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

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora