the interview, we will post on this site.

**********************************

In 1958, North Vietnamese Prime Minister Phạm Văn Đồng signed a letter that has caused numerous controversial arguments. The letter dated September 14, 1958 saying that the government of North Vietnam agreed with a concurrent Beijing’s announcement on China’s naval territory. In some public’s eyes, this letter has been viewed as North Vietnam’s acknowledgement of China’s sovereignty over the Paracels and the Spratlys.


Recently, after numerous bilateral disputing arguments over the possession of the islands, once again - even though not in official circles - the letter signed by Phạm Văn Đồng was brought up to all discussions among Vietnamese inside and outside the country. How do foreign researchers observe and evaluate this letter in accordance with this letter?
The BBC Vietnamese interviewed Dr. Balazs Szalontai, an Asia research scholar living in Hungary. First, Dr. Szalontai explains the two different viewpoints of North Vietnam in the decade of 1950 and in 1974 when the Paracels fell into China’s hands:

Dr. Balazs Szalontai: In 1955-1958, North Vietnamese leaders had not yet reached their goal of reunifying the country because they had to deal with internal troubles as well as lack of international support. Their key ally at this time was China. In such a situation, Hanoi could not hope affirming its control over the Paracels and Spartlys in the near future, and thus they could not afford significant dissimilarity with Beijing over the islands. The North Vietnamese government was managing to get China’s assistance; therefore it just attempted to neither offer open agreement on China’s specific (naval) sovereignty nor sign a forceful document that officially denounced its control over those islands.

In 1974, the situation was quite different. The matter of reunifying Vietnam was no longer out of reach. Even if China would not interfere, Hanoi could easily take over the islands as well as the rest of South Vietnam. From 1968 to 1974, Sino-Vietnam relations were dropped very low while the former Soviet Union increasingly supported the North. In this state, North Vietnam’s viewpoints toward China became tougher compared to that in the 1950s. For the same reasons, China also toughened its stance. Up until 1974, Beijing no longer hoped that Hanoi would be in the same boat against Moscow. Actually, at the end of 1973 early 1974, Russia sensed that the ease in Sino-US relations has not been as fruitful as expected. Washington was neither giving up diplomacy with Taiwan nor giving up negotiation with Moscow. The Soviet-US affiliation, in contrary, was going well. Because of this, in 1974, Beijing again sensed encirclement and decided to change its strategic position in Southeast Asia by the acts of invading the Paracels, boosting up its supports to the Khmer Rouge as well as to the Burmese communist gorillas.

BBC: According to your viewpoint, in what situation was the letter of the Phạm Văn Đồng written?

Dr. Balazs Szalontai: First of all, let’s talk about China’s announcement. It was presented in the scenario of the 1956 UN convention on Law of the Sea and the 1958 subsequently signed agreements. It’s easy to understand that China, even though not yet a UN member, also purposefully wanted to voice in its solution to solve problems. Thus, there existed such an announcement in September 1958.

Like I said, in those years, North Vietnam could not upset China at a time when Russia did not fully support the reunification efforts. Meanwhile, Ngô Đình Diệm in the South and the US were not ready implementing elections as stated in the Geneva agreement. Phạm Văn Đồng, therefore, saw the necessity to turn to China; nonetheless, he seemed to be discreet enough to give out just an announcement acknowledging - on a general principle - China’s 12-nautical-mile sovereignty from its shoreline, but steered clear of definition of such sovereignty. Despite Beijing’s specific inclusion of the entire Paracels and Spratlys islands in its proclamation, Phạm Văn Đồng’s letter mentioned no single word regarding such specific territorial names.

In this bilateral territorial dispute, North Vietnam’s standpoint (with regard to Phạm Văn Đồng’s letter) bearing more of a diplomatic sense than legitimate implication, was closer to China’s standpoint than that of South Vietnam.

BBC: In addition to the Phạm Văn Đồng’s letter, there was also another statement agreeing to China’s claim, given in 1956 by Mr. Ung Văn Khiêm - North Vietnam’s former Deputy of Foreign Minister, in which China openly cited. Does that statement help explain more about the letter?

Dr. Balazs Szalontai: According to a Chinese Foreign Department (CFD) website, in mid 1956, Ung Văn Khiêm told China’s interim ambassador that the Paracels and Spratlys historically belonged to China. At first, I doubted the truthfulness of that statement. Back in 2004, CFD even removed chapters containing arguments over Korea’s history from its website. This means China’s willing to alter past history to serve up its own interests.

I used to accept the argument that if Khiêm actually stated so, then it meant North Vietnam leaders really intentionally abandoned Vietnam’s control over the two islands. But now I think otherwise, and the reason for this rethinking is when I reviewed border agreements between Mongolia and Russia.

I realized that Khiêm’s statement actually had no binding effect. In the communism system, an officer’s statement like that of Khiem might be considered representing official government’s standpoint. But the government could also bypass him and nullify his statements by firing him with accusation that seemed not relating to the issue.

That was also the fate of Mongolian Foreign Minister Sodnomyn Averzed in 1958. He showed his hard-line viewpoint while negotiating in the Russia-Mongolia border dispute, and it’s likely that he followed the government’s instructions. Not only when Russia refused to give back land that Mongolia requested but also criticized Averzed’s “nationalism attitude,” Mongolia fired him.

In he case of Ung Văn Khiêm, he was just a Deputy of Foreign Minister at the time, and it was just a word-of-mouth statement to China’s interim ambassador. In the communism system, a word-of-mouth statement does not possess the same power as a written statement relating territorial issues. Neither it possesses heavy weight as that done by higher ranking officials like Prime Minister or President or General Secretary. Obviously, neither North Vietnamese leaders signed nor said a so-called agreement because if they did, China would already published.

BBC: In your opinion, does the Phạm Văn Đồng’s letter carry any legitimate meaning?

Dr. Balazs Szalontai: The letter insignificantly weakened Vietnam’s claim, but I assume it does not have binding weight. In my opinion, while China stressed the principle of “Silence means Consent,” it’s not as heavy-weighted. The government of South Vietnam already openly protested against China’s claims and attempted defending the islands, but they could not stop China from attacking and occupying the Paracels. China simply ignored Saigon’s protest. Even if Hanoi also voiced objection at that time, the result would be the same.

BBC: Nowadays, what can people do with Mr. Đồng’s letter? For a long period, it’s just silence in Vietnam. Do you think if Vietnamese now can openly debate this letter it will just be beneficial for China?

Dr. Balazs Szlontai: In my opinion, Phạm Văn Đồng’s letter only has a limited legitimacy value. Because of this, an open debate on this issue will not harm either Vietnam or China. However, of course, the two governments might view this issue in a different way.


Dr. Balazs Szalontai has taught at National University of Mongolia, and is presently an independent researcher in Hungary. He is the author of Kim Il Sung in the Khrushchev Era: Soviet-DPRK Relations and the Roots of North Korean Despotism, 1953-1964 Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press

http://www.bbc.co.uk/vietnamese/vietnam ... dong.shtml

**************************************
The content of Pham Van Dong's diplomatic note to Premier Zhou Enlai is as follows:

"Comrade Prime Minister,

We have the honour to bring to your knowledge that the Government of the DRVN acknowledges and approves the declaration dated 4th September, 1958 of the Government of the PRO fixing the width of the Chinese territorial waters. The Government of the DRVN respects this decision and will give instructions to its State bodies to respect the 12-mile width of the territorial waters of China in all their relations in the maritime field with the PRC. I address to you, comrade Prime Minister, the assurance of my distinguished consideration".

