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Analyses and Commentaries

International law and sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly archipelagoes (Part 11)

South China Sea

Part 11: Legitimate occupation

If the voyages for surveys and drawing of maritime routes can be considered as acts for general recognition, then the planting of wooden markers by the order of the kings created an indisputable act in establishing the power of the Annamese kingdom over the uninhabited islands.

In 1833, the King ordered the Ministry of Public Works:

“In the territorial waters of Quảng Nghĩa province (present-day Quảng Ngãi), there is the Hoàng Sa range, the water and the sky in which cannot be distinguished from afar. Trading boats have recently been in distress. Boats should be prepared now in order to go to the area next year for constructing temple, erecting markers, and planting many trees. Those trees will grow luxuriant in the future, thus serving as recognition marks for people to avoid getting stranded in shoals. This will be for the benefit of many generations to…

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