Vietnamese archaeologists have announced the discovery of ancient Vietnamese artifacts in the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago.
Recent excavations in the archipelago -- Spratly Island, Namyit Island, Pearson Reef, and Sand Cay -- in June yielded Vietnamese pottery shards that dated back to between the 13th and 19th centuries, archaeologists said.
Bui Van Liem, deputy director of the Vietnam Institute of Archaeology, said: “The results of the June explorations strengthened those of our explorations in Truong Sa in 1993, 1994, and 1999. They prove that Vietnamese people operated in the archipelago in the past.”
“The artifacts contribute to support Vietnam’s assertion of sovereignty over the Truong Sa archipelago,” said Liem.
Earlier this month, Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) condemned China’s illegal construction work on Gac Ma (Johnson South Reef) in Vietnam’s Spratly Islands as a “serious violation of Vietnam’s sovereignty.”
Le Hai Binh, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Vietnam had sufficient legal and historical proof to assert its sovereignty over Truong Sa.
Unilateral action designed to change the status quo in this area seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty and complicated the East Sea, internationally known as the South China Sea, and regional situation, he said.
A recent BBC report documented a Chinese project to dredge tons of rock and sand from the sea floor and pump it into the Johnson South Reef.
The work appears to have been going on for months, according to the BBC.
In May the Philippines released photos that appeared to show Chinese land reclamation efforts on Johnson South Reef.
It described the work as part of a Chinese plan to build an airstrip.