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Analyses and Commentaries

International law and sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly archipelagos (Part 4)

South China Sea

Part 4: Vague and imprecise “archaeological evidence” of China

With a view to strengthening arguments about its sovereignty over Hoàng Sa (Paracels) and Trường Sa (Spratlys) archipelagoes, China has resorted to archaeological grounds. China claims to have found traces of ancient coins and tools from the era of Wang Mang (the third year BC until the 23rd year AD) on the islands.

Chang Teh-Kuang and S. Yeh wrote that the islands contained “ruins of living quarters, pottery and porcelain utensils, iron knives, iron cooking pots and other articles of daily use belonging to the Tang and Song dynasties.” The preliminary report of the second archaeological survey on the Xisha islands of Guangdong province recorded that “through the two surveys, the archaeologists have examined most of the islands, rocks, submerged cays and pools of the Xisha archipelago and, virtually everywhere, they found ancient objects and historical relics of the Xisha archipelago…

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