Thursday, May 6, 2010

Monks Visit Spratly Islands

Spratly Islands are a group of islets, reefs and atolls in the South China Sea, located midway between Vietnam and the Philippines and claimed by several countries. At present various parts of the arhipelago are occupied by military from several countries ( China, Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Philipines, Malaysia )

On the occasion of the 35th annivesary of the reunification of Spratly Islands ( Truong Sa ), a delegate of 50 members including monks from Vietnam went to the island to pay tribute to the army, navy and people who have sacrificed their lives to defend the archipelago. The delegation was there from April 24 to May 1.

Thirty-five years ago, after the glorious victories in Buon Me Thuot, Hue, Da Nang and Khanh Hoa, on the morning of April 14, 1975, the Vietnamese naval commandos landed to liberate the Song Tu Tay island. This victory was followed by the liberation of the Son Ca island on April 25, the Sinh Ton island on April 28 and the whole Truong Sa archipelago on April 29.

Since its liberation, the Truong Sa archipelago have seen remarkable development with numerous economic cum defence works serving people’s life.

A monk greets a child in the island

A navy officer welcomes the monks

A member of the delegate views the rig, home of some of the navy men who safeguard the island from a navy ship

Monks enjoy some splashing time in the sea

.. while nuns enjoy taking photos of the island

Monks pray in a memorial service for those who were killed on the course of duty in the island.