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Outcomes of land border demarcation and the installation of border markers between Vietnam and China at Huu Nghi Border Gate, Ban Gioc Waterfall and Bac Luan River Mouth.

On 24th February in Hanoi, Deputy Foreign Minister Vu Dzung held a press conference, providing more information on the outcomes of land border demarcation and marker installation between Vietnam and China at Huu Nghi Border Gate, Ban Gioc Waterfall and Bac Luan River Mouth.

The National Committee on Border Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recently received quite a few letters and phone calls from Vietnamese at home and abroad welcoming the completion of the land border demarcation and marker installation between Vietnam and China. On behalf of all the forces participating in the demarcation and installation of border markers over the past 8 years, I would like to express our sincere thanks to all of them for their warm sentiments.  To provide further information on this process to Vietnamese people at home and our compatriots living, studying and working abroad, I wish to update our people about the outcomes of the settlement of the land border at Huu Nghi Border Gate, Ban Gioc Waterfall and Bac Luan River Mouth.

To everybody’s knowledge, these are highly sensitive areas having a long history of dispute and drawing much concern from the public in both Vietnam and China.

First, it should be made clear that these areas have been discussed in many rounds of negotiation of the Joint Committee on Land Border Demarcation and Marker Installation without any concrete result. By the beginning of 2008, the two sides have agreed on the comprehensive settlement of all the leftover areas including these three by a package solution. The principles of the package are the full conformity to the text and maps of the 1999 Treaty; settlement of all the areas in a single package under one set of criteria; fair, reasonable and acceptable to both sides; full respect to historical vestiges but giving priority to the stabilisation of the life of border inhabitants.

1. Huu Nghi Border Gate: This is the oldest border gate on the Vietnam-China border mentioned in Dai Nam Nhat Thong Chi, Van Dai Loai Ngu by Le Quy Don and some literature by Nguyen Du and Mac Dinh Chi.

There are three very important points relating to the borderline in this area, namely the Nam Quan Gate with the former markers installed by the French and the Qing at the end of the 19th century and the junction point of the Dong Dang - Pingxiang railway. In regard to the Nam Quan Gate, Vietnam’s historical records available today confirm that it was built by Chinese feudal dynasties and still exists until the present day. Regarding the markers installed by the French and the Qing, marker No.19 remains exactly in the same place. As for marker No.18, which was opposite to marker No.19, due to the elapse of time, the two sides have not been able to locate it. In so far as the railway junction point is concerned, since it has slightly moved toward the Vietnamese side compared with its original position in the historical borderline, the two sides agreed to move it northwards. Accordingly, the borderline will cross the marker Km. No.0, the old marker No.19 to the point 148 meters up north from the current railway junction point. Currently, markers No. 1116 and No. 1117 have been installed symmetrically across the National Road 1A, and marker No.1118 coincides with the old marker No.19. Thus, it can be said that the historical borderline in this area has been maintained and even defined more clearly by a new and modern marker system.
2. Ban Gioc Waterfall: Ban Gioc Waterfall lies in Quay Son River – a shared river of Vietnam and China. The French - Qing maps confirmed Quay Son River as a border river and Ban Gioc Waterfall a joint waterfall of Vietnam and China. When the two sides signed the 1999 Treaty, the 2.6 hectare-large Po Thoong Dune found in the fall was the only unsettled matter in this area. According to international law and the 1999 Treaty, the borderline in this area is identified by the median line of the main water flow. Technically speaking, the main water flow is identified as running to the south of Po Thoong Dune. After several rounds of negotiation, the two sides agreed to settle the matter of Ban Gioc Waterfall with the combination of political and technical solutions. As a result, the borderline here runs from the old marker No. 53 through Po Thoong Dune to the midpoint of the main waterfall. Therefore, all the sub-waterfall and half of the main waterfall belong to Vietnam. The two sides also agreed to discuss ways of cooperation to explore the tourism potential at Ban Gioc Waterfall.         

3. Bac Luan River Mouth: The area is about 14 kilometres long running from the upstream of Tuc Lam shoal to the first point of demarcation line of Tonkin Gulf. Although this area was mapped and marked by France and the Qing, the dunes and shoal of Tuc Lam, Tai Xec and Dau Got were not present in the maps of the time. When Vietnam and China signed the 1999 Treaty, the two sides did not agree on a settlement for this area. On 31st December, 2008, i.e. the last day of negotiation, the two sides agreed to the settlement of the Bac Luan River Mouth by a political solution. The borderline now runs from Tuc Lam Delta with ¾ of which belonging to Vietnam and a fourth to China. It then passes Dau Got Dune with ⅓ of which belonging to Vietnam and ⅔ to China before entering the first point of the demarcation line of Tonkin Gulf.
The two sides have agreed not to put up any manmade structures in this area and establish a free travel zone for border inhabitants.

 The above-mentioned outcomes are totally in conformity with the package solution described before and are the result of the patient negotiation conducted by the two Delegations for Border Demarcation and Marker Installation working under the guidance of the high-level Leaders of the two countries as well as the enormous support and assistance of the people in the border localities.

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