================
Comments

ailien |208.113.72.115 |09-17-2008 08:50:48

In 1958, the North Vietnamese government didn't have any authority over Parace & Spratly islands. First, they can't give away what they didn't own. Second, Pham Van Dong, himself has no right to give away the land that is owned by the whole nation. No single person can give away land to foreigners.


Kim Tran |204.108.96.22 |09-17-2008 10:04:29

Vietnam is a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Moreover, Vietnamese representatives at the UN now preside over the council and they should bring up the dispute (Spratly and Paracel islands)openly for an UN resolution.
What is Vietnam waiting for?


bibo |136.152.173.118 |09-17-2008 13:18:00

Vietnam is waiting for the day the China is not as aggressive. Impending threat from China's military aggression is what shut off the Vietnamese government's any attempt to stand up in this matter. Vietnam doesn't want to give China an excuse to flex its military muscle "justified".


loco |136.152.173.118 |09-17-2008 13:31:10

waiting is easiest ha ha ha


ailien |136.152.173.118 |09-17-2008 13:40:50

will that day ever come?


Tony |222.123.57.218 |09-17-2008 16:26:12

This is an interview with Dr. Nguyen Van Canh, an expert in international law. According to Dr. Canh, the archipelagos at that time belonged to S. VN. So for China to declare the 12 nautical miles rights around these islands was an illegal act. So PVD's agreement with this is also an illegal act. PVD's consent does not make China's act legal. It makes both of their acts illegal. Therefore, neither China's declaration nor PVD's consent has any legal merit.

http://www.rfa.org/vietnamese/in_depth/ ... 64518.html


mao |209.219.248.130 |09-17-2008 16:59:02

ANyway, just let your folks know, on paracel island, there is actually a city popping up, 4 to 5 thousands people, there are banks, resturant, store, hospitals. There are actually people born in there on that island.
That's their home. unlike previous vietnamese garrison, rite now, it's converted into mini-civilian area.yup, more than 30 yrs already.
with that, you could go to any court, civilians living there will win.


Tony |222.123.57.218 |09-17-2008 17:26:03

Mao,

You could move Beijing to Paracel Islands for all that matters. Beside, with 1.3 Chinese people, I'm sure you can supply a few for Paracel Islands. But this does not make your occupation legal. Unlike Chinese way of doing things, in international law, we just something called "REASON" which sees through these schemes of yours. BTW, if you're so sure of China's legal standing, why do you think China keeps refusing to settle the matter in International court? Tell your gov. to go to court and settle once and for all then - if you dare!


ailien |136.152.132.31 |09-17-2008 17:40:14

Mao,

There are Chinese born every where in this world. Does that make these places China? Chinese born in Vietnam is nothing new. This kind of argument won't give you any kind of legitimacy, my friends.


mao |209.219.248.130 |09-17-2008 18:12:11

First, I can't tell them what to do.
Even in legal cases if a crime is not prosecuted within say 20 to 30 yrs. Then you can't prosecute it after that.

Same with land, if someone occupy yourland, and no legal actions taken against that, 20 yrs later that land belong to someone else, kind of like the homestead act.

It has been more than 30 yrs already since the chinese settled there permanently. It's their land already.

If you don't believe do some reseach on the legal stuffs.


banananut |99.203.110.107 |09-20-2008 21:04:01

Vietnam always has a firm position regarding its ownership of these islands. It's China, who does not want to resolve this issue in the International Court. China also continues to take away the lands of the other countries in the region and exerts its military action without regards for International Laws.

It's so funny that China wants to be a global leader but does not act like one.


Pentagon |72.209.200.205 |09-17-2008 18:31:22

Somebody's clumsily reiterating Chinese classic style in what known to be China's classic invasion doctrine which is saying China has been expanding its territory by invading, conquering, suppressing, brainwashing, incorporating then - sorry - eating, sleeping, peeing, pooping, polluting and then generation after generation such territory with full of China's marking smell logically becomes China's land.


Tony |222.123.57.218 |09-17-2008 19:50:04

Mao,

Your forget something. In international law, occupation is not settled just because of the number of years. You forget that since the 1974, Vietnam has protested this illegal occupation. And ever since then, this protest has continued constantly. Occupation becomes legitimate over time when it is a peaceful occupation that does not involve illegal seizure and no protest from other parties. This certainly was not the case as you well know. As I advised you before, please brush up on international law first before stating your arguments.


nick |122.105.69.184 |09-18-2008 18:23:27

Simply consider the following three points:

1. Phạm Văn Đồng was the North Vietnamese Prime Minister, your Vietnamese leader, your Vietnamese representative. Can you guys deny that what he said must bear a level of authority and legality?

2. North Vietnamese beat South Vietnamese and reunited whole VN. Logically, the VN should inherit North VN's political stance and foreign policy (changing policy later may be reasonable, but it is a different issue). So, how could VN government deny its foreign policy and stance over one night?

3. If you think what the VN representative (government leader) said was nonsense, how can you expect general Chinese people to take the current VN leader's words seriously, or to respect your government and your claims?


newschewer |72.209.200.205 |09-18-2008 06:25:17

Regarding your "two points":

Communist leaders are dictators. They do not and never represent Vietnamese people. The naked fact is those islands are NOT parts of North Vietnam's teritorry. Are you assuming that you can simply put a "for sale" sign in front your neighbor's house and then sell it?


nick - re: |122.105.69.184 |09-18-2008 06:42:29

newschewer wrote:
Regarding your "two points"

Buddy, you should read the above 3 points, and read carefully


newchewer |72.209.200.205 |09-18-2008 07:22:14

Your third point is as hollowly meaningless as your previous points.
This whole political deal was already a joke. Thus, repect is unnecessarily expected.


nick |122.105.69.184 |09-18-2008 08:21:04

I have really enjoyed the argument with my old opponent Tony Fan (or Tony Tomato) before. Here I would love to see what Tony (here, Tony Le?) will response to my "3 points". No curse, no yell, just friendly argument/communication.


Tony |117.47.135.71 |09-18-2008 08:51:36

Nick,

Thanks "old friend".

1. Pham Van Dong was the PM of NVN. We here mostly come from SVN. So it is not accurate to call him "our leader". The leader when it comes to the Paracels in 1958 had to come from S. VN since the Paracels belonged to SVN.

2. Continuity is something the ICJ can decide upon. However, if we take Zhou Enlai's declaration of sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands to be illegal, then the issue of continuity is irrelevant to the case, since PVD's consent to Zhou Enlai's declaration would only mean consenting to an already illegal action, which makes that consent is also illegal.


Tony |117.47.135.71 |09-18-2008 08:57:39

3. Officials and governments say things to deal with the present situation all the time. It does not mean that what they say are always correct. In this case NVN had an incorrect action. China was wrong to believe that NVN can speak for SVN. In fact, it can't.

