Nguyen Nha: An Expert Working to Settle Vietnam’s Hoang Sa and Truong Sa Disputes

Dr. Nguyen Nha is one of the leading experts on Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes who has spent 40 years collecting documents as historical evidence of Vietnam’s sovereignty over the two archipelagoes. 

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In 1974, China occupied Vietnam’s Hoang Sa archipelago. At that time, Nguyen Nha was the chief editor of History and Geography Magazine, a prestigious specialized magazine at Saigon Teachers’ Training University. With a strong determination to uncover the truth about Vietnam’s sovereignty over the sea and islands, Nha decided to publish a special issue on the Hoang Sa archipelago. He also organized an exhibition a year later, showcasing documents and images that proved Vietnam’s undeniable sovereignty over the archipelago. Since then, Nha has dedicated much of his time to traveling to different regions, including Ly Son Island, in search of traces and evidence related to the archipelago.


Dr. Nguyen Nha, who has dedicated 40 years to researching Vietnam’s sea and islands. Photo: File

Dr. Nguyen Nha with documents, objects, and articles related to Vietnam’s sovereignty
over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes. Photo: Thong Hai

Dr. Nguyen Nha interacting with students at San Jose Public Library in the US in 2011. Photo: File


Dr. Nguyen Nha speaking at a lecture about Vietnam’s sovereignty over the sea and islands
at Temple University in Philadelphia, the US, in 2010. Photo: File

Dr. Nguyen Nha participating in an international workshop in Da Nang
on “Hoang Sa-Truong Sa: The Historical Truth” in 2014. Photo: File


The map “An Nam Dai quoc hoa do,” made by Taberd from France and published in 1838,
accurately depicts the coordinates of Hoang Sa, affirming Vietnam’s ownership. Photo: File

Based on his research, Nguyen Nha completed his Ph.D. thesis on “The process of defining Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa archipelagoes,” which garnered much praise from the scientific community. This thesis is of significant importance, as it reflects a topical question and serves as historical evidence. Using this thesis and updated research findings, Nha compiled a book titled “Evidence of Vietnam’s Sovereignty over the Hoang Ha and Truong Sa archipelagoes,” published in July 2013 by the Vietnam Education Publishing House. This book, the culmination of Nha’s 40 years of hard work, is a comprehensive collection of diverse documents found both domestically and internationally.

Through this book, Nha aims to provide readers with a better understanding of the process of discovery, actual ownership, exercise of power, annual surveys, hydraulic measurements, mapping, resource exploitation, temple construction, marking, tree planting, and infrastructure development in Hoang Sa and Truong Sa. These activities serve as symbols of Vietnam’s sovereignty over the archipelagoes throughout different periods.

Dr. Nguyen Nha hopes that his book will provide Vietnamese teachers and students with insights into Vietnam’s sovereignty over these islands, thereby encouraging people from all walks of life to promote the nation’s historical truth and persist in the struggle for national sovereignty and territorial integrity.


The work “The Epic of the East Sea and Preserving the National Soul,” co-compiled by Nguyen Nha. Photo: File

“Defending the Truong Sa and Hoang Sa islands is a vivid manifestation of the patriotic spirit of generations of Vietnamese people. They should join hands in building a strong nation, safeguarding national sovereignty, and developing Vietnam into a maritime-based economic power,” said Nha.

In recent years, many of Nguyen Nha’s works have been translated into English for international readers. He has also presented his work and documents in western countries such as the US, Australia, and Singapore to showcase the historical truth and Vietnam’s sovereignty over the sea and islands, seeking support from the international community.
Nguyen Nha is admired and respected as a lecturer by many generations of students. He is also involved in the project “Vietnamese Kitchen – Kitchen of the World,” which aims to introduce Vietnam’s traditional dishes to the world since 2007.

In addition to history, Nha has a passion for food and poetry. This led him and some friends to embark on a project to learn history through easily memorable and understandable poems. For Nha, this approach is a way to preserve national history.

Story: Son Nghia – Photos: Thong Hai & File