On April 28, the Prime Minister issued Decision No. 568 to ratify the plan for the economic development of Viet Nam’s islands by 2020. The plan underlines the need to develop the island economies in a rapid, effective and sustainable manner. The move aims to create a breakthrough in maritime, island and coastal economic development while turning the network of islands into a strong line of defence, protecting the country’s sovereignty and its sovereign right over its seas and islands. Accordingly, major orientations mapped out in Viet Nam’s Sea Strategy have opened up a new vision and approach for island economic development.
Truong Sa soldiers eat mainly canned food for their daily meals. Upon being asked about their material difficulties, they just laughed. For them, it is “nothing of concern”. During the US war, poet Pham Tien Duat made clear the soldiers spirit with just one line of poetry “A small injury is not worth admitting to hospital (in “Nho” (Miss) poem). Not until we met with the Truong Sa soldiers did we see that the predecessors’ optimism and revolutionary spirit remains overflowing in today’s young soldiers.
They are stationed here on the task of defending the sovereignty of the country’s waters and islands, living in the severe weather of the central coast all year round. The majority of them trained at the Naval school while a number of the soldiers from the Naval Brigade moved to the Marine Police. Many of them said they had served in the seas off the Truong Sa archipelago.
There are eight lighthouses on eight islands and island points belonging to Truong Sa archipelago, Khanh Hoa province. These lighthouses are not only marks for ships passing-by at night amid boundless ocean, but also confirm the sovereignty over sea and islands of Viet Nam. These lighthouses never go off, because they are lit up by the patriotism of soldiers on Truong Sa archipelago.
Son La is a mountainous province which shares 250km border with Laos. The borderline runs from west to east, from north to south through “the water-line divide” of major mountains lying in strategic positions, such as mountains of Pu Xam Sau, Pu Chun, Pu Gia Thau, Pu Tong, Pu Khoai, Pu San Cang, Pha Luang, Pu Khau Quang, Pu Ta Ne. On these sky high mountains, there are border markers affirming the territory and sovereignty of the country. In the other side of the border markers is Laos, a faithful friend who enjoys deep comradeship with Viet Nam.
Geographically, Truong Sa archipelago is not near the central province of Quang Tri. However, in Quang Tri, the name of Truong Sa is called with affection. I never forget the young man with slim body and student-like appearance and a short name, Tran Huong, from the coastal region of Gio Hai, Gio Linh district. He volunteered to teach in Pa Nang mountainous commune (Dakrong district) for five years and experienced many difficulties.
Viet Nam has for the third time received the Energy Globe Award for a clean energy and lighting project in Truong Sa archipelago. The project, called “Wind- and Solar Energy instead of Smelly Diesel Generators,” aims to provide 48 remote islands in the East Sea with “eco power”.
Viet Nam has for the first time a legal document that fully stipulates the legal status of the sea and islands within Viet Nam’s sovereignty and sovereign rights in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).