But I wonder if you trust that everything Beijing is saying at this time in international forums is the "whole truth but nothing but the truth"???

By the way, I have a U.S. passport. I speak as a Vietnamese person, not a person under the Vietnamese government.


Tony |117.47.135.71 |09-18-2008 09:11:47

4. Although I do admit that the action of PVD creates difficulties for Vietnam since N.VN have overtaken S.VN. Nevertheless, I am confident that if the case were taken to ICJ, this matter would only be one of factors taken into consideration in the overall case. There are many other aspects to consider as well. And the other aspects could outweigh the political juggling of a wartime prime minister. I think if China were as confident about its case, then it wouldn't have snubbed all suggestions for a third party arbitration to resolve the conflict. It knows that it stands to lose what it had seized.


Anonymous - re: |209.219.248.130 |09-18-2008 16:34:00

Tony wrote:

Your forget something. In international law, occupation is not settled just because of the number of years. You forget that since the 1974, Vietnam has protested this illegal occupation. And ever since then, this protest has continued constantly. .

You mean street protests? that has no legal bearing whatsoever.
You got to bring it to the court and have the court subpoena China to show up in the court, lol. Just because you are yelling doesn't mean you taking any legitimate legal actions.

yelling is meaningless


Anonymous - re: |209.219.248.130 |09-18-2008 16:45:09

Tony wrote:
4. I am confident that if the case were taken to ICJ, this matter would only be one of factors taken into consideration in the overall case.


Yeah, tony, keep on waiting for day. That day will come when native indians take the US government to court for robbing their lands.

you folks are so childlish.


Tony - re: re: |117.47.135.71 |09-18-2008 17:28:43

No, I mean the official protests from the VIetnamese government. First, in 1974 by the SVN goverment. And regular protests from the Socialist Republic of VN, voiced by its spokesperson.


Tony - re: re: |117.47.135.71 |09-18-2008 17:31:02

Anonymous wrote:

Anonymous 写道:: Yeah, tony, keep on waiting for day. That day will come when native indians take the US government to court for robbing their lands.

you folks are so childlish.


Childishness is when a country says 80% of that sea is mine because I like it to be mine. I don't care what you say.

Mao - re: re: re: |209.219.248.130 |09-18-2008 17:32:08

Tony 写道:: No, First, in 1974 by the SVN goverment. And regular protests from the Socialist Republic of VN, voiced by its spokesperson.


SVN? where they hiding now?
Just in case if need them to show up in the court.

nick - re: |122.105.65.11 |09-18-2008 18:50:45

Tony 写道:: Nick,Thanks "old friend".
1. Pham Van Dong was the PM of NVN. We here mostly come from SVN. So it is not accurate to call him "our leader". The leader when it comes to the Paracels in 1958 had to come from S. VN since the Paracels belonged to SVN.


SVN was conquered by NVN, what used to belong to SVN would be now belonged to NVN (or new VN). So, Pham Van Dong's stance would still stand and be valid.

nick |122.105.65.11 |09-18-2008 19:30:21

Tony 写道:: 2. Continuity is something the ICJ can decide upon. However, if we take Zhou Enlai's declaration of sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands to be illegal, then the issue of continuity is irrelevant to the case, since PVD's consent to Zhou Enlai's declaration would only mean consenting to an already illegal action, which makes that consent is also illegal.


Firstly, it does not make any sense for VN saying Zhou En Lai's statement was illegal, just like that it does not make any sense for China saying your occupation on Nansha Islands is illegal. That's meaningless yelling.

Secondly, Pham Van Dong was the representative of your people, his content was equivalent to general VN people's consent. Given that the genernal VN pepole consented to China's claim, how can you say it illegal? Yes, as an individual, you may have different opinion, but you can not override the majority of VN people.

Tony |117.47.135.71 |09-18-2008 18:53:19

Nick, I think when land is "transferred" officially, there needs to be a convention, an official agreement that is signed by the parties involved. It cannot be done by a "diplomatic note". Like I said, PVD's diplomatic note creates some problems for the Vietnam and makes the situation more confusing. However, when a matter is settled in court, things get decided in accordance to the law, not just politics.

Tony |117.47.135.71 |09-18-2008 19:02:18

For example, in 1887 when the demarcation of territory was determined between Tonkin (i.e. N. VN) and China, an agreement was signed by both China and France at the time. France, being the ruler of VN at that time, represented N.VN and signed the agreement. In 1958, PVD represented N.VN and wrote a letter to Zhou Enlai. It was neither an official agreement between South VN and China, nor an action on behalf of the will of the Vietnamese people as a whole, especially when the S.VN population was bigger than that of N. Since in 1958, PVD's letter was only an "opinion" and not a "contract". Opinons can change depending on the situation.

nick - re: |122.105.65.11 |09-18-2008 19:43:02

Tony wrote:
3. Officials and governments say things to deal with the present situation all the time. It does not mean that what they say are always correct. In this case NVN had an incorrect action. China was wrong to believe that NVN can speak for SVN. In fact, it can't.
By the way, I have a U.S. passport. I speak as a Vietnamese person, not a person under the Vietnamese government.
I agree with you regarding a government's seasonal political policy and stance. But as far as national interest is concerned, China must insist that VN must keep her consent on the China's sovereignty over South China Sea. Objectively, VN politician might make a stupid mistake on this issue, but it is your mistake, and you must pay for the mistake. Analogously, I hold an Australian passport, I speak as a Chinese person, not a citizen under Chinese government. Yet my opinion is typical of both domestic and overseas Chinese.

Tony |117.47.135.71 |09-18-2008 19:10:13

In international politics, it is hardly a surprise to see that governments and officials change their opinions depending on what the state of affairs is. If everything they express is legally binding, then no one can say anything at all, especially weak countries. In this case, my opinion is that PVD's opinion, though incorrect, though hurt the Vietnamese people's rights, and does not help Vietnamese territorial integrity, is not legally binding.

Tony |117.47.135.71 |09-18-2008 19:18:49

Nick, now that we establish ourselves to some degree of "objectivity" in regards to where we are to the respective governments, we can better exchange.

I agree that it was a mistake. But is it a mistake that has legal or moral consequences? Only a case in court can find out. Many Vietnamese are calling upon the VN gov. to be more daring in taking the situation to court. And also call for China to be willing to agree to do so as well. A court case can only take place if both parties agree. Do you support taking this matter to court?

nick - re: |122.105.65.11 |09-20-2008 22:29:18

Tony 写道:: For example, in 1887 when the demarcation of territory was determined between Tonkin (i.e. N. VN) and China, an agreement was signed by both China and France at the time. France, being the ruler of VN at that time, represented N.VN and signed the agreement. ... Opinons can change depending on the situation.

Tony, you cannot confuse indiviudal opinion with collective opinion. When your prime minister consented to China's statement, he was not making a personal consent, but a collective consent.

As a common individual, you may change your words overnight, but as a government leader, he cannot. Otherwise, government won't bear any authority and cannot survive.

Tony - re: re: |117.47.135.71 |09-18-2008 19:32:31

Nick, I was not claiming it was an individual opinion. But it was an opinion that did not represent the "collective" of the right people, which was the people who had control over the islands at that time.

