Scientific facts prove that the name South China Sea that China intentionally takes advantage to make that misunderstanding did not appear on the maps created by Chinese people in history. This is the article by researcher Nguyen Dinh Dau about this issue.


Name and mistake for sovereignty

According to the Vietnam Encyclopedia, Giao Chi is the name for Vietnam and Vietnamese people in the past, used by Chinese feudal dynasties. In the era of Hung Kings[*], Giao Chi was one of the 15 provinces of Van Lang country. Chinese feudal dynasties still used Giao Chi or An Nam to call the people and country of Dai Viet (Vietnam). In many ancient documents inscriptions, Giao Chi was still used to denote Vietnam until the end of the 19th century.

On pages 11b and 12a in “Vo Bi Chi” (a book of maps which records the journey of a Chinese man named Cheng Ho from China through the Indian Ocean to Africa in 1405-1433), Vietnam or Giao Chi country was drawn to be adjacent to China’s Qinzhou to the north, Champa to the south, the Giao Chi Sea (the sea of Giao Chi country - East Sea) to the east.

In 1842, another Chinese author named Wei Yuan published “Hai Quoc Do Chi”, book of maps of all countries in the world with meridians and latitudes. There are two maps of Vietnam in this book.

In the first map, An Nam (Vietnam) is divided into two parts (eastern and western parts). Offshore Vietnam to the east, Wei Yuan noted as Great East Sea. In the second map, offshore An Nam is the sea named East Sea. 

In almost all ancient maps of China from the 14th century or older, the sea to the east of Vietnam is always noted as the Giao Chi Sea or the Great East Sea or the East Sea, meaning the sea of Giao Chi (or Vietnam) or simply the East Sea (of Vietnam).

Vietnam uninterruptedly performs its sovereignty in the East Sea

At least from the early of the 17th century, Vietnam has been conducted its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelagos in the East Sea in an official, continuous way and it has not been complained for scrambled by any country.

Since occupying Vietnam, France – on behalf of Vietnam – also performed that sovereignty under international law. The French built two weather stations on the Paracel Islands and Ba Binh – an island in the Spratly Islands.

In 1947, the government of the Republic of China made claims over the sovereignty in the East Sea with the U-shape line, including 11 interrupted dots. In 1949, the government of the People’s Republic of China made similar claims but the claims were neglected by the international community.

On October 14, 1945, Tran Van Huu, Vietnamese Prime Minister of the Bao Dai government, which was sponsored by the French, stated: “We confirmed our longstanding sovereignty over the Truong Sa and Hoang Sa archipelagos”.

China’s escalation in the East Sea


On January 15 1974, China used force to occupy some islands in Vietnam’s Hoang Sa Archipelago. In 1988, China also used force to occupy some islands in Vietnam’s Truong Sa Archipelago.

On February 21 1992, China stipulated that the East Sea belongs to the territorial waters of its Hainan province. In 1999, China submitted its U-shape line map to the United Nations, in which it claims almost all the East Sea. Vietnam and related countries have strongly protested China’s groundless and illegal U-shape line.

Several months ago, China perversely banned fishing activities in the East Sea, violating Vietnam’s waters which are recognized by the world. Most recently, Chinese ships harassed Vietnamese seismic surveillance ships. All provocative acts by China were conducted within the U-shape line, though this line violates the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS).

It is very clear that China’s acts are wrong and seriously break international law, obviously infringing Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone. 

China’s calling of the East Sea as the South China Sea does not mean that the sea belongs to China, and China has the right to violate the waters of other countries, which are defined under the UNCLOS.

Nguyen Dinh Dau
(Source: VietnamNet Bridge)


[*] Hung Kings is the title began to be used for the ruler who was the religious and political leader of united ancient Vietnam (Van Lang). Legend tells of the dragon lord, Lac Long Quan and the mountain fairy, Au Co who had 100 sons. As the parents belonged to different realms, they parted ways, each taking 50 of the 100 sons to their respective homes. The eldest son went to live by the coast, in the domain of dragons. The eldest came to power in 2897 BC and became known as Hung King, ruling an area covering what is now North Vietnam and part of southern China. He founded the Hong Bang Dynasty, whose members ruled Vietnam until 258 BC. The dynasty existed in Vietnamese prehistory, so much of the lore from this time is now lost to the ages. The descendants took the title of Hung King after the first king, and many Vietnamese folktales include mention them. Stories tell of the heroics of eighteen different Hung Kings.