Vietnam police disperse protest at Chinese embassy over South China Sea standoff

HANOI (Reuters) – Vietnamese police on Tuesday broke up a short protest exterior the Chinese embassy in Hanoi in opposition to Beijing’s maritime survey of an offshore block within the southeast Asian nation’s unique financial zone (EEZ), a Reuters witness mentioned.

Anti-China protesters maintain placards throughout an indication in entrance of the Chinese embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam August 6, 2019. REUTERS/Kham

Vietnamese and Chinese ships have been in a weeks-long standoff close to the oil block, the newest confrontation in waters which are a possible world flashpoint because the United States challenges China’s sweeping maritime claims.

Protests within the authoritarian and Communist-ruled Southeast Asian nation are uncommon, and police dispersed the short-lived demonstration of about 10 activists of the “No-U” group inside minutes.

“We are doing this in front of the Chinese embassy to show our anger to the world,” Le Hoang, one of many protesters, informed Reuters.

Vietnam accuses Chinese survey vessel Haiyang Dizhi eight and its escorts of unlawful actions within the nation’s unique financial zone and continental shelf, and has demanded that China withdraw all its ships.

Last week, a Vietnamese fishermen’s group urged the federal government to take stronger measures to take away the ships, saying they have been disrupting fishing actions.

“I really hope that Vietnam will launch a lawsuit in the international court against China’s violations and its illegal nine-dash line,” Hoang added.

The “No-U” group takes its identify from the U-shaped “nine-dash line” marking China’s claims in an unlimited expanse of the South China Sea, together with giant swathes of Vietnam’s continental shelf, the place it has awarded oil concessions.

The Haiyang Dizhi eight, operated by the China Geological Survey, and a number of other Chinese Coast Guard ships have been nonetheless in Vietnam’s EEZ as just lately as Monday, the Washington-based Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS) mentioned, utilizing information from maritime analytics firm Winward.

Last week, Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh warned about an more and more difficult scenario at sea, throughout a go to to Vietnam’s foremost strategic naval base within the central port metropolis of Cam Ranh, state media mentioned.

Meeting China’s high diplomat Wang Yi in Bangkok final week, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh mentioned the 2 sides wanted to keep up peace and stability and higher handle maritime disputes, Vietnam mentioned in a press release.

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized Chinese “coercion” within the disputed South China Sea, whereas Wang Yi mentioned maritime issues involving Vietnam shouldn’t intervene with two-way ties.

Reporting by James Pearson; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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