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

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    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.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.