10/09/2014 08:25 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Dr. Tran Cong Truc and “Imprints of Vietnam in the East Sea”

Dr. Tran Cong Truc, former Chief of the Government’s Border Committee is the first man in Asia who translated the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. He has published many books and documents relating to Vietnam’s sovereignty in the East Sea. Among them there are remarkable books, such as the “Imprints of Vietnam in the East Sea”, “100 Questions about the East Sea”, and “Summary Record of Hoang Sa”.
In a recent interview to the US Cable News Network (CNN) about the issue of disputes over the East Sea, Dr. Tran Cong Truc said: “If people followed China’s arguments, all lands, airspace and waters in America today would have belonged to Spain because they were discovered by Spanish navigator Christopher Columbus in 1492. It’s very unreasonable! The Chinese side has only relied on exploratory notes and has “randomly” drawn the sea border “U-shaped line” in the East Sea, so it has been condemned internationally. Meanwhile, Vietnam has full legal basis and historical evidence to confirm its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelagoes.” 

Dr. Tran Cong Truc is the first person in Asia who translates the UNCLOS 1982. Photo: Tat Son/VNP

 Dr. Tran Cong Truc at an international seminar on the Vietnam’s sovereignty over sea and islands. Photo: File


Dr. Tran Cong Truc meets with the representative from the French Foreign Ministry during his trip
to collect documents relating to the French Colonial Authority representing Vietnam
to enforce the sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa Archipelagoes from 1858 to 1945. Photo: File


Dr. Tran Cong Truc signed an agreement on putting landmarks on the border between Vietnam and China
when he worked as Chief of the Government Border Committee. Photo: File

A senior specialist with over 30 years of work on national borders and territory, especially the sovereignty of the sea, Dr. Tran Cong Truc has conditions to thoroughly research the issues related to the sea and islands, including the issue of sovereignty in the East Sea. Hence, recently especially since China illegally placed Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig in the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone of Vietnam, he has frequently appeared in mass media and at domestic and international seminars to talk about Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa Archipelagoes.

Recently, as a chief editor, Dr. Tran Cong Truc published the book “Imprints of Vietnam in the East Sea”. The book has quickly attracted special attention of the readers at home and abroad, especially in the context of tensions in the East Sea.

This is a project he has been devoted to after 30 years of working on the issue of national borders and territory. However, talking about it, he said with modesty: “Many things in the book are not new and have been mentioned in many places and under many forms. I am only a man who researched, synthesized and rearranged all materials in a logical system to meet the public’s demand for information about the borders and territory.”

Reading his book which has 400 pages with four chapters, people find a treasure of abundant information about Vietnam’s borders, territory and sea and island sovereignty, which are systematically presented. The book helps the readers have a better and more complete overview of these issues compared with previous books which only mention separate issues, such as the land border, territorial waters and continental shelf, or only the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa Archipelagoes.

What draws the particular attention of readers is the content of chapter three. Here, the author specifically describes the process of setting up and exercising Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Truong Sa and Hoang Sa Archipelagoes from the time of the Nguyen Lords and Tay Son through the anti-French and anti-US resistance war until today.

With meticulous and methodical research based on valid historical evidence, the author has affirmed that Vietnam was the first country in history to possess and exercise sovereignty over the Hoang Sa Archipelago, at least from the 17th century. The possession and exercise of this sovereignty have been continuous, peaceful and in line with the principles of international laws and practices.

Reportedly, to compile this precious book, Dr. Tran Cong Truc has spent much time and effort in collecting, studying, checking and evaluating the information from many different sources. Among them there are important sources of material in France and he was the first to go to France to collect them during the years he worked on the Government’s Committee on Boundaries.
 

Right after the UN approved the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982 (UNCLOS 1982),
the Vietnamese Government entrusted Dr. Tran Cong Truc and others to translate the convention in Vietnamese
for the general public. Photo: Tat Son/VNP


Dr. Tran Cong Truc has published many books and documents relating to Vietnam’s sovereignty in the East Sea
 Photo: Tat Son/VNP






Dr. Tran Cong Truc on an inspection trip to prepare for putting landmarks
on the border between Vietnam and China. Photo: File

He said that although the book had not been translated into foreign languages, he had received feedback from Chinese readers. Some Chinese scholars expressed their agreement with the viewpoints expressed in the book. There are also disagreements. However, he said: “For me, the more feedback I receive, including opposite viewpoints, the more heartened I feel because this proves that many people are interested in the book. I am willing to discuss different viewpoints with anyone. More importantly, the information I have provided has reached the people.”

It may be said that with serious and enthusiastic scientific research projects, including the book “Imprints of Vietnam in the East Sea”, Dr. Tran Cong Truc has provided readers, especially foreign readers with useful and clarified information, helping limit the biased evaluation and opinions about the issues of borders and territory of Vietnam, including its sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa Archipelagoes./.
 
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     Dr. Tran Cong Truc is the first man who collected and published the important materials found in the library of the French Foreign Ministry, relating to the French colonial government’s exercise of sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa Archipelagoes, on behalf of Vietnam. Among these materials there are some legal documents (from 1925 to 1938) signed by the Governor General of Indochina on the decisions to set up the sovereign steles, establish administrative units, research the ore, build the lighthouses, meteorological stations, TSF broadcast station and airfields for seaplanes on Hoang Sa Archipelago.
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Story: Thong Thien - Photos: Tat Son & Files