Just like China cannot give "collective" opinion for the people of Taiwan at this time. Since China cannot decide for Taiwan now, anything that it does illegally on behalf of Taiwan cannot survive legally anytime thereafter. As as I said, a collective "opinion" remains simply an opinion if the court does not find that it is legally binding.

I would apprecite it if you would stop saying PVD is "your" prime minister.

Tony |117.47.135.71 |09-18-2008 19:40:43

For example, the Chinese government today says that "development for mutual benefits" is the way to resolve the dispute. But if later on the Beijing changes its mind and decides it won't collaborate with anyone, will there be legal consequences? Certain things said by governments (representing the collective) bear legal consequences. But other things don't when all things have been examined. You can't tell me governments NEVER change their opinions.

ailien |76.246.151.234 |09-18-2008 21:07:06

Nick,

Welcome to VietWill forum, and thanks for your polite and intellectual tone and style.

Please remember, current Vietnamese government in Hanoi is the government in power, but they don't necessarily represent the whole Vietnamese nation. Since free speech is not tolerated in Vietnam, and China too, no one can express their feeling toward the government openly. Therefore, until you can let people talk openly about how they feel toward the current government, you can't confirm that this is what people want and what people choose to represent them.

Therefore, PVD is just a Prime Minister, not anyone's PM.

nick - re: |58.106.165.54 |09-20-2008 06:09:17

If you say there is ever a government in the world that 100% represents its people, you are joking. As democratic as USA is, the people who voted for the government are usually below 65% of their total population. Do the rest 35%+ people not to recognize that government, or deny its authority and legality?

Be aboveboard. You may directly say VN intends to change its stance on South China Sea for the sake of her national interest, that's fine. But historical fact cannot be changed. It is a shame to deny the authority and legality of your previous political executive's written consent to China's sovereignty over South China Sea, although nowadays some of you are not happy with that consent.

nick - re: |58.106.165.54 |09-20-2008 06:02:24

Tony 写道:: I agree that it was a mistake. But is it a mistake that has legal or moral consequences? Only a case in court can find out. Many Vietnamese are calling upon the VN gov. to be more daring in taking the situation to court. And also call for China to be willing to agree to do so as well. A court case can only take place if both parties agree. Do you support taking this matter to court?

First of all, I do not think previous VN political executive made a mistake, rather, I think he was really wise and made a very judicious and brave politcal decision: consent to China, stand friendly and peacefully with China, and gain support and safegurd from China. (In my earlier post, I meant even if it was a mistake, it is your mistake, and you need to pay for that mistake.)

China may be beaten, but never be wracked. China has been standing there for thousands of years till today. Once offended, China can beat, and her opponent may be crunched.

Based on the philosophy of old wisdom, VN is better to choose to be a friend instead of an enemy of China, even if she needs to bear some temporary and limited loss, all for the long term peace and development. Except for South China Sea, does China look so greedy in your eyes?

It is a tragedy that some of you VN elites are advocating to use the power of USA or of other countries to oppose China. That remote support is uncertain and cannot be relied on (learn from Georgia's lesson). Whereas, China is always a neighbor next door, enough to make you nightmare every night if you make her your enemy... So, I say, those of you who are advocating to use external power to oppose China could really bring a disater to your people in the long run. Stop it. Use your wisdom to find out a resolution or compromise to remove the dispute and hostility, rather than do something against China that will ruin the future of your country.


Tony - re: re: |222.123.224.77 |09-20-2008 18:18:34

Nick, I am touched that you worry so much for the fate our our country. And you advise us on the better path to choose.

But I think we will be fine with finding our own ways based on our own thinking and experience. As you said, China has stood for thousands of years and won't be nice to anyone who disagrees with it. On the other hand, we Vietnamese have managed to keep ourselves free of Chinese control despite thousands of years of Chinese aggression and imperialism. So no one has more experience of how to deal with China and what China is like than we do. So don't worry so much for us. I think it would be better for you to make suggestions to China to be more equitable and forthright and fair when it comes to dealing with its neighbors. Isn't ununsual to you China is the only country in the world that has had border wars with all its neighbors, and have always claimed that those wars were in "self defense"?

nick |58.106.165.54 |09-20-2008 22:14:33

Tony 写道:: But I think we will be fine with finding our own ways based on our own thinking and experience. As you said, China has stood for thousands of years and won't be nice to anyone who disagrees with it. On the other hand, we Vietnamese have managed to keep ourselves free of Chinese control despite thousands of years of Chinese aggression and imperialism. So no one has more experience of how to deal with China and what China is like than we do. So don't worry so much for us. I think it would be better for you to make suggestions to China to be more equitable and forthright and fair when it comes to dealing with its neighbors. Isn't ununsual to you China is the only country in the world that has had border wars with all its neighbors, and have always claimed that those wars were in "self defense"?

Reading some Chinese histroy may be helpful to understand the territorial conflicts between China and the neighbouring countries.

How many countries has been standing for thousands of years, made tremendous achievements in culture and art, without being wracked? China is proudly one of the few in this world.

The glory of China was slashed down to ground in the late phase of Qing Dynasty, territory was robbed by neighbouring countries including Russia, Japan and India; national treasures were robbed or destroyed by UK and France. The recovery of China to her previous strength would take a long long time. Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia etc took advantage over China when she was still weak in early this century, occupied some islands and claimed whole or part of South China Sea, which they dared not to do so even in late Qing Dynasty.

Today, China thinks it is time to take some of her lost territory back, to wash off the humiliation she suffered bitterly in the last two hundred years.

China is not aggressive, but simply wants to take her belongings back. China is not difficult to deal with at all. It is wise to show her some respect and negotiate reconciliation. Don't be nervous, China is not that greedy and bullying as you think.

Now think about the two scenarios: (1) VN does not compromise, fights with China. Lives to lose, economy to damage, people to suffer the life; (2) VN compromises, uses limited sacrifice in exchange of long term peace and harmony with China, economy will be developed, people to enjoy the life.

Calm down. Which option do you prefer VN to have for the future? Don't be angry. Think about it twice.

Tony |222.123.224.77 |09-20-2008 04:55:50

Nick,

Historians have shown that in the past, China was not powerful on the sea because Chinese emperors decided to concentrate on the power on the mainland. Therefore, territories on the sea that are so far away from the mainland could not possibly be possessed by the China for it to reclaim. China has only become interested in these islands since the 20th century when China found that these islands were stretegic to China regaining its power after being put down by the West. But China did so by claiming islands that have already been claimed by others. That is why maps drawn by Chinese themselves before the 20th century only show Hainan to be the southernmost tip of China. Only modern maps include these islands. If you say these territories always belonged to China, why is it that there is never any map that indicates this fact. Chinese scholars were very advanced and informed. They would certainly know how to draw maps that include all of China's territories.

Tony |222.123.224.77 |09-20-2008 05:00:26

There is nothing more dangerous than someone trying to wash off his shame. It could take one to the extreme due to his need to overcome its former inferiority. His mental state of mind could be so disturbed that he is willing to do anything in order to forget the past. He can go from one extreme to the other. Being totally down, now he will do anything in order to dominate and suppress others so that he could feel superior and powerful. He is willing to sacrifice morals and standards in order to achieve what he wants. It is a very dangerous and disturbing mentality.

