China’s ambition and the lessons from Gac Ma

Releasing garlands to commemorate the soldiers who sacrificed to defend Gac Ma Reef.

VietNamNet Bridge – Let’s review Vietnam’s tragic history to compare the naval battle of Hoang Sa and Beijing's careful preparation for the invasion of Vietnam’s Gac Ma (Johnson South Reef). They attempted to choose the right time when Vietnam was in difficult distress to attack the reef.China’s plot On 30/4/1975, the Republic of Vietnam government collapsed, and Vietnam was unified and entered the reconstruction phase. Facing a lot of difficulties and mountains of tasks in the post-war period, and defending the sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands was still a top priority of Vietnam. On September 9th 1975, at the Asian Meteorological Conference held in Colombo, the representative of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of South Vietnam asked to maintain the registration in the SYNOP system of OMM Vietnam's meteorological station located on the Paracel Islands under the code of 48860. On September 24th 1975, at the meeting … [Read more...]

Gac Ma 1988 must be in history textbooks

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VietNamNet Bridge – On March 14, 1988, China sent many warships to attack and invade Gac Ma (Johnson South Reef) of Vietnam, killing 64 unarmed soldiers on duty on the island. Gac Ma contributed to Vietnam’s woeful and majestic history with the image of the soldiers who held each other’s hands to protect the national flag in the bullet rain from China. "The Gac Ma circle of immortality" has become an icon of patriotism.To commemorate the Gac Ma 1988 event, VietNamNet talked with Ass. Prof, Dr., Brigadier General Le Ke Lam, former Real Admiral, former director of the Naval Academy, Dr. Nguyen Nha, a historian and Dr. Hoang Viet from the HCM City Law University.VietNamNet: 28 years have passed since the event of Gac Ma. Our readers want to better know what happened on March 14 of 1988. Prior to the event of Gac Ma, we all know that in February 1979, 600,000 Chinese troops invaded the six northern border provinces of Vietnam. In March they withdrew but they then fired … [Read more...]

Foreign media criticize China’s int’l law violations in East Sea

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The Korea Times of the Republic of Korea has recently run an article citing regulations stipulated in international law to prove that the U-shaped line claimed by China in the East Sea is not China’s baseline. The article, which was published on March 16 under the title "U-shaped line is not China's baseline", said China has never given any explanation for the legality of the line under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982), which has also been ratified by China. The way to determine the claimed U-shaped line does not follow the methods to outline the baseline prescribed in the UNCLOS 1982, including a normal baseline (article 5), straight baseline (article 7) and island baseline (article 47). Therefore, the provisions of the Chinese baselines violate two fundamental principles that is a violation of the territorial sovereignty of Vietnam and also a violation of the provisions of the UNCLOS 1982 about making a baseline, it concluded. The … [Read more...]

Foreign media criticise China’s int’l law violations in East Sea

U-shaped line - Source: AFP

The Korea Times of the Republic of Korea has recently run an article citing regulations stipulated in international law to prove that the U-shaped line claimed by China in the East Sea is not China’s baseline. The article, which was published on March 16 under the title " U-shaped line is not China's baseline", said China has never given any explanation for the legality of the line under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982), which has also been ratified by China. The way to determine the claimed U-shaped line does not follow the methods to outline the baseline prescribed in the UNCLOS 1982, including a normal baseline (article 5), straight baseline (article 7) and island baseline (article 47). Therefore, the provisions of the Chinese baselines violate two fundamental principles that is a violation of the territorial sovereignty of Vietnam and also a violation of the provisions of the UNCLOS 1982 about making a baseline, it concluded. The … [Read more...]

Why China invaded Vietnam’s Gac Ma Reef in 1988

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VietNamNet Bridge - 1988 is considered the peak year of Vietnam's difficulties when the economic crisis in the country worsened and Vietnam’s main supporter, the Soviet Union, was in a difficult situation. On Gac Ma (Johnson South Reef), with an area of approximately 7.2 km2, in early 2014 China built a small concrete platform with some small facilities. So far, the concrete platform has covered an area of 10,000 m2. This country also built many works on the reef, such as a cement factory, military facilities, a helipad, a wharf and breakwater dike. In early 1988, China illegally occupied the reefs of Chu Thap (Fiery Cross), Chau Vien (Cuarteron Reef), Gaven, Subi, and Huy go (Hughes) in Vietnam’s Truong Sa archipelago (Spralty Islands), in the East Sea (internationally known as the South China Sea). This country also increased the number of war ships from 9 to 12 in the Spratlys. At Tien Nu (Tennent Reef), Da Lat (Ladd Reef), Da Lon (Discovery Great Reef), Da Dong … [Read more...]

