News / Asia

    Top China Diplomat Travels to Vietnam for Talks to Ease Tensions

    Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, left, is greeted by a hotel executive as he arrives in Hanoi, Vietnam, June 17, 2014.
    Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, left, is greeted by a hotel executive as he arrives in Hanoi, Vietnam, June 17, 2014.
    Reuters
    China's top diplomat arrived in Vietnam Tuesday in a sign the two countries want to ease tensions over China's deployment of an oil rig in the disputed South China Sea, but experts said there were many obstacles to healing the ruptured relationship.
     
    The visit by State Councilor Yang Jiechi, who outranks the foreign minister, will be the highest level direct contact between Beijing and Hanoi since a Chinese state oil company parked the rig in waters claimed by both countries on May 2.
     
    Yang would attend an annual meeting on bilateral cooperation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing. Vietnamese officials said Yang would meet Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung as well as the head of the country's ruling communist party.
     
    “We hope that Vietnam keeps its eye on the broader picture, meets China halfway and appropriately resolves the present situation,” Hua said, without directly mentioning the rig.
     
    Vietnam's Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said the rig would be discussed.

    “As we have affirmed many times, Vietnam has always been patient to look for dialogue with China to peacefully resolve the tension in the East Sea,” Binh said, referring to the South China Sea, in an AP report.

    “This meeting, therefore, will surely be a channel and an event where the two sides can discuss the issue to find solutions to the current tension," Binh added.

    Ties between the two neighbors have been largely frozen since early May, with both sides constantly accusing the other of inflaming the situation. Dozens of Vietnamese and Chinese coastguard and fishing vessels have repeatedly squared off around the rig, resulting in a number of collisions.
     
    Olive branch

    Ni Lexiong, a naval expert at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law, said he believed China was extending an olive branch to Vietnam.
     
    “Of course our country wants to avoid conflict, but can this visit really solve all of the issues?” Ni said. “It's difficult to say to what extent there will be resolutions.”
     
    “Vietnam in this case went too far. It's up to them to choose not to incite conflict,” he added.

    Vietnam’s former consul general to Guangzhou, China, told VOA’s Vietnamese Service that Beijing is seeking compromise through Yang’s visit.

    “If it sees sense after being strongly opposed by Vietnamese people, and being criticized by the world community, it would be better to withdraw the drilling platform," said Duong Danh Dy. "It is up to them to decide. China has recently moved the rig and it appears that China is prepared for gradual de-escalation.”
     
    The Haiyang Shiyou 981 rig is drilling between the Paracel Islands, which are occupied by China, and the Vietnamese coast.
     
    Vietnam has said the rig is in its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone and on its continental shelf, while China says it is operating within its waters.
     
    The rig's deployment triggered anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam last month in which four people were killed during a rampage of destruction and looting of factories believed to be owned by Chinese companies. Many of the factories were Taiwanese-owned.
     
    China has demanded Vietnam provide compensation for damage caused in the riots and punish those responsible.
     
    Vietnam detained several hundred people in the aftermath of the violence. Around a dozen people have been tried and given jail terms of up to three years.
     
    Prime Minister Dung last month said his government was considering taking legal action against China following deployment of the rig. That drew an angry response from Beijing.
     
    China has said the rig will explore in the area until mid-August.
     
    Beijing claims about 90 percent of the South China Sea, but parts of the potentially energy-rich waters are also subject to claims by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

    VOA’s Vietnamese Service contributed to this report.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: So So
    June 18, 2014 7:34 AM
    Monroe Doctrine makes good sense.

    by: So So
    June 18, 2014 7:31 AM
    ... If gets pushed too hard VN may have to become one. A democratic VN partner of the TPP and with strong tie militarily to the US and its allies inn the region will make VN prosperous and safe.

    by: So So from: US
    June 18, 2014 7:03 AM
    A military ally of the US in the backyard of China house is not a good thing.
    If VN gets pushed too hard it may have to become one or something close to it.

    by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
    June 17, 2014 9:43 PM
    Taiwan published the nine dash line early as 1947! Democratic Taiwan still claims the nine dash line!
    PRC formally announced the sovereignty over xisha, nansha islands in 1958, and then viet PM followed by recognizing it the same year!
    Util 1974, viet text books were still use the Chinese names for xisha nansha islands!
    Viet is an evil, filthy liar and thief! Viet must be punished!
    In Response

    by: Henry Dinh from: USA
    June 17, 2014 11:46 PM
    China is the biggest liar of all ! and the filthy Chinese such as Huang should be so shameful of his own country as to renounce his citizenship as many righteous Chinese friends of mine have done. The more Huang talks, the more it shows his ignorance. Vietnam has always owned these islands long before the 5th century. In 1974, South Vietnam was the official owner of these islands. Show me a piece of paper that Nguyen Van Thieu agreed with Red commies on these islands!!!

    China should be kicked in the butt for being so dumb!
    In Response

    by: Spy from: Canada
    June 17, 2014 11:08 PM
    Try not to get caught. Engineer and thug sent to Canada to learn from the Canadian Navy, ...

    by: NG from: Canada
    June 17, 2014 7:50 PM
    Please note that Vietnam claimed almost all South China Sea as its own territory, and extracted and is extracting huge amounts of oil and gas from disputed South China Sea. China didn't get even one drop of oil from South China Sea so far. Plus the China oil rig is with China side in terms of South China Sea boundary (9-dash line) recognized by Vietnam in written form in 1950-1970s.

    by: NG from: Canada
    June 17, 2014 7:43 PM
    Please remember KMT government (Taiwan), a US ally, set up 9-dash line in 1940s, and Vietnam recognized the boundary in South China Sea between China and Vietnam in written form in 1950s-1970s. The current oil rig of China is within China in terms of Vietnam-recognized boundary in 1950-1970s.

    Please also remember that it is Vietnam who occupied most South China Sea islands and extracted (is extracting) huge amounts of gas and oil from South China Sea , NOT China, China didn’t get one drop of oil from South China sea so far. So it is Vietnam who bully China, a small dog is biting a big dog.
    Calm down before you only blame China and before your prejudice. These Asian countries should talk and stop provocative actions, e.g. Vietnam should stop extracting gas and oil from disputed South China Sea in order to get China back to the Table. Vietnam, the aggressive small dog, should not bully China, the big dog, much if Vietnam really want to solve South China Sea issues.

    Why some guys here were so easily cheated by Vietnam? Ignorance and prejudice without basic knowledge of South China Sea may be one of the reasons.

    by: meanbill from: USA
    June 17, 2014 12:01 PM
    AS ALWAYS? -- China wants to settle all disputes by peaceful dialog, and sit down and drink tea together, and talk? -- (REMEMBER?) -- there isn't a (good lawyer) on this earth, that has ever said that China's (nine dash line) violated any "Law of the Sea" or any other laws anywhere? -- (But, Vietnam might convince China to share?)

    by: So So from: US
    June 17, 2014 10:01 AM
    Something new, Communist China is susceptible to world opinions, (or she is pretending, may be?)
    In Response

    by: Ian from: USA
    June 17, 2014 11:33 AM
    it is just a Chinese ploy in the stealing and establishing total ownership of the sea in the middle of those South-East Asian countries

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.