Tony |222.123.224.77 |09-20-2008 05:20:12

The mentality that I am speak of is clearly seen in China's opposition to Vietnam's collaboration with BP and ExxonMobil to explore oil in Vietnam's own Exclusive Economic Zone. China wants to be powerful so much that it is willing to ignore international maritime laws in order to get what it wants. If you want other people to feel at peace with China's rise, then actions have to go along with words. You can't just spill honey covered words and then your actions prove other wise.

nick |58.106.165.54 |09-20-2008 22:15:41

Back to that letter, the written consent.

In western countries the significance of written consent has long been well established. Should you sell or buy a home, deal with court issues, or any other important things, written documents are crucial. As long as you made it in written, it is fixed, done, no more gabbing regardless what.

It really astonishes lots of people (especailly general western people) after knowing that a written consent made by a PM of a country is treated as cheap as a piece of waste paper by his own people.

The less disgraceful choice may be first to acknowledge the legality and validity of the written consent, then try to negotiate with China to look after your interest.

nick |58.106.165.54 |09-20-2008 22:05:10

Tony 写道:: The mentality that I am speak of is clearly seen in China's opposition to Vietnam's collaboration with BP and ExxonMobil to explore oil in Vietnam's own Exclusive Economic Zone. China wants to be powerful so much that it is willing to ignore international maritime laws in order to get what it wants. If you want other people to feel at peace with China's rise, then actions have to go along with words. You can't just spill honey covered words and then your actions prove other wise.

On the one hand, China is not such a paranoid that will do whatever crazy things. The Confucian thoughts has always guided China's choices and actions.

On the other hand, lots (in fact the majority) of Chinese people do not appreciate the so-called "Peaceful Rise" slogan. Rise is hard to be peaceful. At least, China's rise cannot be peaceful, simply because those countries invaded and robbed China are making every effort against China's rise. The horror in their deep heart won't allow China's rise to be peaceful.

The slogan of Peaceful Rise does not ease the horror of the countries that robbed and humiliated China, but only imposes a barrier before China's progressing step. So, don't mention the Peaceful Rise. China does not like to be restricted by it.


Tony |222.123.224.77 |09-20-2008 23:33:30

I just pick out one example among the numerous examples that demonstrates China's craziness, and perhaps you can explain to me who this is "not crazy."

Why does China insist on interfering in Vietnam's decision to do business with foreign companies in Vietnam's own Exclusive Economic Zone, in accordance with the 1982 UN Law of the Sea, that has been signed and agreed to by China and the rest of the world?

If you really want me to not use the word "peaceful rise", I don't have to. The Beijing government can think of a clever, more sweet, more deceptive, more palatable phrase to use. After serious thinking and reflecting by China's finest think tank, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences decided to come up with the very gentle phrase of "Peace Dove Strategy". Yes, in the Olympics opening ceremony, we saw the gigantic "Peace dove" flapping its wings...ermmm...rising to new heights. Sure, it can be called something else. But the essence of it remains.

We don't judge China based on its words but based on its actions. And so far, there has not been much correspondence between what Beijing says and what Beijing does.

So whether it is "peaceful rise" or "Peace dove strategy", it doesn't change the fact that this ascendancy can only take place at the cost of someone else' demise.


Pentagon |72.209.200.205 |09-20-2008 17:26:30

Mr. Nick,

Despite your one-sided reasonings, you're well defending China's acts and I would give you a credit for your acknowlegment that China's rise is not as peacefully as it is in Beijing's Confucian-guided and honey-coated statement.
Yes, in fact, there is no such thing as "China's peaceful rise."
Facing the reality of what happened (and happens) all around China's borderline since the 1950s - went on from Tibet, altogether with a 1,000- colonial-year of defending experience, plus over 50 years in an erratic relation since the second World War, no one in this world knows China better than the Vietnamese.
It does not matter however you're defending China, you cannot deny the fact that if China would make its every move transparently then the rhetoric "peaceful rise" would be appreciated worldwide.

newschewer |72.209.200.205 |09-20-2008 18:01:19

If you insist that China is not greedy then why do you defend China's vague claim over the islands and overlook the fact that Hanoi and Beijing were illegally selling and buying teritorry that is not belong to either one? You must not be surprised why people view that letter as scrappy.

Pentagon |72.209.200.205 |09-20-2008 19:11:01

nick 写道:: Now think about the two scenarios: (1) VN does not compromise, fights with China. Lives to lose, economy to damage, people to suffer the life; (2) VN compromises, uses limited sacrifice in exchange of long term peace and harmony with China, economy will be developed, people to enjoy the life.

Calm down. Which option do you prefer VN to have for the future? Don't be angry. Think about it twice."

This arguement represents a real Communist Chinese style known roughly as "velvety iron hand."
But, Nick, there're some things you might intentionally ignore: China's sack is bottomless and China's colonial ambition endlessly exists.
History proved that the more Vietnam concedes the more China aggravates.

I do not buy such arguing.

Down to the bottom line, globalization
will be open-eye and open-mind to both Hanoi and Beijing.

Tony - re: |222.123.224.77 |09-20-2008 23:16:03

nick 写道:: Back to that letter, the written consent.

In western countries the significance of written consent has long been well established. Should you sell or buy a home, deal with court issues, or any other important things, written documents are crucial. As long as you made it in written, it is fixed, done, no more gabbing regardless what.

It really astonishes lots of people (especailly general western people) after knowing that a written consent made by a PM of a country is treated as cheap as a piece of waste paper by his own people.

The less disgraceful choice may be first to acknowledge the legality and validity of the written consent, then try to negotiate with China to look after your interest.

Do you think North Korea can write a letter to China telling China that it will give South Korea to China and that letter be legal? Read what the experts say brother.

nick - re: re: |122.105.71.126 |09-22-2008 02:51:29

Tony 写道:: Do you think North Korea can write a letter to China telling China that it will give South Korea to China and that letter be legal? Read what the experts say brother.


You are making an inappropriate comparison. North Korea and South Korea are two different countries, which are recognized by the UN as well as the more extensive international society. Were North VN and South VN two different countries? I doubt you will say YES. Anyway, it is the fact that North VN and South VN were not two countries, but two political and military cliques within the boundary of VN. There was and is one VN, right?

When North VN acknowledged China's sovereignty over South China Sea, at least half of your people consented to the statement. After North VN defeated South VN and united the country, the south was in fact under the governing of the united VN and should be subject to the will and policy of North VN. Therefore, the written consent made by the North government should be inherited and still valid.

If the South wipped out the North and took the power of united VN, maybe you have a better chance to deny the consent. Unfortunately, history cannot be changed or faked.

nick - re: |122.105.71.126 |09-22-2008 01:30:56

Tony 写道:: I just pick out one example among the numerous examples that demonstrates China's craziness, and perhaps you can explain to me who this is "not crazy."