Memorial services for soldiers killed protecting Gac Ma Island

The mother of Tran Van Phuong, a soldier who died in the Gac Ma battle, offers incence in commemoration of the fallen soldiers at a ceremony in Quang Binh province

Memorial services for 64 Vietnamese soldiers who fought to protect Gac Ma Island (Johnson South Reef), part of the Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago, on March 14, 1988 were held in many localities across the country. In the central city of Da Nang, war veterans who used to work on the Truong Sa Archipelago, officials, soldiers whose comrades were sacrificed in the battle to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty and local people gathered at the Region II Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (Da Nang MRCC)’s quay on March 14 to burn incense and pay homage to the fallen soldiers. "These days remind us of the soldiers, the comrades who sacrificed and devoted their youth to protect our nation’s sea and islands", former Party secretary and Second in Command of Regiment 83 (now Brigade 83 of the Vietnam People’s Navy), Hoang Van Hoan, said. A large wreath of fresh flowers bearing the words "Forever remember martyrs who sacrificed their life at Gac Ma Island – Truong … [Read more...]

Vietnam Requests to Stop Actions that Change the Status Quo, Militarise or Further Complicate the Situation in the East Sea

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In his opening speech, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon emphasised that besides the achievements , the world still faces many challenges such as civil wars ravaging Syria and Yemen, the spread of violent extremism and the blatant disrespect for fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law. The Un Secretary-General stressed the UN’s role in assistance to build up national capacity, helping countries identify and address conflicts and crisis through preventive measures, such as early warning. He also affirmed that the UN’s action motto is based on cooperation, transparency and respect for national sovereignty in line with the spirit of the UN’s Charter. Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations. Photo: VNA Addressing the debate, Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations, affirmed the UN Charter’s significance in maintaining international … [Read more...]

Replica of war painting to be made with gems, coral

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HA NOI (VNS) — The replica of a recently auctioned painting will soon be made with natural gems and corals, the Tri Viet (First News) Book Company said. The painting depicts the brave fight between Vietnamese naval soldiers and Chinese navymen who invaded Viet Nam's Gac Ma Island of the Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago in March 14, 1988. "We are looking for artisans who can work on the new version of the painting," Nguyen Van Phuoc, the director of the company, said. Earlier this month, the oil painting — entitled Gac Ma – Vong Tron Bat Tu (Gac Ma - Immortal Circle) by artist Bui Le Trang — fetched VND1.28 billion (US$61,000) at an auction held to raise funds for the families of the 64 naval personnel killed by the Chinese invaders. The oil painting (1.6m by 2.2m) depicts the bloody naval battle of 27 years ago, showing Vietnamese soldiers building and protecting the island, and the gun barrels of the Chinese invaders. The replica will be gifted to a … [Read more...]

Memorial service held for soldiers who died in sea battles

The Vietnam Buddhist Sangha held a memorial service in Ho Chi Minh City on July 22 for soldiers and civilians who sacrificed their lives safeguarding the nation’s sovereignty at sea. Among the honoured were 64 soldiers who fell in the 1988 battle of Gac Ma Island in Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago. After the ceremony, a painting named Gac Ma-Immortal Circle by Ho Chi Minh City painter Bui Le Trang was auctioned and sold for 1.28 billion VND (58,700 USD). The money from the auction and other donations will be used to support the families of soldiers who have fought to protect the nation’s sovereignty at sea./. The buyer, the Hoa Binh Corporation, later donated the painting to the Vitnam National Museum of History.-VNA … [Read more...]

Soldiers died at sea honoured

HCM CITY (VNS) — The Viet Nam Buddhist Association held a memorial service for the 64 Vietnamese soldiers who fought in the 1988 battle of Gac Ma Island to safeguard the nation's sovereignty yesterday on the occasion of the War Invalids and Martyrs Day (July 27). It was also held to honour the soldiers and civillians who sacrificed their lives during the nation's struggle for independence, unification and freedom. After the ceremony, Bui Le Trang's painting Gac Ma – Immortal Circle was auctioned and sold for VND1.28 billion ($58,700) to the Hoa Binh Corporation. The painting was later donated to the Viet Nam National Museum of History. The money from the auction and other donations will be used to support the families of soldiers who have fought to protect the nation's sovereignty at sea. — VNS … [Read more...]

