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Amid riots, China blames Vietnam over disputed territory rift

Published time: May 16, 2014 03:22
Protesters wave flags and hold placards on a street outside a factory building in Binh Duong on May 14, 2014, as anti-China protesters set more than a dozen factories on fire in Vietnam. (AFP Photo / VNExpress)

Protesters wave flags and hold placards on a street outside a factory building in Binh Duong on May 14, 2014, as anti-China protesters set more than a dozen factories on fire in Vietnam. (AFP Photo / VNExpress)

A top Chinese general defended Thursday the deployment of an oil rig in disputed waters of the South China Sea, which has set off deadly protests in Vietnam. The general said Hanoi was to blame, and that China must not “lose an inch” of territory.

The oil rig, placed on May 2 in the middle of an area of the South China Sea disputed with Hanoi, has set off anti-China riots in Vietnam in recent days. As many as 21 people have died and 100 others have been injured in attacks on factories thought to have Chinese owners.

Visiting Washington, General Fang Fenghui also blamed the Obama administration’s “pivot” to Asia as a reason for heightened tensions in the region. He said some Asian nations have used the strategic shift to create mischief in the South and East China Seas.

US Vice President Joe Biden told Fang that Beijing’s actions in the disputes are “dangerous and provocative,” Reuters reported.

Fang, chief of general staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, said the controversial oil rig is in China’s territorial waters near the Paracel Islands, adding that Beijing will protect its holdings.

Speaking alongside the top US military officer, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey, Fang said that Vietnam started trouble by sending ships to “disrupt” Chinese drilling operations.

"I think it's quite clear...who is conducting normal activity and who is disrupting it," Fang said, according to Reuters.

As China’s military actions have become increasingly bold in the region, Vietnam has sought new military relationships in recent years, including with both Russia and the United States.

China has several disputes in South China Sea, which is rich in oil and gas resources. In addition to Vietnam, China faces rival territorial claims from Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines, which recently gave the US more access to naval bases near the disputed Spratly Islands.

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In the East China Sea, China has long feuded with Japan over island holdings.

Despite the array of opposition, Fang said Thursday that China is not afraid to defend its territories.

"Territory which has passed down by our ancestors into the hands of our generation - we cannot afford to lose an inch," he said.

For his part, Dempsey wouldn’t directly criticize China on Thursday, though he did say he was concerned about growing regional tensions.

"We spoke about the fact that the use of military assets to resolve disputes is provocative and it does increase risk,” Dempsey said.

"We had a rich discussion about what exactly is the status quo and who has been seeking to change it.”

Comments (31)


Armando Rivera-Carretero 18.05.2014 14:31

The islands do seem to be far off from the China mainland. In any events so are the Falklands from England. Vietnam and China better get on with an agreement on this issue or they'll be playing right into the hands of the USA.


George Washington 17.05.2014 04:54

[quote name='CHINA LOVER' time='16.05.2014 22:12']Russia +china should station troops+nuclear missiles and weapons in countries all around the USA and aimed at the USA for their new pivot to USA policy.

Thi s will cause the USA government to get nervous and recall back all its troops all over the world to defend the USA mainland

Th e end result....????

It will never happen bc we wont let it ! China is destroying the world with their pollution and disregard for the Mother Earth. China wouldn't be China if we USA didn't liberate you from Japan. What a mistake that's turning out to be..for the world.


Linh Tran Phuong 17.05.2014 00:57

Btw Vietnam does not have short term memory, especially the bloodshed battle over paracels in 1974 & China's invasion of her border in 1979, few years after US fully withrew their military forces. The dear neighbor went on to invade Spratlys' Gac Ma island in 1988. Vietnam does not over-react on this current Spratlys rig but is making truths known & protecting rights over her territory.

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