News / Asia

China Downplays Dispute with Vietnam in South China Sea

A Vietnamese surveillance ship's crew members stand near the side of the ship, allegedly damaged after being rammed by a Chinese ship, in the South China Sea, off Vietnam's coast, May 7, 2014.
A Vietnamese surveillance ship's crew members stand near the side of the ship, allegedly damaged after being rammed by a Chinese ship, in the South China Sea, off Vietnam's coast, May 7, 2014.
VOA News
China is downplaying an incident in which Chinese and Vietnamese vessels collided in a disputed area of the South China Sea, where Beijing has set up a state-run oil rig over the objections of Hanoi.

Speaking Thursday in Beijing, Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping declined to describe the incident as a "clash."  He also said he is optimistic China can peacefully resolve the situation with Vietnam, which he called a "friendly" neighbor.

"Certainly the two sides have some disputes in the relevant area; but, I think, as I just stressed, China and Vietnam are friendly neighbors and the friendly cooperation between the two countries is in the fundamental interests of both countries," he said. "I believe China and Vietnam can resolve the relevant disputes through peaceful negotiations."

Vietnam on Wednesday said Chinese ships intentionally and repeatedly rammed into Vietnamese vessels multiple times in the past several days. Vietnamese officials said several boats were damaged and at least six sailors were injured.

The incident occurred near the Paracel Islands, about 220 kilometers from Vietnam's shores, in an area Hanoi claims as its exclusive economic zone.

Duong Danh Dy, a former Vietnamese diplomat to China and an expert on Vietnam-China relations, said in an interview with the VOA's Vietnamese service that the current situation is extremely dangerous and Vietnam can no longer compromise.   

"I think Vietnam is capable of dealing with China.  Vietnam in recent years has updated its military equipment," he said. "Vietnam has its own way of dealing with the issue.  We defeated invaders from Chinese Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties in the past.  China nowadays is not only violating our sovereignty, but at the same time also exploring our oil resources.  If we step backward this time, they will push another step forward next time.  We all know China very well."

Tensions are also heightened in another part of the South China Sea, after the Philippines this week arrested 11 Chinese fishermen in a disputed area near the Half Moon Shoal in the Spratly Islands.

Philippine police say authorities are further investigating the men, who were found Tuesday in possession of 350 endangered sea turtles.  National Police Chief Alan Purisima on Thursday dismissed China's demands to release the men.

"That is their assertion.  Our assertion is that [territory] is ours, so that is Philippine territory," he said. "That's why there are disputes, but we will do the process, and let the process take its course."

China claims nearly the entire South China Sea.  Its claims overlap with that of Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Vietnamese service.  Tra Mi contributed from Washington.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid