Tuesday, November 19, 2019, 12:34 (GMT+7)

Wednesday, June 03, 2015, 18:59 (GMT+7)
The 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty and Vietnam’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa (Paracels) and Truong Sa (Spratlys)
The signing of 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty (File photo)

After the end of the second World War, as Japan was the loser, all territories occupied by the country needed to be delimited by an international treaty. From 4th to 8th September 1951, with the participation of 51 countries, San Francisco Conference was held to discuss the signing of a Peace Treaty with Japan. In the Draft of Treaty (submitted to plenary session), it was written in Article 2 (Chapter 2) that:

“a). Japan recognizing the independence of Korea, renounces all of its rights, titles and claim to Korea, including the islands of Quelpart Port Hamilton and Dagelet.

b). Japan renounces all of its rights, titles, and claim to Formosa (Taiwan) and Pessadores.

c). Japan renounces all of its rights, titles, and claim to Kurile Islands and  that portion of Sakhalin and the islands adjacent to it over which Japan acquired sovereignty as a consequence of the Treaty of Portsmouth of 5 September 1905.

d). Japan renounces claims to territories in the League of Nations Mandate System and accepts the UN (US) trusteeship system; (e) Japan renounces claims to the Antarctic area; not even Japanese citizens’ activities or other forms.

f). Japan renounces all of its rights, titles, claims to Truong Sa (Spratlys) and Hoang Sa (Paracels)”.

It can be seen in the Draft that despite not being mentioned concretely, territories related to a country were arranged in an article, for example: the islands of Quelpart Port Hamilton and Dagelet related to Korea (article a); Kurile islands and Sakhalin island related to Russia (article c). Meanwhile, Formosa and Pessadores (related to the People’s Republic of China) and Hoang Sa and Truong Sa were in different articles (b and c). This proves the notion that international community did not recognize Hoang Sa and Truong Sa as China’s territories. Moreover, in plenary session (September 5th 1951), there was a supplemented opinion requiring Japan’s approval for the People’s Republic of China’s sovereignty over Hoang Sa island and islands further to the South, but it was completely rejected (45 votes against out of 51) and Article 2 was still kept as in the Draft of Treaty. Notably, in this conference, Tran Van Huu, Prime Minister of Bao Dai’s government stated that “in order to annul the seeds of possible disputes, we claim our sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagos”. No objections were raised nor any reservations made against his statement at the conference.

To conclude, following the Cairo Declaration (1943) and the Postdam Declaration (1945) confirmed, the Treaty of San Francisco reconfirmed Vietnam's sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa without any objection of other countries. Also, Vietnam’s statement (in the conference) on its sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa was recognized by the international community. This shows that the argument which says that Vietnam has sufficient proof meeting the norms of international law and historical evidence to prove its sovereignty over Hoang Sa and Truong Sa, is absolutely true.

Hai Bang

 

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