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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

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.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs