Removal of book on S.China Sea shows Vietnam's diffidence: expert

Global Times
Li Jiayao

China's legitimate sovereignty over the South China Sea will not change despite a move by the Vietnamese government to ban a book about the area's history, and the move shows Vietnam's lack of confidence, said the Chinese book's editor.

Vietnam's publishing department has issued a decision to withdraw and destroy a book which it regards as containing "misleading information" about the South China Sea, Vietnam's Tuoi Tre Newspaper reported Tuesday.

The department also bans Vietnamese publishers from selling the Chinese authored book published in Vietnamese, and libraries from holding it, as it blames the book for "distorting historical truth" by saying the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) had sovereignty over the territory of Nansha islands in the South China Sea when it was ruled by the Qianlong and Kangxi emperors.

Ge Jianxiong, a distinguished professor at Fudan University, also editor and one of the book's authors, told the Global Times that islands of the South China Sea belonging to China is a historical fact and the Vietnam government banning one book cannot change this.

"Vietnam's move reflects their lack of confidence," said Ge.

"If Vietnam really wants to prove their sovereignty over the South China Sea islands, they should also provide historical evidence, instead of destroying our book, which will actually only help in the sale of the book and let more people learn of the truth," said Ge.

He also said that the Vietnam government is becoming increasingly isolated and inward-looking on communication related to the islands in the South China Sea.

In August, China and most Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members arrived at a consensus and committed to easing disputes in the South China Sea. However, Vietnam tried to force its agenda by inserting "construction on islands and reefs" into the draft communiqué, Xinhua quoted a source close to the meeting as saying.


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