News / Asia

Vietnam Mounts Artillery Drill Amid Tensions With China

Protesters hold up Vietnamese flags and anti-China banners in front of the Chinese embassy during a protest against the alleged invasion of Vietnamese territory by Chinese ships in disputed waters in Hanoi, June 12, 2011
Protesters hold up Vietnamese flags and anti-China banners in front of the Chinese embassy during a protest against the alleged invasion of Vietnamese territory by Chinese ships in disputed waters in Hanoi, June 12, 2011

Vietnam’s navy has conducted live-fire artillery drills off the country’s central coast following increased tensions with China over control in the South China Sea.  

The naval exercises began near an unoccupied island 40 kilometers from Vietnam’s central coast, in an escalation of tensions between Vietnam and China over disputed waters within the South China Sea.

Vietnamese government officials called the exercises “routine training," but Chinese state media, quoting academics, strongly criticized the drills as “a military show of force to defy Beijing.”

Competing claims

The growing tensions between Vietnam and China follow accusations by both nations of intrusions into each other’s territorial waters in the South China Sea, reported to be rich in oil and gas reserves.

Vietnam Mounts Artillery Drill Amid Tensions With China
Vietnam Mounts Artillery Drill Amid Tensions With China

Indonesia, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, as well as China and Vietnam, have competing claims over the sea area that is marked by several island archipelagos.

Carl Thayer, a political scientist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, says after Vietnam navy’s live-fire exercise, the question is now how China will react.

“China is ... being heavy handed to stop oil exploration activities in its waters," says Thayer. "And since its claims overlap it’s a question now how far is China going to push it because China has not responded to any of these issues in a conciliatory fashion.”

Also Monday, the Philippines government announced it is changing how it refers to an area in the South China Sea, where it has competing claims with China. A government spokesman says the waters surrounding the disputed Spratly Islands will now be called the West Philippine Sea.

Vietnam protests

Disputes in the South China Sea

1988, March - China sinks three Vietnamese vessels near the Spratly Islands, killing more than 70 Vietnamese.

1991 - China passes the Law on Territorial Waters and Their Contiguous Areas, laying out its claim to territorial sovereignty over the Paracel and Spratly Islands.

1995, 1999 - The Philippines discovers Chinese constructions on Mischief Reef, an island located in the Spratly Island chain. Despite efforts to resolve the dispute, more structures are found on the reef in 1999. Manila says the structures are a military installation while Beijing says they are for fishermen.

2002 - China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations sign a non-binding Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

2009, March – Chinese ships and fishermen harass a U.S. naval vessel in the South China Sea. According to the Pentagon, the Chinese vessels harassed the Impeccable, about 120 kilometers off Hainan island, south of China.

2011, May – Chinese vessels cut an exploration cable on a Vietnamese oil survey ship in waters, within Vietnam's exclusive economic zone.

2011, June - The Philippines complains that Chinese ships offloaded building materials and erected marker posts on reefs to the west of its island of Palawan, within Manila's exclusive economic zone.

The tensions with Vietnam have led to rare nationalist anti-Chinese protests, which Vietnamese authorities have allowed to take place outside the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi.

On Sunday, one man in the demonstration was seen with a banner reading, “China! Stop violating territorial water of Vietnam.”

One Hanoi demonstrator called for protests over what he termed an intrusion in Vietnam’s territorial waters and land. He told the crowd the Vietnamese have strongly protested China’s actions, accusing Beijing of killing fishermen and urging China to stop its slander.

Vietnam also called for international mediation into the dispute. China has said it wants to settle the issues on a bilateral basis. The United States has expressed concern over recent developments saying the displays of force could lead to heightened tensions.

Ripple effects

But Thayer says the conflict could also impact ties within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which has boosted links among East Asian nations such as China as well as with the U.S. and Russia.

“If the U.S. should take some action it’s just going to make China adopt an even more hardline. And I would suspect that it would even wreck the East Asian Summit because a majority of countries would take a line against China,” Thayer says.

The territorial disputes with China area expected to be a major issue during the ASEAN Regional Forum in July. The East Asia Summit, which Asian leaders and the U.S. president are expected to attend, is scheduled for November.

Discuss this story and others on VOA forums

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs