Sunday, July 8, 2012

Continuing Tensions Over the South China Sea

It's been awhile since I posted about the tensions between China and its neighbors over the South China Sea, generally, and more particularly between the Philippines and China. However, the tensions are still there, and perhaps growing. The Telegraph reports:
Around 200 protesters marched through the centre of Hanoi on Sunday waving banners and chanting "Paracels -Vietnam, Spratlys-Vietnam".

Although security forces blocked the demonstration when it came within 300 feet of the Chinese embassy, the fact that the protest was allowed to go ahead in authoritarian Vietnam indicates how relations between Hanoi and Beijing have deteriorated dramatically in recent weeks.

Last month, Hanoi passed legislation designating both the Paracels and Spratlys as part of Vietnam. Beijing responded by allowing the state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation to call for bids to explore for oil in the disputed waters, a decision which prompted a smaller anti-China rally in Hanoi last Sunday.

China claims much of the oil and natural gas-rich South China Sea as its own, and is now involved in territorial disputes over the waters with a number of its neighbours in southeast Asia. Beijing's efforts to assert its dominance over the South China Sea is believed to be behind Washington's decision to move 60 per cent of its navy to the Asia-Pacific region by 2020.

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