Why does China insist on interfering in Vietnam's decision to do business with foreign companies in Vietnam's own Exclusive Economic Zone, in accordance with the 1982 UN Law of the Sea, that has been signed and agreed to by China and the rest of the world?

Who says your intended business with foreign companies is in your territory? At least China does not think so. China does not agree with VN's claim, just like that VN does not agree with China's claim.

The dispute on South China Sea cannot be solved according to the 1982 UNLOS. A simple example: many of Malaysian islands are within the would-be exclusive economic zone of Indonesia, and vice versa, many of Indonesia islands are within the would-be exclusive economic zone of Malaysia, will they snatch each other's islands based on the so called exclusive economic zone?

nick - re: |122.105.71.126 |09-22-2008 18:44:41

Pentagon 写道:: ... This arguement represents a real Communist Chinese style known roughly as "velvety iron hand."
But, Nick, there're some things you might intentionally ignore: China's sack is bottomless and China's colonial ambition endlessly exists.
History proved that the more Vietnam concedes the more China aggravates.

I do not buy such arguing.

Well, certainly you have the right not to "buy such arguing". But again, you'd better consider the future for your country, which I referred to two scenarios: (1) VN does not compromise, fights with China. Lives to lose, economy to damage, people to suffer the life; (2) VN compromises, uses limited sacrifice in exchange of long term peace and harmony with China, economy will be developed, people to enjoy the life.

You want your motherland to have a bright future, rather than doomed to struggle under the pressure of rivalry with China, right?

If you say China could be so greedy that your compromise on South China Sea won't be the last, you are over suspicious and worried. I will analyze this point later.

nick - re: |122.105.71.126 |09-22-2008 03:54:05

newschewer 写道:: If you insist that China is not greedy then why do you defend China's vague claim over the islands and overlook the fact that Hanoi and Beijing were illegally selling and buying teritorry that is not belong to either one? You must not be surprised why people view that letter as scrappy.

To reply your queries, I raised these for your consideration:

China thinks Nansha Islands belong to China (I understand you insist they belong to your country). They are currently occupied by your country, and China wants to take it back. No greed.

You should be aware of the fact that North VN and South VN were not two countries, but two political and military cliques within the boundary of VN. After the North defeated the South and united the country, the south was in fact under the governing of the united VN and should be subject to the will and policy of the North. Therefore, the written consent made by the North government should be inherited and still valid after the South was submissive to the North (or the united VN). Nothing illegal.

nick - re: |122.105.71.126 |09-22-2008 20:49:05

Be objective and realistic, consider these facts:

(1) In 1950s China was outside of the UN and especially isolated by western countries. China had limited friends and supports. At that hard time, there was no reason for China to deliberately create more enemies that make life harder by claiming an item that does not belong to China.

(2) Nowadays China is determined to rise, whether the rise is peaceful or not. Regardless other parties are happy, China is determined to wash off the historical humiliation she suffered, and will take back some of her lost belongings (territory and national treasures).

(3) Although occupied by Vietnam at present, China cannot allow Vietnam to occupy her territory forever, it is a shame that China's islands are in the hands of Vietnam, which is a much weaker and smaller country. China is determined to take her islands back sooner or later.

(4) China is not greedy, at least modern China has no interest to invade other countries' territory. See Pakistan, Laos, Burma, and North Korea, is any of them afraid of China's invasion or robbery? Not at all. On the contrary, they enjoyed the friendship and supports from China.

(5) A brain tank in China has recently reported Vietnam is trying to play a dangerous game by opposing instead of collaborating with China. Pitifully Vietnam is not inspired by the relationship between China and Pakistan, not actively seeking a friendly and collaborative relationship.

(6) It is a tragedy that Vietnam has too many elites merely advocating hostility to China, with too few strategists seriously thinking how to take realistic actions to escape of trap of struggling and suffering, to seek a really bright future for Vietnam.


nick - re: re: re: |09-26-2008 07:17:22

Tony 写道:: Nick, be serious. If South VIetnam was not a country in itself, why did it have ambassadors to countries? Why did countries send ambassadors to it? Even Taiwan, which is not recognized by the U.N. and do not have ambassadors from other countries stationed in Taiwan is considered to be an independent entity. How could you then say that a country with a government, an official flag, ambassadors, etc.. is not a country but a mere "clique". Your argument here is senseless.

So you mean, South Vietnam was one COUNTRY, and North Vietnam was another COUNTRY.

Well, we don't care much of that. What we care is that the COUNTRY South Vietnam was wipped out by the COUNTRY North Vietnam, and therefore, the islands used to be controlled by the COUNTRY South Vietnam was later become the COUNTRY North Vietnam's. Because the minister of the COUNTRY North Vietnam had already cosented the islands are China's, so now the islands are China's. Any problem in logic? anything illegal?

The fact is that the islands are China's, the only confusing point is the North Vietnam acknowledged that fact before the South was wipped out.


Tony |09-26-2008 17:21:41

nick 写道:: So you mean, South Vietnam was one COUNTRY, and North Vietnam was another COUNTRY.

Well, we don't care much of that.

"We don't care". I am not surprise. That is exactly China's attitude.

Again I repeat. If you're so sure right is on your side, urge China to take the matter to court. Unless you don't care about law either.


Tony - re: re: re: re: |09-27-2008 21:09:01

The minister of NOrth Vietnam sent a "diplomatic note" saying that he supported the 12-nautical mile territorial water of China. He did not mention any particular geographical location. It is not an official signing over of land. It is not an international convention. And most importantly, it wasn't his land. It wasn't North Vietnam's land. Can't give away someone else' land. Not acceptable in law. Period!

Honestly, even if PVD did not write that diplomatic note, would China today not be making these claims? I think not. The note is just an excuse to persist in the demands. Fortunately, wile the note makes the situation more complicated, international experts in international law believe that this note is not legally binding. Only China believes that this note is legally binding. But then again, China does not believe in UNCLOS (at least in action, not in words).

Let me ask you then. If you believe so positively that PVD's note is legally binding, why does China not take this matter out to court once and for all to settle the situation?

It's so ironic and laughable that the one that keeps saying it is right, is so afraid to take the matter to arbitration. It is exactly this kind of action that tells what the truth is. Action speaks louder than words.

The truth is China knows the PVD note is just rhetoric. It just wants to keep saying it over and over again, thinking that if it says it enough, people will believe it. Just as China will try to stay in the Paracel Islands as long as it can, thinking that time will erase all sins. Unfortunately for China, we Vietnamese people aren't so passive as to let China get away with murder. Even if we never get back the Paracel Islands, blood will still stay on China's hands.


Tony |09-26-2008 20:32:30

I think anyone who reads this forum would agree that we advocate a very peaceful method of dealing with disputes, and that is having the parties involved settle their differences fairly, equitably, multi-laterally, and based on international law and standards.

China and those who support it reject all these values and credible way of resolving disputes. It is because they know deep down in their heart that they only stand to lose if such a method of resolution were pursued. So they opt for intimidation, deception, belligerence, and oftentimes condescending assurance. We see it here in plenty, and that's the tone of "Join us. We won't do anything to you. Don't fight us. You will only suffer." It is both a threat and an assurance, meant to subdue those who are weak of heart. But we Vietnamese are not weak of heart.

