A U.S. based journalist who recently visited the South China Sea says he believes the current situation near China’s disputed oil rig has calmed down.
Vu Hoang Lan, founder of California-based PhoBolsaTV, recently visited the area on board Vietnamese ships. He said in an interview with VOA's Vietnamese Service that Hanoi is using conflict-avoidance tactics when] confronting Chinese ships.
"The Vietnamese people that I spoke with, fishermen and law-enforcement personnel, they are very upset [by Chinese policies] because they have to give up and run away within their own territory when being chased by Chinese forces. Nevertheless, they have no other choices given Hanoi’s policies," said Lan.
A Vietnamese fisherman repairs his vessel after it was rammed by a Chinese patrol ship that it protecting the waters around a disputed oil rig in the South China Sea, May 18, 2014. (PhoBolsaTV.com)
At the beginning of the dispute, the two sides exchanged water cannon fire and Hanoi accused the Chinese vessels of ramming Vietnamese ships.
However, Lan said Vietnam still sends ships to the area every day and uses loud speakers to ask China to remove the oil rig from its waters.
He says that Chinese vessels respond by using loud speakers telling them to leave the area or face consequences.
“There’s no indication that China would compromise on this. Vietnam can do nothing more, can’t take up military measures, which China is expecting most, and Vietnam won’t let China have that ‘opportunity’," said Lan.
On May 1, Beijing moved the oil rig to an area near the Paracel Islands, within an area that Vietnam considers its exclusive economic zone.
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Vietnamese service.