News / Asia

China-Vietnam Maritime Dispute Tests US Pivot to Asia

China-Vietnam Standoff Tests U.S. Pivot to Asiai
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Scott Stearns
May 23, 2014 5:46 PM
The standoff over a Chinese oil rig in disputed waters off Vietnam is testing the Obama administration's so-called pivot of military and diplomatic assets to Asia. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on the impact of the latest South China Sea flare-up
The standoff over a Chinese oil rig in disputed waters off Vietnam is testing the Obama administration's so-called pivot of military and diplomatic assets to Asia.
 
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)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)
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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)
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)
Vietnam says the oil rig threatens freedom of navigation and regional peace.
 
"China's illegal placement of the oil rig and deployment of escort vessels to protect the rig deep into Vietnam's continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone seriously threatens peace, stability and maritime security," said Vietnam’s prime minister, Nguyen Tan Dung.
 
Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei accused Vietnam of fueling tensions by questioning his country’s sovereignty.
 
The Vietnamese "are distorting the facts, conflating right and wrong on the global stage, blackening China and making unreasonable accusations," Hong said.
 
The standoff is part of China pushing back against a bigger U.S. presence in the Pacific, according to Hillary Mann Leverett, a foreign policy expert and senior adjunct at American University.
 
"It really puts Vietnam in the forefront of the battle essentially between the U.S. and China over who's going to be able to exert influence today and for the long term in that critically important part of the world," said Leverett, who has served  in the State Department.
 
China’s message is meant for all of Beijing's territorial rivals, said New South Wales University political professor Carl Thayer.
 
He said the core states in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, “not just Philippines and Vietnam, are going to be highly concerned, because it's not just an oil rig, it's the military muscle that goes with it, and every state will feel vulnerable to China."
 
President Xi Jinping said China always works to resolve peacefully issues of maritime sovereignty and questions Asian nations that seek alliances against neighbors.
 
"We should respect and be considerate of each country's safety concerns,” he said. “Countries that strengthen military alliances against a third party do not benefit regional security."
 
Leverett said Beijing is trying to undermine the so-called U.S. pivot based on an assumption that Washington will not fight.
 
"The idea for China is really to give the United States a choice that it can't win,” Leverett said. “Either it has to fight China over islands it doesn't care about or not back up its allies.”
 
That “sends a very strong signal to those allies that they don't have the United States to rely on, the pivot's not for real, the one and only neighbor they're going to have to deal with now and forever is China," Leverett added.
 
Washington said it would support legal action by Hanoi against the oil rig as part of what it says is U.S. "national interest in maintenance of peace and stability" in the South China Sea.
 
 Some information provided by Reuters
 
  • A Vietnamese fisheries patrol ship shows signs of damage that Hanoi says was a result of being rammed by Chinese vessels during recent encounters in the South China Sea, May 18, 2014. (PhoBolsaTV.com)
  • 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)
  • Chinese ships shine their spotlight at Vietnamese ships that go near the disputed oil rig in the South China Sea, May 18, 2014. (PhoBolsaTV.com)
  • Journalist Vu Hoang Lan of Pho Bolsa TV reported from Vietnamese ships near the disputed Chinese oil rig in the South China Sea, May 18, 2014. (PhoBolsaTV.com)
  • A Vietnamese Coast Guard ship in the South China Sea, May 18, 2014. (PhoBolsaTV.com)

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by: Liu from: Zhejiang
May 29, 2014 9:01 AM
Lands belongs to those who can conquer it, protect it. TRUTH remain within the range of missiles. How did Russia, USA gain their vast territory?


by: Tuan from: VN
May 25, 2014 5:57 PM
Chinese is with false history. If chinese go back in history when there were no borders between countries then they could claim the USA too.
In modern time I know that the Chinese used force to invade Vietnam beginning in 1974. If the islands belong to Chinese why didn't they occupy there? Where were the Chinese in 1800-1900?
Greedy Chinese steal things from people!