We could really go somewhere if we would get a definite answer as to what supporters of China's claims think about using a peaceful and forthright way to settle disputes.


nick |10-01-2008 21:02:08

Straightly speaking, China does not bother to appeal to the International Court of Justice. You may say that is stubborn or arrogant, but have you seen any big country (say, your dream lover, US) ever used International Court of Justice to solve any serious problems? Why do you guys expect China to use ICJ?

The foreign policy of a country is set up regardless what you or I say. Be realistic. China is determined to take the islands in South China Sea back, sooner or later, and not to resort to ICJ. If you insist not to compromise, the future of Vietnam can nearly be predicted: refer to the two scenarios I put forward in the previous post.

You decide your future. Curse and complaints do not help. Your life, your choice.

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Regarding the 1958 Letter by Pham Van Dong 2011-07-14 13:12 #2

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对他们对这信的辨解
有一点是关键的,就是从没有国家承认越南任何一方是拥有这二个群岛,所以他们说什么属于南越南这个前提是错的,他们只是发表声明拥有这二个群岛,但并没有人承认。。
没人承认他们拥有这二个岛,他的信是表明在我们和南越南的争端中,支持我们承认我们拥有这二个岛

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Regarding the 1958 Letter by Pham Van Dong 2011-07-16 11:56 #3

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Interesting post. But China's claim to S. China Sea archipelagos is not based on what the Vietnamese agreed to. China's claim is based on historical evidence of discovery and historical evidence of the establishment of sovereignty. China had discovered Nansha and Xisha Archepelagos in the 3rd Century B.C. during the Han Dynasty. At that time Vietnam itself was a sovereign territory of China. Subsequently, by the Tang Dynasty, China had incorporated all the Nansha and Xisha archipelagos into its administration map. From that point on these archipelagos were a part of China's sovereign territories. All the subsequent dynasties had reaffirmed and reasserted its claim of sovereignty over these islands down to the present time. Therefore, no other countries can "discover" and claim sovereignty by "occupation and control." Taiwan, for example, was ceded to Japan in 1895 and was for 50 years under the occupation and control of the Japanese. But after China defeated Japan it was returned to China in 1945. Therefore, there is no statutory limitation on the right to recover a country's lost territories by foreign invasion. In other words, Vietnam can occupy a Chinese island for 1,000 years and China could still have the right to take it back. Of course, realistically speaking, it would be much more difficult with the passage of time. But China has made continuous claims on all the islands in S. China Sea. Therefore, it has no abandoned its claim of sovereignty. It was only prevented by wars and its weakness from evicting invaders during the time since the Vietnam war to the 1980's. And no other countries can claim sovereignty by arguing that China had abondoned them; or that they had discovered them.

In the end, it is as I keep saying that the Chinese government must retake these islands as soon as possible. It is not necessary for the Vietnamese or the Filipinos or anybody else to agree to China's sovereignty over these islands. It is not theirs to give anyway. And if China keep asking for their approval then it will only strengthen their own claims to these islands. They can say, if I don't own these islands, then why is it that you keep asking me to agree to your claim of sovereignty? Since you ask for my agreement to your sovereignty, therefore the sovereignty must be mine. This is why the other countries keep becoming bolder in their claims to these islands.

China doesn't need to submit to international arbitration for several reasons:

1. nobody who is in control of its sovereign territories will submit to international arbitration. For example, if Mexico claim California and ask the US to submit the claim to international arbitration, will the US agree to it? Of course not. (California and several othre states used to belong to Mexico.)

2. international arbitration is uncertain and corrupt. It is usually slanted in favor of the West. Therefore, the foregone conclusion is that China will lose its case if it is submitted to international arbitration.

3. international law is not well defined. The interntional court follow many laws of different countries, different customs of many peoples, and all these laws and customs and prior decisions are all contradictory so that you can pick and choose what law to apply to what case and wind up making two opposite rulings on two similar cases.

Therefore, China must not submit to international arbitration since it has nothing to gain and everything to lose. Furthermore, the very fact that China is willing to submit to arbitration immediately weaken its case and reduce it to just another one of the many claimants. Therefore, China must never give up its claim based on a mountain of historical evidence. The other countries are all in favor for international arbitration because they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. These islands are not their islands and they know it. They know they are Chinese islands and international arbitration is the only way they can steal them from China.

At this point in time, China must immediately make a unilateral declaration that it will evict all invaders from its sovereign territories and will use force if necessary. America is in no condition to fight a very dangerous war against China which it might actually lose. America will not take a chance to fight such a war even if it has 90% chance of winning. As it is, America's chance of winning is probably no more than 55% which is much less than its chance of winning the Korean War. In 1950 China was very weak while America was at its most powerful. Everybody would have guessed that America had 99% chance of winning against China. Yet America lost the war to China. Today China is much more powerful relative to America. If the Chinese are determined to fight to protect its sovereignty, then it certainly can accelerate the development and production of many advanced weapons to equal that of the US. China has all the weapons America has, the difference is only in the numbers. And with each passing year China will grow stronger. In another 10 years China will be significantly more powerful than America. At that time the probability of China winning will be 90%. Therefore, America will not fight because it cannot win now and it will lose later.

The only thing that is holding China back is the hesitation of the Chinese government.

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Regarding the 1958 Letter by Pham Van Dong 2011-07-16 12:16 #4

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by akittya » 2011-07-13 21:12

对他们对这信的辨解
有一点是关键的,就是从没有国家承认越南任何一方是拥有这二个群岛,所以他们说什么属于南越南这个前提是错的,他们只是发表声明拥有这二个群岛,但并没有人承认。。
没人承认他们拥有这二个岛,他的信是表明在我们和南越南的争端中,支持我们承认我们拥有这二个岛


akittya has made a good point. Vietnam does not have sovereignty. It doesn't even matter whether any other countries agree to Vietnam's sovereignty over these islands. Even if America and all the European countries agreed to Vietnam's sovereignty over these islands, it would not change the fact that it is China that has the soverignty. Therefore, China must stop asking for Vietnam's approval for China's sovereignty over these islands. Vietnam never had any right to approve or disapprove anyway. If China keep asking for Vietnam's approval, all it does is to give Vietnam a chance to disapprove. And it also give to the other countries to side with Vietnam. So forget Vietnam. Forget Japan, the US, UK and all the rest of them. Just tell it to get out of China's sovereign territories and that is that.

Vietnam's basis for claiming the islands are based on:

1. discovery in the 17th Century;

2. succession from France;

3. occupation and control.

But China discovered these islands in the 3rd Century B.C. So it is nonsense to say that the Vietnamese discovered them in 17th Century.

France never established valid sovereignty over these islands because China had sovereignty over them and China had never agreed to give up these islands in favor of France. Since France never had sovereignty it can not give them to Vietnam by succession.

No amount of illegal occupation and control can legitmize Vietnam's sovereignty over these islands. But China must move quickly and take them back. Otherwise, it will become more difficult and messy to take them back after many more years especially if many Vietnamese civilians are moved to these islands. It still will not negate China's sovereignty. But it will make things more difficult. So China must act immediately. Time is not in China's favor. Time is in favor of those invaders illegally occupying Chinese sovereign territories.

