News / Asia

    China’s South China Sea Strategy Unmoved by Vietnam Protests

    China’s South China Sea Strategy Unmoved by Vietnam Protestsi
    X
    Rebecca Valli
    May 16, 2014 5:37 PM
    Territorial disputes between China and Vietnam have triggered deadly anti-China protests in Vietnam this week. Thousands of Vietnamese rioted against an oil rig China placed in waters that Vietnam considers its own. On Friday, protests took place in the Philippines, which is also entangled in territorial disputes with Beijing. Rebecca Valli in Hong Kong looks at how China is dealing with the issue, and if there are signs Beijing is considering changing its stance.
    China’s South China Sea Strategy Unmoved by Vietnam Protests
    Territorial disputes between China and Vietnam have triggered deadly anti-China protests in Vietnam this week. Thousands of Vietnamese rioted against an oil rig China placed in waters that Vietnam considers its own. On Friday, protests took place in the Philippines, which is also entangled in territorial disputes with Beijing.

    China’s move to station the oil rig in waters contested by Hanoi was followed first by skirmishes at sea. Then the confrontation moved inland as Vietnamese protested by the thousands in cities across the country and set fire to businesses believed to be Chinese-owned.
     
    China's Commerce Ministry Friday urged Hanoi to punish the lawbreakers.

    “The incident has forced our companies to suspend operation and caused huge economic losses for them. China strongly condemns it," he said.

    Nicholas Thomas is associate professor at the department of Asian and International Studies at City University of Hong Kong.

    "You've seen a reaction, an awareness of this on the Chinese social media, but it is not at the level that China has to do something because we are under threat in any way, this is purely been portrayed as an issue that Vietnam has to deal with, and anything that happens is Vietnam's fault,” he said.

    China claims sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, a hub of fishing lanes with rich deposits of oil and gas. But Beijing's claims clash with those of many countries in the region, including the Philippines.
     
    Vietnam has a strong case under international law to the contested territory, but this week’s violence poses risks for Hanoi, says Jonathan London, a professor of Vietnamese studies in Hong Kong.

    “To have this sort of development, it's unfortunate, it's a distraction," he said. "The clearer message that Hanoi can deliver, the clearer and stronger the case will be for their country. Otherwise it will just be self-defeating behavior in the face of an extremely powerful, aggressive neighbor.”

    Analysts believe the riots will not change China's strategy of taking concrete actions to solidify its claims in the South China Sea, and Chinese officials have underscored such perception.

    Both China's Foreign Ministry spokesman and a top official from China's military stressed China's “unflinching” resolution to conduct operation in its own territory.

    "This is an issue because China is trying to portray itself as a peaceful rising power, it's trying to say it’s not a threat to the region and yet it undertakes actions against the Philippines and also against Vietnam,” he said.

    On Friday, anti-Chinese protests spread to the Philippines where more than 100 Philippine and Vietnamese demonstrators picketed the Chinese consulate. They called for the two governments to unite against what they perceive as Beijing's incursions in the South China Sea

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: We just fade away from: US
    May 16, 2014 10:44 PM
    In my opinion, this is a gain for the Vietcong in public opinion front domestically and internationally.
    In 1954, the Viet Minh hijacked an independence celebration rally in the city Hanoi consisting of a couple thousands of mostly local government officials. Artfully, they turned this peaceful rally into a highly excited mob; they then led the mob to the administration buildings compound of the city and took over the government. So I think their offspring today, the Vietcong can give the Chicom lessons in this art too.
    Just a couple of weeks ago, the situation of the South China Sea dispute reached a pivotal point after an offer for a summit between the heads of the two countries had been turned down by the Chicom, the Vietcong had no choice but to act and did in the world public opinion front. The arrogant Chicom are no match for them in this art either; for the Vietcong are the master of this as well, they know how to push things, when to push and how far. Orderly and controlled demonstrations and rallies can go on for weeks and not be getting much attention but disorderly and violent riots do in just a matter of days. Just this last weekend, the words were getting out for allowing factory workers and intellectuals alike to show their patriotism by taking part in rallies and demonstrations in protesting the Chicom, to be organized in cities and industrial parks throughout the country. The following day and the next several days, peaceful rallies and demonstrations started in a couple dozens of cities throughout the country often under the watchful eyes of the secret police. Then somehow some demonstration processions were infiltrated and hijacked by “bad elements.” Orderly demonstrations turned into riots, properties got destroyed and people got hurt and even killed. After several days of chaos and violence, public opinions in the world, especially in the US, had reached the point of “deeply concerned;” objectives achieved, the government of Vietnam turned off the mobs and started fixing things up, calling for calm, putting out fires; "bad elements" were arrested or soon will be, law and order were restored, ...
    So after all this, a big picture the world is seeing now is the one that shows: A big bully China, thousands and thousands of the obviously upset (but justifiable so) patriotic people in this (not long ago war-torn) small country; and this good old peace loving government with good judgments and “restraint” of Vietnam. Get the picture?
    In Response

    by: We just fade away
    May 17, 2014 5:14 PM
    I agree with you, Mark.
    I was not blaming them for doing it, just that they are good at it. Thanks!
    In Response

    by: Mark from: Virginia
    May 17, 2014 8:46 AM
    You own a tract of property, your neighbor is a big, burly intimidating man who does not care whose grass (or toes) he steps on. Your neighbor builds a shed on your side of the property line, and threatens to punch your face if you complain about it. What do you do about it? What if the police were on his side? What if he can call a high-powered lawyer to defend him in court?
    That is China and Vietnam. What do you expect the Vietnamese to do when a larger, threatening and menacing country like China build something they consider on their territory when it clearly falls into Vietnam's, and China refuses to recognize anyone's territorial claims but their own?
    Right or wrong, the riots did bring world attention to the region.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora