MANILA, Philippines – China accused Vietnam on Tuesday, June 24, of provoking Chinese government ships after the Southeast Asian country said the Asian giant rammed its vessel again near Beijing’s oil rig in the South China Sea.
In a media briefing in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that in the morning of Monday, June 23, Vietnam “organized vessels on the site to once again break through the cordoned-off area where Chinese company operates.”
“One of the towboats took the first move to ram into Chinese government vessels and caused damage to Chinese ships,” Hua said.
“China once again urges the Vietnamese side to immediately stop any form of disruptions and damages to China’s operation, pull out all vessels and personnel from the scene and restore tranquility to the sea at the earliest possible date,” she added.
Vietnam, on the other hand, on Tuesday claimed that two Chinese ships “deliberately rammed and seriously damaged” a Vietnamese vessel.
Vietnam’s video as proof
In a report, state-run Vietnam News noted that at 9:30 am on Monday, Chinese tugboats 284 and 285, and maritime patrol ship no. 11 “blocked Vietnamese fishing surveillance ship KN-951 and steadied it on one side.” This move allowed Xinhai 285, a tugboat, “to ram the other side, seriously damaging the ship,” the news outlet reported.
Vietnam News pointed out that a Chinese fleet – composed of “about 44 coast guard ships, 15 cargo ships, 19 tugboats, 35 fishing vessels, and 5 battleships” – continues to defend China’s drilling rig, Haiyang Shiyou-981.
“The action continued China’s flagrant violation of international law in placing an oil rig in Vietnamese seas and preventing the nation’s vessels from engaging in their normal activities,” Vietnam News said.
The Wall Street Journal said VTV, Vietnam’s state-run television station, uploaded a Youtube video on the latest incident.
The video showed “a Chinese vessel crashing into a much-smaller Vietnamese boat, crushing parts of it,” the Wall Street Journal reported. (Watch the video below)
More than 1,400 times?
This is the latest incident involving Vietnam and China after a Chinese company began drilling near the disputed Paracel (Xisha) Islands in the South China Sea, which Hanoi calls the East Sea.
China asserts that Vietnam has always provoked it first, and in fact has rammed its ships more than 1,400 times in the disputed waters.
In an interview with Rappler, Vietnamese Ambassador to the Philippines Truong Trieu Duong said his country is “enraged” and “very angry” at China over the oil rig.
Duong urged the Philippines, another country that claims parts of the South China Sea, to “stand united” with Vietnam in facing China. (Watch more in the video below)
“We do not fear anything. We would be ready to encounter what comes next,” the ambassador said. – Rappler.com