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Tuesday, February 02, 2016, 11:48 (GMT+7)
Role of the sea in the history of building and safeguarding the country
The East Sea and the two archipelagoes of Vietnam

Right from the dawn of our nation, sea was the living environment for ancient Vietnamese tribes and played an important role in protecting national independence of the Dai Viet. The legend of Lac Long Quan who went seawards with his 50 sons, the image of boats inscribed in Dong Son bronze drum as well as hundreds of archaeological items in Hang Kenh – Viet Khe (Hai Phong province) proved that our ancestors not only lived in land, but their life was also closely connected  with the sea.

According to a number of studies, nature of formation of the first Vietnam state was a cross of the two directions, namely from mountain downwards to sea and from sea upwards. Accordingly, various groups of inhabitants (living near the sea before) came to live inland on fertile plains after the era of sea (4,000 – 5,000 years ago). Moreover, Vietnamese tribes’ conquering the sea also brought about exchanges with the countries, such as India, Malaysia, Japan, even countries in the Mediterranean Sea, generating motivation for development in various aspects. That is one of the unique features of the formation of Van Lang State and makes contributions to defining national cultural identity.

In addition, our country’s seas and islands play an important role in protecting national independence. In the past, several feudal dynasties from the North and the two imperialists, namely the French colonialists and the American imperialists, began their invasions from the sea. Thus, Vietnamese feudal dynasties all paid attention to and had many policies on protecting and exercising sovereignty over seas and islands. For example, Nguyen Dynasty organized Hoang Sa and Bac Hai teams to protect, control, and exercise sovereignty over offshore seas and islands. During our national thousand-year history, there were illustrious water battlefields defeating the enemy in rivers and seas. Notably, in the resistance war against the U.S., for national salvation, under the Party leadership, our military and people made rivers and seas fortifications to prevent the enemy from blocking and breaking into the North. We also created a strategic transportation sea line to assist the South, making significant contributions to the cause of national liberation and reunification.

Today, in the context of globalization and international integration, our country’s seas have become strategic space of utmost significance for the cause of building and safeguarding the Homeland. Large sea, long coast as well as islands and archipelagos from far to near have created an everlasting environment for our nation to live in and develop. They also make up strong interconnective posture of coast-sea-island in the country’s general defence posture. However, due to ambitions and considerations of foreign forces, there exist instability and unpredictability in our sea. Therefore, alongside exploiting sea and developing maritime economy, we should pay attention to building strong defensive areas on seas, islands, and continental shelf of the Homeland.

Ta Quang

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