More than 170 overseas Vietnamese youths from 30 countries begun a five-day tour of Da Nang, Quang Ngai and Binh Dinh on July 16.

The tour is part of an annual summer camp which started in Hanoi on July 8 and ends on July 27 in Ho Chi Minh City.

The first stop was Da Nang city museum to witness a collection of documents and maps outlining Vietnam's sovereignty over the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos.

"It's the first time that I have visited Da Nang," said Hoang Hiep, 17, a high-school student from Poland.

"I left Vietnam when I was a baby. My parents were from Bac Giang province," he said.

"This is the third time I have returned to Vietnam, but this journey is very exciting as I have joined up with other overseas Vietnamese," he added.

Khanh Ngan, 18, said she was interested in the annual summer camp because it gave her a chance to find her roots.

Nguyen Huy Truong Nam, 18, from Moscow, said he left Vietnam four years ago.

"The Vietnamese community in Russia has heard news of the East Sea tension and China's illegal placement of oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 inside Vietnam's continental shelf," Nam said.

"Many Vietnamese in Russia and their Russian friends flocked to demonstrations asking China to withdraw its oil rig from Viet Nam's waters," he said.

"This journey will help me learn more about the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) islands."

Colonel Tran Van Dung, of the Zone 2 Marine Police, and Vuong Manh Hoa from the Fisheries Surveillance Force, talked to the youths about the acts of violence by Chinese ships that endangered the lives of Vietnamese fishermen.

The youths were also shown the images of the wreck of sunken fishing trawler DNa TS 90152, which rammed by Chinese boats in Vietnamese waters.

The youths will join a ceremony for souls of martyrs at Linh Ung Pagoda in Son Tra Mountain on July 19.

They leave for a trip to Ly Son Island in central Quang Ngai province on July 18.

Ly Son Island preserves Am Linh Pagoda, a place of worship for seamen sent to the Paracel Islands in the Nguyen dynasty from the 17th century.

A museum of the two archipelagos displays over 200 ancient documents and 100 objects that show that the two island groups belong to Vietnam.

The summer camp has been organised by the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2003.

The annual event creates an opportunity for overseas youngsters to learn about national traditions, culture and history, as well as enhance solidarity and exchanges.

This year’s summer camp takes places in many localities across the country with the theme “My country’s sea and islands.”-VNA