World View: Thousands of Violent Vietnamese Protesters Torch Chinese Businesses

This morning's key headlines from

  • In a new escalation, China builds airstrip on Philippines reef
  • Thousands of violent Vietnamese protesters torch Chinese businesses
  • Cyberwar between China and Vietnam may be breaking out

In a new escalation, China builds airstrip on Philippines reef

Anti-Chinese protesters in Vietnam (AFP)
Anti-Chinese protesters in Vietnam (AFP)

China appears to be building an airstrip on the Mabini Reef, a region in the South China Sea claimed by the Philippines as part of its exclusive economic zone. This is the next step in China's "salami-slicing strategy" where it's militarily annexing regions in the South China Sea that have historically belonged to Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, often for centuries. China has indicated that it intends to annex the entire South China Sea, and Chinese media indicates that the purpose of the salami-slicing strategy is to annex the other countries' one small piece at a time, so that the U.S. will not be provoked into intervening. The Philippines government has protested the annexation of Philippines territory, but China's foreign minister scoffed at the protest, saying,

"Whatever construction China carries out on the reef is a matter entirely within the scope of China's sovereignty. I don't know what particular intentions the Philippines has in caring so much about this."

GMA News (Philippines) and Interaksyon

Thousands of violent Vietnamese protesters torch Chinese businesses

Thousands anti-Chinese protesters in Vietnam, furious over China's installation of an oil rig in waters in the South China Sea historically claimed by Vietnam, turned violent and torched a number of factories in a southern Vietnam industrial park. It was Chinese factories that were the nominal targets, but the angry mob also attacked properties owned Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan.

The protests followed last week's major naval confrontation between China and Vietnam. Vietnam sent a flotilla of about 30 ships to blockade a mobile rig that China was installing in waters within Vietnam's exclusive economic zone. China responded by sending 60 ships to break the blockade. Vietnam has released video of Chinese ships ramming the Vietnamese ships and spraying them with water cannons. ( "8-May-14 World View -- China rams Vietnamese ships in the South China Sea")

The Vietnamese protests earlier this week were non-violent, but violence was triggered when China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs was "requiring" Vietnam to concede its rights:

"The Xisha (Paracel) Islands are China's inherent territory. The Chinese company's normal operations fall within China's sovereignty. China ... has required the Vietnamese side to take all necessary measures to protect the safety and lawful rights of Chinese citizens and institutions in Vietnam."

The Vietnamese government has forbidden anti-Chinese protests in the past, for fear of antagonizing the Chinese. These growing protests are apparently approved by the government, and therefore represent a major policy change by the government. It seems likely that the Vietnamese are preparing for war with China, especially if China keeps annexing Vietnamese territory. Vietnam won a brief war with China in 1979. CNN and Vietnam Net and Xinhua

Cyberwar between China and Vietnam may be breaking out

After last week's naval confrontation between China and Vietnam, some news reports indicated that Vietnamese hackers were conducting DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks on a few Chinese web site. Vietnamese officials warned Vietnamese hackers to stop, because China, who have teams of hackers attacking the United States, would almost certain target Vietnamese sites in revenge. That's exactly what appears to have happened, as 102 Vietnamese web sites, most personal and small businesses, have now been attacked by Chinese hackers. So we'll have to see if this thing spirals into a cyberwar, or if it peters out. Vietnam Net and Thanh Nien News

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