President addresses water shortage woes

HA NOI (VNS) — State President Truong Tan Sang toured Khanh Hoa Province on Saturday to examine the impacts of water shortages in the locality over the past few months. President Sang made a field trip to the Cam Ranh Reservoir in Cam Lam District, capable of supplying 22 million cubic metres of water to about 5,000 people in the district and the northern Cam Ranh peninsula. Blistering heat waves have nearly dried up the reservoir, which is now down to 5 per cent of its capacity. According to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, many other local reservoirs were also in a similar situation. The State leader urged provincial authorities to manage water reserves and undertake measures to ensure sufficient water supplies for daily life and production. He said the province should switch to other crops and animals that were more suited to the severe conditions, and call for foreign investment to build large reservoirs to help resolve water … [Read more...]

President inspects construction of monument dedicated to Gac Ma soldiers

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President Truong Tan Sang makes a field trip to Cam Ranh reservoir (photo: VNA) NDO - President Truong Tan Sang arrived in Cam Ranh, Khanh Hoa province on July 11 to inspect the construction work of a memorial complex commemorating Gac Ma soldiers as part of his working visit to Khanh Hoa. The construction of the memorial complex began in March 2015 on an area of 2.5 hectares. The complex was initiated by the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour with funds raised from trade unions, workers, organisations and benefactors in Vietnam and abroad. President Sang underscored the significance of the memorial complex, saying that the complex aimed to pay tribute to soldiers who laid down their lives in the 1988 naval battle to protect Gac Ma Island of Vietnam's Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago. He asked the project management board to ensure the progress and quality of the project in order to show gratitude to naval heroes, contributing to educating and nurturing the patriotism to … [Read more...]

State President examines water shortage impacts in Khanh Hoa

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Landscaping design of the Gac Ma memorial park. Photo: VNA State President Truong Tan Sang toured central coastal Khanh Hoa province on July 11 to examine impacts of water shortages in the locality over the past few months. President Sang made a field trip to the Cam Ranh reservoir in Cam Lam district, capable of supplying 22 million cubic metres of water to about 5,000 people in the district and northern Cam Ranh peninsula. Blistering heat waves have nearly dried up the reservoir, which now only contains 1.5 million cubic metres or 5 percent of its capacity. According to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, many other local reservoirs are suffering the similar situation; some even have water levels below the "dead" threshold. The State leader urged provincial authorities to properly manage water reserves and undertake various measures to ensure sufficient water supply for daily life and production. He recommended the province switch to other crops … [Read more...]

Buddhist monk bids high for painting of Gac Ma island battle

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The oil painting depicts Vietnamese naval soldiers building and protecting the island against the gun barrels of Chinese invaders. A Buddhist monk recently offered 400 million VND (about 18,600 USD) for a painting recalling the bloody naval battle in Vietnam’s Gac Ma Island, the highest bid for the picture so far. The oil painting by Bui Le Trang, measuring 1.6 metres by 2.2 metres, depicts Vietnamese naval soldiers building and protecting the island against the gun barrels of Chinese invaders. Sixty-four Vietnamese soldiers were killed in the battle on March 14, 1988. Trang donated his work "Gac Ma – Vong tron bat tu" (Gac Ma – Immortal Circle) to the Tri Viet Book Company, which organised an auction to commemorate the fallen soldiers on War Invalids and Martyrs Day (July 27). The money raised from selling the painting will be donated to the families of the 64 martyrs. Venerable Thich Thanh Phong, Head of Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City, said he would … [Read more...]

Timor Leste supports COC building in the East Sea

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(VOVworld) - Timor Leste’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Hernani Coelho, has expressed his concerns about recent tensions in the East Sea after China expanded island construction on the Truong Sa archipelago. Coelho said the East Sea issue was complicated and required the good will of all parties involved, and that all territorial disputes should be addressed via peaceful means and with respect for international law. He called for an agreement on a Code of Conduct in the East Sea adding that as a country applying for ASEAN membership, Timor Leste strongly supports the promulgation of such a document as a binding legal tool for all to settle disputes. Coelho insisted on the importance of fostering a peaceful environment between ASEAN and China to ensure regional peace, stability, and prosperity. … [Read more...]