It should be obvious that peaceful development is not realistic. Nobody in the world believes peaceful development is possible; or only possible after China had defeated these squatter nations.

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Regarding the 1958 Letter by Pham Van Dong 2011-07-16 16:18 #5

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这个贴子是当初从越南人的南沙论坛上搬过来的. 当时跟他们激烈辩论, 感觉后来他们越来越理屈辞穷, 最后干脆止息了.

越南人的南沙论坛( http://www.vietwill.org )主要由旅居美国的越南学生学者于2008年3月10日创办的, 后来不断凋零衰落, 几乎无人管理, 目前已难觅踪迹. 猜测其已经关闭, 时间大约在2010年底或2011年初.

令人欣慰的是, 我们的南沙论坛一直顽强存在着, 并继续发展. 感谢站长zt先生的恒久坚持与无私奉献, 感谢各位爱国网友的不断关切与支持.

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Regarding the 1958 Letter by Pham Van Dong 2011-07-16 18:15 #6

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nick wrote:
令人欣慰的是, 我们的南沙论坛一直顽强存在着, 并继续发展. 感谢站长zt先生的恒久坚持与无私奉献, 感谢各位爱国网友的不断关切与支持.


I think most Chinese are patriotic. It is good to have such a forum as yours for the patriotic Chinese to express their love of the motherland. I hope the Chinese government could see this and appreciate the fervent wishes of the Chinese people to defend our sovereignty and redress the wrongs of the last two hundred years. Thank you for the effort. I hope you will keep it up.

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Regarding the 1958 Letter by Pham Van Dong 2011-07-21 09:34 #7

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I think PVD's note was nothing but a diplomatic act. At the time, North Vietnam needed weapons and food supply from China in order to carry out the invasion of S Vietnam. PVD agreeing to China's outrageous claim was merely an act of concession for winning China's support. After all, China wouldn't just give away her weapons and supply for free. Something needed to be given back in return.

The important point is, even after 1975-- after the whole Vietnam came under communist rule-- Vietnam never issued any official statement claiming those islands back. Even when hostility between VN and China escalated in 1979, VN did not make any opposition to China's claim in 1958. This means the government of VN had never officially or formally oppose to China's claim over those archipelagos. All they did were saying "VN condemn China's aggression in the disputed South China Sea...", period.

VN might stand a chance of reclaiming those islands only when a change in government happens. For this moment, the legal rights belong to China.

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Regarding the 1958 Letter by Pham Van Dong 2011-07-21 11:31 #8

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evenstevens 写道:: I think PVD's note was nothing but a diplomatic act. At the time, North Vietnam needed weapons and food supply from China in order to carry out the invasion of S Vietnam. PVD agreeing to China's outrageous claim was merely an act of concession for winning China's support. After all, China wouldn't just give away her weapons and supply for free. Something needed to be given back in return.
...

No. The PVD's note is NoT nothing. It is an unambiguously official confirmation. Even if you view it as a trade -- North Vietnam got weapons and food supply from China, and China got re-confirmation from Vietnam about China's outright sovereignty over South China Sea -- this is a kind of fair trade anyway.

A scenario: a starving man spent $1 in a shop and bought a loaf of bread. After the man consumed the bread and regained strength, he proceeded to say: "you have taken advantage of my hunger, now give my $1 back!" Vietnam is no different from such a rascal.

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Regarding the 1958 Letter by Pham Van Dong 2011-07-21 13:03 #9

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nick 写道::

evenstevens 写道:: No. The PVD's note is NoT nothing. It is an unambiguously official confirmation. Even if you view it as a trade -- North Vietnam got weapons and food supply from China, and China got re-confirmation from Vietnam about China's outright sovereignty over South China Sea -- this is a kind of fair trade anyway.

A scenario: a starving man spent $1 in a shop and bought a loaf of bread. After the man consumed the bread and regained strength, he proceeded to say: "you have taken advantage of my hunger, now give my $1 back!" Vietnam is no different from such a rascal.


nick, if you're comparing the island dispute to a man spending a $1 note, you're implying that the islands legally belonged to Vietnam before the trade -- just as the $1 note legally belonged to the man. You're implying that before 1958, China's claim of sovereignty over those islands had been false. Vietnam has always been the true owner; it was the communist regime that traded the islands in for Chinese support, not the VN people.

I believe the islands will eventually be returned to its original owner. It's just a matter of time, of when will VN people repay China the debt of the Vietnam war.

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Regarding the 1958 Letter by Pham Van Dong 2011-07-21 13:35 #10

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evensteven wrote:
VN might stand a chance of reclaiming those islands only when a change in government happens. For this moment, the legal rights belong to China.


I think you gentlemen are missing one vital issue. The issue is who is the sovereign owner of the S. China Sea islands? Was it Vietnam or was it China? If these islands belong to China due to China's historical claim of sovereignty over them since the time of Tang Dynasty, then Vietnam has no claim of sovereignty at all. Therefore, since Vietnam never had sovereignty over these islands why should China care about Vietnam at all?

Or putting it another way, if China has sovereignty over these islands then it does not need Vietnam's permission to claim sovereignty over them. If China has sovereignty over these islands then all it needs to do is to exert sovereignty over them and establish military bases over them to defend them.

The more China squabble with Vietnam debating whether any acknowledgement of Vietnam over Chinese sovereignty over these islands only give Vietnam excuses to claim these islands. Therefore, China should simply say we really don't care what Vietnam says. China's sovereignty has been established through historical evidence. And that is the end of that. China should not debate its sovereignty with anybody. Not with Vietnam. Not with the Philippines. Not with Malaysia or Brunei.

I've already posted on the historical reasons why the claims of the other countries are very weak. Malaysia and Brunei claim on the basis of UNCLOS which is invalid since UNCLOS does not give sovereignty. Philippines claim is based on the pirate Tomas Cloma which is simply nonsense. Vietnam's claim is based on discovery in the 17th Century long after China had discovered it in the 3rd Century B.C. Vietnam also claimed based on succession from France which is illegal because China protested.

Therefore, China should not dignify any talks about whether Vietnam had agreed to give up its claim. It does not matter. China's claim is not based on whether Vietnam had or had not agreed to China's sovereignty because it never mattered what Vietnam did or thought. So don't unnecessarily give Vietnam any power to make trouble. If you say China owns the islands because Vietnam gave it to China, then Vietnam can say we didn't give it to China. Then people will think that the islands belong to Vietnam. But the islands never belonged to Vietnam. It had belonged to China since Tang Dynasty and it still belongs to China. That is all China needs to say. And Vietnam can disappear and things won't change a bit.

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Regarding the 1958 Letter by Pham Van Dong 2011-07-22 14:54 #11

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To "evenstevens", I acknowlege I have made an inappropriate comparison. I meant that it is a rascal's behavior for some Vietnamese now denying the validity of Pham Van Dong's letter, although China's sovereighty is not dependent upon such as a letter that was served to show Vietnam's acknowledgement and respect to China. Anyway, China holds historic sovereignty over South China Sea, and the Nansha Islands rightly belong to China, regardless Vietnam made a declaration (wrote that letter for re-confirmation) or not.

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