South China Sea TINDERBOX: Vietnam blasts Beijing ‘ATTACK’ on boat

11-Mar-2019 Intellasia | Express | 6:00 AM Print This Post

VIETNAM claims a Chinese ship rammed and sunk one of its fishing boats in the disputed South China Sea.

The Hanoi government believes the boat was around 200 miles from the Da Nang near Discovery Reef in the Paracel island chain on Wednesday when it was hit by the Chinese vessel. Five Vietnamese fishermen were rescued as they clung to the sinking boat. It comes amid rising tension between China and Vietnam, with Hanoi claiming at least ten boats were attacked in the South China Sea in April and May last year.

Beijing has also been accused of ramping up its military presence in the South China Sea.

Admiral Philip Davidson, head of US Indo-Pacific Command, said American forces have observed more warships, fighter jets and bombers to the disputed waters last year.

China claims most of the South China Sea as theirs, even waters recognised as belonging to Vietnam under international law.

Greg Poling, a fellow with the Southeast Asia Programme at the centre for Strategic and International Studies, blasted China over this week’s incident.

He tweeted: “A Chinese ship reportedly rams and sinks a Vietnamese fishing boat in the Paracels (again).

“China’s neighbours have become so numb to the constant exercise of low-intensity violence and intimidation that it will warrant barely a mention in regional press.”

Meanwhile, 15 people were jailed in Vietnam for “causing public disorder” during anti-China protests.

Dozens of demonstrators have been imprisoned after demonstration in June 2018 turned violent.

The latest group were sentenced to between two and three and a half yeas in jail in the southern southern Binh Thuan province.

During last year’s unrest, police stations were attacked and security vehicles destroyed.

State-run Vietnam News Agency (VNA) said “the 15 defendants were shouting, instigating the crowd” and blocking traffic on a motorway for 15 hours.

“The jury board concluded that the defendants’ behaviour undermined security, order and social safety, so they need to be seriously punished,” VNA reported.


Category: Regional

Print This Post

Comments are closed.