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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

Monk move in Nansha Islands new ploy by Vietnam

(Global Times)

09:12, March 21, 2012

A recent move by Vietnam authorities to challenge China's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands has attracted attention in China.

The Vietnamese claimed that they own three Buddhist temples located on three isles of the Nansha Islands and were going to send six monks to these locations to refurbish the temples and hold rituals for six months starting from April. The Vietnamese government will also allow the monks to stay there longer should they wish to continue their practices.

However, the three isles don't belong to Vietnam, and nor were these isles, as some media analysts have argued, abandoned by the Vietnamese. They are part of China's sovereign territory but were invaded by South Vietnam in 1973 and were never returned to China after Vietnamese reunification. The reunited Vietnam government further invaded six other isles in this area. From 1978-98, the Vietnamese forcefully seized another 23 of the Nansha Islands from China.

Sending monks to the three isles where temples were built is in fact part of Vietnam's plan to permanently claim sovereignty over the Nansha Islands. The country already stated its intention in the early 1990s to occupy and incorporate both the Nansha and the Xisha Islands into its territory. Over the past 20 years, the Vietnamese government has released a series of policies and regulations to back this up, in which its central departments and local governments along the coastline were assigned specific tasks. The latest move of sending monks to the Nansha Islands was backed by the local authorities in the southern province of Khanh Hoa.

In order to occupy the Nansha Islands, the Vietnamese government has previously planned similar moves under a religious guise. For instance, in April 2011, the Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung sent two Buddhist statues to different isles, thus creating the prefect excuse for the its move today.

But why have the Vietnamese been so persistent in violating Chinese sovereignty?

The answer lies in the part of history where China was constantly bullied and abused by foreign powers. In 1933, the French colonists, who at that time controlled Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, forcefully expelled Chinese fishermen from the Nansha Islands and claimed the islands as their own. The Nansha Islands, and also the Xisha Islands, were later seized by the Japanese after 1939 once they defeated the French.

After World War II, as a member of the winning side, the Republic of China retrieved both islands from the Japanese in 1946 in accordance with the spirit of the Cairo Declaration signed in 1943 and the Potsdam Declaration signed in 1945.

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Leave your comment14 comments

  1. Name

Uncle Sam at 2012-03-29198.203.177.*
China is acting like a big bully in elementary school. It acts as it wants regardless of UNCLOS. China is so desperate to find oils in the area that it is willing to be illogical.
Uncle Mao at 2012-03-2770.140.113.*
Long Live China! To continue to growth China must follow the international law the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982). We do not want any war with neighbors while Westerner enjoy the benefits...think hard the consequences if the Westerner support the neighbor?
fuck vietnam at 2012-03-25211.33.84.*
Sam Teng at 2012-03-25175.139.84.*
Vietnam is exploiting the situation of the Nansha Islands by sending the monks to these islands. They are testing the patience of the People's Republic of China. Vietnam must understand that involving religious matters by sending the monks there will not soften China's claims to these islands. As a good and friendly neighbor, Vietnam should instead discuss the matter with China rather than taking unilateral actions to worsen the situation.
HuaQiao at 2012-03-2424.118.176.*
I told you, you have 1.3 billions? Vietnam sent 6 monks, you send 6,000,000 monks. Who win? A kindergarden can figure this out.

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