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  • » 01/05/2016, 00.00

    VIETNAM - CHINA

    South China Sea: Vietnamese fishermen attacked by Chinese ships

    Paul N. Hung

    In 2015 tens of thousands of fishermen have been victims of the "red empire". Beijing’s navy threaten and sink vessels. Hanoi slams an "inhuman and aggressive" attitude. The last incident occurred on January 1. Beijing pursues "imperialist" policy in spite of the protests of Vietnam and the Philippines.

    Hanoi (AsiaNews) - "In 2015, in a single year, tens of thousands of fishing families have been victim 'red empire' attacked by para-military vessels flying the flag of China. They have threatened and used violence against Vietnamese fishermen. They have an inhuman and aggressive attitude within the territorial waters of Vietnam", denounce associations and groups of fishermen to AsiaNews. They complain of ongoing violence and abuse at the hands of ships, boats and vessels registered to Beijing, which ply the waters of the South China Sea.

    The Chinese government wants to control this disputed territory, - to the detriment of Vietnam, the Philippines and other nations in the region – for its exclusive economic and commercial use.

    The last case dates back to the first day of 2016, when the Vietnamese vessel NGQ TS 98459, based in Quang Ngãi province was hit and sunk by a vessel flying the Chinese flag. The incident occurred near the CO Island, less than 40 miles (70 km) from the Vietnamese coast.

    Mr. Huỳnh Thạch, captain and owner of the boat, said that "suddenly my vessel was struck and flanked by a ship flying China’s colors. The collision injured several fishermen who were swept into the sea. The captain added that the Chinese ship "hit our vessel a second time, to ensure that it would sink".

    “After the impact – he concludes- two people aboard the Chinese vessel we have looked at us and pointed to our boat as it sank”.

    Some local fishermen adding that today" people are afraid to sail the waters of the central provinces of Vietnam, "for fear of attacks from China. This is why we are appealing to the government in Hanoi, to protect our workers who operate across national borders”.

    At the center of the dispute is control of the Fiery Corss Reef, in the Spratly Islands, where last July China built an artificial atoll; an area of ​​2.74 km2, the result of a project that has cost the coffers of Beijing at least $ 12 billion.

    China also built on the atoll 9 port bridges, two helipads, 10 antennas for satellite communications and military radar stations. Finally, Beijing built an airstrip over 3 km long and 60 meters wide, which allows take-off and landing for strategic bombers over the Spratly, from which Beijing can control the airspace of the western Pacific.

    This test landing has infuriated Vietnam and the Philippines who have both lodged formal complaints. However, the grievances of Hanoi and Manila have had no practical effect to China, which pursues its "imperialist" policy in the region.

    The Chinese government claims most of the sea (almost 85 per cent), including sovereignty over the disputed Spratly and Paracel islands, in opposition to Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia. The Philippines – which is seeking a non-binding international ruling at the UN court – together with Vietnam, is increasingly worried about Beijing's imperialism in the South China and East China seas.

    For the United States, which backs the claims of Southeast Asia nations, Beijing's so-called 'cow tongue' line – which covers 80% of the 3.5 km2 - is both "illegal" and "irrational".

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    See also

    10/06/2015 PHILIPPINES – CHINA
    Manila releases Chinese fishermen arrested for poaching
    A Philippine court has ordered the release of nine fishermen sentenced to one year in prison. In May 2014 they had caught - in disputed waters - more than 550 giant turtles, a protected species in the archipelago. Their arrest further strained already tense relations between Manila and Beijing over disputed seas.

    24/06/2011 ASIA - UNITED STATES
    South China Sea: Washington's interests fueling tension
    The Philippines are turning to the United States to modernize their military. China launches a warning to the U.S., to stay "away" from the region. Chinese diplomacy seeks to calm tensions with Vietnam. But it is open war between the newspapers close to the communist governments of Beijing and Hanoi.

    10/06/2011 VIETNAM – CHINA
    As Vietnamese protest, Beijing accuses Hanoi of “serious violations” in South China Sea
    Vietnamese ships are accused of operating in Chinese-claimed waters, endangering the lives of fishermen. Beijing calls on its neighbour to stop invasive activities. Hanoi rejects the charges. On Facebook, ordinary Vietnamese attack China’s expansionism.

    08/04/2014 PHILIPPINES-CHINA-US
    South China Sea, Bishop of Manila: U.S. attitude worsens situation
    Bishop Broderick Pabillo, auxiliary of the capital, intervenes in territorial disputes and attacks the United States for "meddling" in the dispute. The prelate calls for a frank and open dialogue between China and the Philippines, to reach an agreement that averts the use of violence. Meanwhile, Indonesia strengthens its military against Chinese maneuvers.

    18/09/2013 PHILIPPINES - U.S. - CHINA
    South China Sea, Manila and Washington play at war, against Beijing
    For three weeks, the U.S. and Philippine navy ships will carry out military exercises in the area, at the center of a bitter territorial dispute . 2,300 Marines involved. The goal is to strengthen military ties in an anti – Chinese pact. Anticipation for visit of U.S. President Barack Obama.



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