Dernier ajout : 2 juin 2014.
Last update 08:10 | 29/05/2014
Royal documents affirm Vietnam’s sovereignty over sea, islands
VietNamNet Bridge – A collection of Nguyen dynasty administrative documents was listed as a UNESCO world documentary heritage on May 14. The papers are not only a repertory of treasured documents about Nguyen dynasty but also convincing evidence of Vietnam’s sovereignty over its sea and islands, said the Nhan Dan (People) online newspaper.
The acknowledgement was announced at the sixth working session of the Asia Pacific Regional Committee for the Memory of the World Programme held in Guangzhou, China.
According to Deputy Secretary-General of Vietnam National Commission for UNESCO Nguyen Manh Thang, the heritage won the UNESCO vote thanks to its accuracy and uniqueness, as well as its role in Vietnam’s relations with foreign countries.
The documents, which were formulated as part of the State management under the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945) – the country’s last monarchy, comprised more than 700 original collections of papers circulated in 11 out of 13 reigns of the dynasty.
They were categorised into documents submitted by central and local agencies for the King’s approval, those promulgated by the King, and diplomatic documents.
The papers contain rich and trustworthy information which fully reflects all aspects in Vietnam’s social life from early 19th century to the middle of the 20th century, from politics, economy, diplomacy, public security and defence, to culture, education and health.
Notably, the heritage is among rare documents stored all over the world that had autographs of the Kings, providing viewers with a closer approach to the literary styles, thoughts and opinions of the Kings about specific issues.
The collection is also a treasured source of reference for further research on the domestic and foreign policies of the Nguyen dynasty.
Furthermore, the documents gathered much information on diplomacy, agreements and trade agreements signed between the Nguyen dynasty and foreign countries, such as China, Laos, Thailand, France and Spain. They were also made of reports presented to the Kings by envoys after their visits abroad.
A strong evidence of Vietnam’s sovereignty over its sea and islands
The dossier of the collection was submitted to the UNESCO on October 31, 2013, by the National Archives Centre. However, the documents had drawn much attention from historical researchers decades ago.
The researchers have found a source of information written in the documents reflecting the Nguyen dynasty’s exercise of sovereignty over its sea and islands, particularly over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos.
These documents were a link to a historical fact that since 1816, King Gia Long – the founder of the Nguyen dynasty, assigned naval forces to carry out surveys in the Hoang Sa archipelago.
The surveys in the archipelago became a general rule in the following reigns, as a number of the documents revealed the measurement, mapping, tree planting, temple construction, and coral exploitation conducted by the soldiers.
Most of the papers referring to the Hoang Sa archipelago were seen under King Minh Mang’s reign (1820 -1841), including the paper dated June 27, 1830, on the rescue of a French merchant ship sunk in the archipelago, one dated on April 2, 1838, on weather forecasting in preparation for an upcoming survey, and another dated July 19, 1838, to ask for tax exemption for ships on missions to Hoang Sa.
Under King Bao Dai’s reign (1925 -1945) – the last King of the Nguyen dynasty – the issue was also mentioned in some of the documents, such as the paper dated December 15, 1939, on bestowing a medal to Liuis Pontan, a French officer who died while performing his duty in Hoang Sa, and the paper dated February 10, 1939 on the King’s approval to honour a troop for their contributions to establishing a military post in Hoang Sa.
Therefore, the King Nguyen approved papers not only took effect in the country’s administration but are also legal instruments asserting the undeniable sovereignty of Vietnam over its sea and islands.
UNESCO’s recognition for the heritage is a significant step representing the world’s appreciation for the fact that Vietnam has exercised its sovereignty over its sea and island throughout the country’s history.
Nguyen Dynasty documents an important legal basis for sea, island sovereignty
VietNamNet Bridge – The official documents of the Nguyen Dynasty serve as an important legal basis for affirming Vietnam’s sovereignty over its sea and islands, a Vietnamese professor has said.
Many official state documents bearing the seals of kings still bear legal weight today, according to Prof. Dr. Nguyen Quang Ngoc, former director of the Institute of Vietnamese Studies and Development Sciences under the Hanoi National University.
The Nguyen Dynasty documents, including royal edicts and decrees, reports to the King, and credentials, are extremely valuable historical materials reflecting the political thoughts, guidelines and polices of the Vietnamese State in its internal and external relations.
“They are an invaluable asset for not only Vietnam but also the rest of the globe,” he stressed, adding this was the most important foundation for the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to official recognise the documents as documentary heritage of the Asia-Pacific at a meeting of the Regional Committee for the Memory of the World Programme in Guangzhou, China on May 14.
He expressed his belief that the documents will become recognised as documentary heritage of the world in the near future.
Ngoc said that among the documents, 18 were reports to the King providing detailed information on the Nguyen Dynasty’s exercise of sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes.
The means in which people were sent to Hoang Sa and what they did there are detailed in the documents, which also feature decisions made by the King to honour those who made great achievements to the development of the islands and punish those who failed to fulfill their tasks.
“These are among the only documents about the East Sea area,” the professor affirmed, adding they assert the undeniable sovereignty of Vietnam over its sea and islands.
The documents also served as a material for Nguyen Dynasty historians to write the Dai Nam Thuc Luc (Veritable Records of Dai Nam) collection, which also proved Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes throughout its history.
According to Ngoc, in the context of China’s illegal placement of its oil rig in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, the recognition, by UNESCO, in China itself is of great significance. It made the Nguyen Dynasty documents an important legal foundation for Vietnam’s struggle for sovereignty over an area where generations of Vietnamese people have laid down their lives to protect.
UNESCO has so far recognised three items of the Nguyen Dynasty as documentary heritage. They are the wooden printing blocks kept at the National Archives Centre IV in the central city of Da Nang, the Buddhism wooden printing blocks at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City and 82 steles honouring doctors at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi.