World

China And Vietnam Risk All-Out War Over Sea Dispute

Vietnam is allowing public anti-China protests after the Chinese navy set up an oil rig in contested waters.

China And Vietnam Risk All-Out War Over Sea Dispute
BBC
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The water near China and Vietnam has become considerably more dangerous in the last couple weeks. The two nations are in their most heated dispute in years over competing claims to a section of the South China Sea.

China's navy planted an oil rig right inside that territory May 1. And Vietnam's government immediately took issue. Both sides accuse the other of ramming ships. And, as it has done in other sea disputes, China used water cannons to ward off foreign vessels. (Via The Telegraph, Daily Mail)

And now Vietnam's dispute abroad has meant rare public unrest at home. The Vietnamese government typically doesn't allow protests, but it did Sunday — right in front of China's embassy in Hanoi.

BBC cameras show a few hundred protesters with signs reading "Get out China." State media outlets in Vietnam might have inflated that number a bit, reporting thousands of demonstrators.

Unlike anti-China protests in 2012 that were broken up by Vietnam police, authorities allowed Sunday's demonstrations to play out. 

It looks a lot like the scene in Japan and in other regional neighbors who say China is getting more aggressive about claiming oil-rich territory across southeast Asian waters. (Via CNN)

The disputes are looming over this year's ASEAN summit for the region's governments. And Beijing, which would rather not talk about them at all, isn't happy about that. (Via Al Jazeera)

China has, in turn, blamed Washington for raising tensions. President Barack Obama just finished up a trip through Asia two weeks ago. Friday, a spokesman for China's foreign ministry told reporters, "the recent series of irresponsible and wrong comments from the United States which neglect the facts about the relevant waters have encouraged certain countries' dangerous and provocative behavior." (Via The White House)

Aside from Vietnam, Japan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan are all among the nations accusing China of making a land grab.