In the sixteenth century, the world had little knowledge about Indochina. Western merchants and sailors of that time called the sea, which is encompassed by the present-day Southeast Asian countries, the “South China Sea” to refer to the enclosed sea basin and its location in relation to the surrounding countries lying to the north of Australia, east of India, and south of China.
Notably, ancient Chinese historical documents called the sea 交阯洋 (Giao Chỉ Dương), which means the Sea of Jiaozhi or Jiaozhi Sea and that, Jiaozhi is an ancient name of Vietnam. Other lesser known names include Champa Sea or Sea of Cham, after the maritime kingdom that flourished between the seventh and sixteenth centuries.
In this modern era, as human civilization evolved towards a multi-faceted global collaboration, the international community, since the 20th century, has geographically formed a sub-region in Asia to address mankind’s need. This region was officially named Southeast Asia and consists of Burma, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
Southeast Asia represents approximately 600 million people who have, in a joint effort, made unique and original contributions to modern civilization in many aspects, including culture, science, education, economics, politics, etc. In addition to the above, these are facts:
- The United Nations has officially recognized the region and named it “Southeast Asia”.
- The countries of Southeast Asia encompass almost the entire South China Sea with a total coastline measuring approximately 130,000 kilometers (81,250 miles) long; whereas the Southern China’s coastline measured about 2,800 kilometers (1,750 miles) in length.
- Freedom of navigation on the sea is not restricted to a specific country. It is a common heritage of mankind and has actually been used by the international community for centuries as the second most important water channel in the world.
Join the campaign to ask Google to change the name “South China Sea” to “East Vietnam Sea” in their maps.
Sign the petition and your action will forever be remembered in the modern history of Indochina.