by: VoDanh from: Viet Nam
May 25, 2014 11:27 AM
The VN communist party has been managing the country monopolistically over the past 40 year is a total failure.
After that many years of peaceful development, VN is still very much behind countries, with somewhat similar past war torn situation, like Republic of Korea and Taiwan. The educational system of VN is backward and not providing a good learning environment for its bright and hardworking young people. A majority of people in VN are still very poor, GDP per capita for the year of 2013 of VN is 1,901 (US Dollar), which is about 10 and 12 times less than that of Taiwan and Korea respectively.
VN’s sovereignty has been violated by its neighbor (China). VN does not have many friends in the world that it may depend on for support in case of war. VN’s ability to defend itself against such a big bully like China may deem to be ineffective.
VN needs to rid itself of this one party totalitarian regime. VN needs to build a political system based on basic principles of democracy such as freedom of speech and association, religious tolerance, and the rule of law. A democratic VN will gain support and contributions from the bright and educated Vietnamese who are living around the globe. A democratic VN will allow it to join and be respected by all of the advanced countries in the world. A democratic VN will bring peace and prosperity to its people. A democratic VN will lead the country to a much, much brighter future.
VN needs a political reform, REFORM IT NOW !!.


by: kevin from: california
May 24, 2014 10:17 PM
I can not believed that the US military is taking so long to have any action about the problem there..look at Russia, boom bam they are there...Russia and China are disrepecting everybody..UNs is a joke to me because i haven't heard anything from them...


by: Ng from: aus
May 24, 2014 9:45 PM
Chinese always says they don't invade other countries, they just wan to get back of what is Not belong to them. A coward thief


by: S from: Nguyen
May 24, 2014 4:48 PM
Beijing gov't has been the source of troubles in the SE Asia region in past few months, as you may already know. Look like the belligerents have no common sense for peace and justice with anyone whom they sharing the borders. Time to put a stop to Beijing's madness or they will continue further to no end. I do believe, Japan should by now or at least have started moving their investments out of china, soon the others may follow. The world has been helping china economically in the past 20 years, guess what this is what it has become...a suppressive "bully", undermining the peace and stability in the entire region. Wake up and face reality of ugliness of Beijing gov't, they certainly not interested in creating peace and stability in the region but potentially a destruction to the peaceful neighbors. Do your part, time to stop rewarding china economically!!!


by: young thing from: Nowhere
May 24, 2014 10:26 AM
by: Anonymous
May 23, 2014 7:41 PM
China never invades the other country,south china sea belonged to China from ancient time,China is doing the right thing now.

South China sea belonged to China from ancient time??? You must be kidding! :P
You should persuade kids, who watch Chinese history cartoons too much. Maybe China should use those cartoons as a clue to convince the whole world and to UN

In Response

by: Anonymous
May 27, 2014 3:06 AM
#Anonymous- u should realize that our Vietnamese government is a two headed snake with boneless tongue who can claim or said whatever we want. Many of our Vietnamese celebrities also understand the disharmony and turmoil our government is creating. Look up and don't be too stubborn and uneducated!!! "Please explain why no one said any words about Vietnam's oil drilling in the disputed area for years and when China did the same thing, it suddenly became "threat of the area"?

In Response

by: Lou from: Wa
May 26, 2014 12:09 PM
#Anonymous- u should realize that our Chinese government is a two headed snake with boneless tongue who can claim or said whatever we want. Many of our Chinese celebrities also understand the disharmony and turmoil our government is creating. Look up and don't be too stubborn and uneducated!!!

In Response

by: Anonymous
May 25, 2014 10:17 PM
yeah, your government needs media sheep like you, oh west media is so "open", can you explain why no one said any words about Vietnam's oil drilling in the disputed area for years and when China do the same thing, it suddenly became "threat of the area"? I have seen news articles stand by VN's side, but actually no any of them view the issue in China's perspective, Good job, open and neutral west media. Go find China's argument and compare it to VN's yourself before you make any comments, your media will never tell you that, brainwashed media sheep.