Painting to be auctioned to support Gac Ma Island

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A painting by Bui Le Trang will be sold at an auction to raise funds to support families of 64 navy soldiers killed by Chinese soldiers who invaded Viet Nam's Gac Ma Island, part of the Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago, on March 14, 1988. Trang donated his painting Gac Ma – Vong Tron Bat Tu (Gac Ma – Immortal Circle) to the Tri Viet Book Company, which will organise an auction to commemorate the fallen soldiers on War Invalids and Martyrs Day (July 27). The oil painting (1.6m by 2.2m) recalls the bloody naval battle of 27 years ago. It depicts Vietnamese navy soldiers building and protecting the island, and the gun barrels of the Chinese invaders. All of the money raised from selling the painting will be donated to the martyrs' families, said Nguyen Van Phuoc, director of the Tri Viet Book Company. Major General Le Ma Luong has offered VND50 million (US$2,500) to buy the painting. Tran Minh Hung, director of AMA Viet Nam, has bid VND80 million. … [Read more...]

27-yr-old nightmare may be re-created by China in Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratlys): lawmaker

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A scenario similar to China’s use of force to illegally occupy Gac Ma Island (Johnson South Reef) in Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago in 1988 may be repeated in other parts of the islands in the future, a Vietnamese lawmaker has warned. >> Vietnam legislature should issue resolution against China’s illegal acts in East Sea: lawmaker Nguyen Anh Son, head of the delegation of lawmakers from the northern province of Nam Dinh, gave the warning while talking with reporters on the sidelines of the Monday meeting of the 9th session of the law-making National Assembly (NA) that started on May 20. Son’s warning came a few days after the NA agreed to his proposal that the legislature’s agenda include a report by the government on Beijing’s illicit land reclamation work and building of artificial islands in the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa archipelagoes in the East Vietnam Sea, despite strong protests from Hanoi as well as the … [Read more...]

Unseen photos of sappers building facilities in Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratlys)

Graves of the sappers who died in action in Truong Sa  Deputy Admiral Le Van Xuan, former commander in chief of the Navy’s Political Department, is seen at a house built by the first generation of sappers in Truong Sa.

Tuoi Tre News presents photos of the sappers who contributed massively to the construction of infrastructure in the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago during the 1970s and 1980s, with many killed in the process. During the periods, the sappers of Regiments 131 and 83 worked tirelessly to perform such tasks as building and repairing houses, roads and bridges, and laying and clearing mines in Truong Sa, which is administered by the south-central province of Khanh Hoa. They worked under extreme conditions, risked their own lives and braved omnipresent enemy threats, insiders recalled. Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters paid a recent visit to Le Nhat Cat, chief commander of the first sapper group tasked with building houses and facilities in Truong Sa. In late April 1976, Captain Cat, leader of Battalion 3 under Naval Sapper Regiment 83, headed for the archipelago along with almost 70 military construction officers and soldiers. Cat’s regiment came into being in late 1975 … [Read more...]

Overseas Vietnamese visit Truong Sa

Flower wreaths released to the sea in commemoration of fallen soldiers at Gac Ma Island

PANO – A delegation of Overseas Vietnamese, led by Ambassador Tran Duc Mau, Deputy Chief of the State Commission on Overseas Vietnamese, visited Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago and DK1 platforms between April 21st and 28th. They presented gifts and equipment worth over VND 1 billion to troops and islanders on the islands and platforms. During the trip, the expatriates joined a series of meaningful activities, such as a flag saluting ceremony, artistic exchanges with naval soldiers, and offering incense to martyrs at cemeteries on the islands. During the visit, they could learn more about efforts and iron will of the Vietnamese troops in overcoming all difficulties to firmly protect national seas and islands. PANO would like to introduce some images of the delegation’s visit to Truong Sa: Translated by Pham Huy … [Read more...]

Veterans gather to mark 40th anniversary of Truong Sa (Spratlys) liberation

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A solemn ceremony was conducted in the coastal city of Nha Trang on Friday evening to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago in the East Vietnam Sea (April 29). >> Vietnam opposes China’s construction work in Truong Sa (Spratlys) The event was organized by the Truong Sa Soldiers Liaison Committee of the south-central province of Khanh Hoa, drawing more than 400 war veterans who used to serve on the archipelago and representatives from the Naval Zone 4 and the Vietnam Naval Academy. Nha Trang is the capital city of Khanh Hoa and Truong Sa is an island district of the province. Le Xuan Ba, head of the liaison committee and the former chairman of the People’s Council of Truong Sa District, told the ceremony about his memories of the days when the first units of the Vietnam People's Navy arrived at and liberated Truong Sa. Tuoi Tre The archipelago has increasingly developed over the past 40 years and the life … [Read more...]