Vietnamese in Australia give almost $10,000 to build school in disputed island

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Vietnamese businesspeople in Australia have donated US$9,934 to build a school in Vietnam's Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands in the East Sea.

The money was handed over to the Vu A Dinh Scholarship, named after a young Vietnamese martyr, at a ceremony in Melbourne Sunday.

It was attended by more than 50 members of the Vietnamese Business Association of Australia, Hoang Vinh Thanh, Vietnam's ambassador to that country, and Truong My Hoa, the scholarship chairwoman and a former Vietnamese vice president, Tuoi Tre reported Tuesday.

Hoa said the money would be used to build a school on Big Truong Sa, an island in the archipelago.

"Construction is expected to begin in October and cost around VND10 billion ($480,200). The school would open in March 2013 with a library, accommodation for teachers, and a pond."

Thanh said this is a further effort to establish Vietnam's sovereignty over the islands and the East Sea.

The oil-rich waters are at the center of a dispute among several ASEAN members and China.

Tran Ba Phuc, chairman of the association, said: "Any Vietnamese person, within or outside the country, would give part of their heart to the country, and to the holy Truong Sa.

"We are honored to help build the school and, with it, we want to express love and care for our compatriots on the islands."

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