In Response

by: Marcel from: Everywhere by China
May 25, 2014 12:31 PM
To Anonymous: You are so funny! "west government and media propaganda" ? Do you really believe what you say? Do you understand the difference between the openness of the western media and the Chinese governmental control of the media? Just as an example, did you hear about Google's problems in China? Compare the numbers of news outlets between the west and China...Also, how many political views and parties are allowed in China ? Do you realize that ~ 6-7 billion people have access to more informations and more opinions and that only brainwashed Chinese people see it your way? I feel sorry for you; it's not even your faults, you don't know better :)

In Response

by: Anonymous
May 25, 2014 8:25 AM
yeah, someone just knows nothing about both the arguments of China and Vietnam over the disputed area, and said China is evil. Good jobs, keep listening to your west government and media propaganda. Also I want to remind you that Vietnam have been drilling oil from that distributed area many years ago, and no one said any words about it, well done, uncle sam and the west.

In Response

by: dashi from: N.J.
May 25, 2014 7:00 AM
Did you check your blood? You are carrying Chinese blood. When China conquered "your land", you people were still in pre-historic living. It was not called "vietnam"

In Response

by: kevin from: calif
May 24, 2014 9:53 PM
let me remind you..your ancestors have invaded Vietnam and conquered my country for a very long time...you can google about it...anyways, how can you said those islands belonged to China? It was wrong that they came and drilled oil while it is in a disputed situation...Now, look at the map Vietnam is closer to the two islands...I've heard Ho Chi Minh and his brother Vo Nguyen Grap have sold the islands to the Chinese goverment..I am not sure about it..But the one thing that I know for sure is that Beijing officials has caused so much problems for its neighbors..like Japan, Phillipines, and now Vietnam

In Response

by: Marcel from: Everywhere by China
May 24, 2014 7:29 PM
The problem is that the Chinese government has brainwashed its people to believe these ridiculous ideas and false histories. If the Chinese really want to go back history line, they better give back Tibet to Tibet and and the stolen territory of what they call "Xin Jiang" to the Uygher :)


by: Chay Xe Om from: Chicago
May 24, 2014 7:54 AM
China’s rise to power is not peaceful and China's positions on East Asia territorial disputes are very clear: China will defend "every inch" of its (disputed) territory and there is "no room for compromise."
China is open for talks bilaterally with its South China Sea neighbors, one at time. But the problem is: This "peaceful resolution" the Chinese have been talking about is nothing but a “peaceful submission” to their demands, no more and no less.
All East Asian countries currently involved in territorial disputes with China must stand their grounds or risk living under the shadow of China forever.
We hope Obama’s “pivot to Asia” stays on its course. Stronger presence of the US military in the region, better diplomatic relationships between the US and East Asian countries, and more Trans-Pacific Ocean trades will benefit us all and make this world a safer place to live.


by: Liu
May 24, 2014 5:45 AM
War-like U.S. is stirring the world, with a view to exp|oit.

In Response

by: Marcel from: Everywhere by China
May 24, 2014 8:25 PM
I guess you forgot the war-loving Chinese generals and their losses against Vietnam in 1979. Let's hope they have learned something.
By the way, unlike China with its western territories, including Tibet, the US hasn't colonized any country in recent history :)


by: Sarfaraz from: Karachi Pakistan
May 24, 2014 5:01 AM
Shame on these CIA hired goons, they shook hand with those (USA) who butchered them for decades and come to talk about peaceful China.

In Response

by: Adam9 from: Dong Nai, VN
May 25, 2014 7:46 AM
Sarfaraz,
Most of us here are against the communist regime in Vietnam but we love our country just like you do yours.
I am glad that China has a good relationship with Pakistan. I think the Chinese are glad too for they really need to have a nuclear Pakistan to counter a nuclear India. You obviously do not know this, China is anything but peaceful; they crossed the border into Vietnam and killed thousands of Vietnamese people in 1979. The communist government in China is is an oppressive one, as of the 15th of April 2014 there have been about 138 Tibetans burned themselves to dead in protesting this evil regime for stealing their land, destroying their culture and religion, and for killing of innocent people in Tibet.
We love American people but we do not necessary like their government, and I do understand why you hate the USA but you need to understand that they have to do what they have been doing in your country. They have been fighting a war against the extremists who have been trying to destroy them and their ways of live. And I think you need to be concerned too for these extremists are still trying hard to dominate this beloved country of yours, day and night.

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