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Analyses and Commentaries

International law and sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly archipelagoes (Part 7)

South China Sea

Vietnamese works and documents proving the right of discovery and sovereignty of Vietnam over the Hoàng Sa (Paracels) and Trường Sa (Spratlys) archipelagoes date back to the 15th century; earlier documents may have been destroyed or lost during the period of domination by northern invaders or in incessant wars.

The oldest work that refers to the existence of the islands is Thiên Nam tứ chí lộ đồ thư  (Route Map from the Capital to the Four Directions) (1630 – 1653) compiled by Đỗ Bá, alias Công Đạo. This document includes maps of Annam since the 15th century, some of which depict the Paracels and Spratlys archipelagoes in the East Sea under the names Bãi Cát Vàng and Trường Sa, belonging to Quảng Ngãi prefecture:

“In the middle of the sea is a long sand bank, called Bãi Cát Vàng (golden sand bank) with a length of 400 miles and a…

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