Photo by

China Attacks Vietnamese Fishing Vessel, Tensions Arise

Tensions between neighbors China and Vietnam quickly escalated during the previous weeks over claims on the disputed waters off Vietnam’s coast. China’s illegal installation of an oil rig within Hoang Sa Islands worsened diplomatic and economic relationship between the two countries to its worst point in decades.

The territories are claimed by both China and Vietnam. Positioning the rig prompted such reaction from neighbors as such move demonstrates how China intends to establish control of the waters without consulting other claimants. The rig which stands as tall as a 40-story building, now settles 240 km (150 miles) off Vietnam’s coast and 330 km (206 miles) from the southern coast of China’s Hainan island.

China’s refusal to move the rig sparked anti-China riots in Vietnam earlier in May, killing at least four people, injured around a hundred, and left several factories burnt. China had since then evacuated several thousands of workers out of Vietnam.

In the latest incident, a Chinese ship rammed and sank a Vietnamese fishing vessel about 17 nautical miles southwest of the oil rig on the afternoon of May 26. All 10 Vietnamese fishermen aboard the boat were rescued by local boats sailing nearby. Two were reportedly injured during the incident.

Earlier the collision, the Vietnamese fishing boat was encircled by 40 Chinese fishing boats until one of them rammed it causing it to sink. At the time of the crash, the Vietnamese boat driven by captain Dang Van Nhan, was fishing in its traditional fishery off the coast of Da Nang, some 17 nautical miles from the area where China’s Haiyang Shiyou-981 oil rig was illegally deployed.

Though the Chinese have acknowledged that they used water cannons to keep the Vietnamese away from the rig, they repeatedly blame Vietnam for the incident, claiming that the latter’s boat was harassing and colliding with their Chinese fishing boat.

China claims about 90 percent of the South China Sea. Its neighbors Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims to parts of the potentially energy-rich waters. Its moves to put up installations in the disputed territories have upset several neighboring countries, especially the Philippines which has China to a United Nations tribunal. Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung last week announced that his government is likewise considering legal moves against China following the deployment of the rig. Such pronouncement drew an angry response from China.


Photo by

Photo by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *