14-Jun-11 World View — Vietnam Escalates South China Sea Dispute With China

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com.

Vietnam escalates South China Sea dispute with China

Anti-China protesters in front of the Chinese embassy in Hanoi (AFP)
Anti-China protesters in front of the Chinese embassy in Hanoi (AFP)

Vietnam’s navy has conducted live-fire artillery drills off the country’s central coast, in a challenge to China’s claims of sovereignty over almost all of the South China Sea. Vietnamese government officials called the exercises “routine training,” but Chinese state media, quoting academics, strongly criticized the drills as “a military show of force to defy Beijing.” This is an escalation because it’s the first time that military vessels have been brought into the conflict. VOA

Vietnam reduces imports of China’s fruits and vegetables

Vietnamese consumers are turning their backs on fresh fruits and vegetables from China, giving quality issues, food safety concerns and cost as reasons. For example, Chinese fruits accounted for 30% of imported fruits sold at the market six years ago. That share has shrunk to less than 10% in May 2011. FruitNet

Va. Senator Jim Webb urges U.S. action in South China Sea dispute

Virginia Democratic Sen. Jim Webb said Monday that the U.S. should take action to make clear it opposes use of force by China in asserting its territorial claims in the South China Sea. AP

Riot police rush to quell migrant worker riot in southern China

Riot police poured into a southern Chinese factory town crowded with migrant workers on Monday to quell a riot by 1,000 protesters. Hong Kong television showed crowds of workers, many from the rural southwestern province of Sichuan running through the streets of Zengcheng in Guangdong province over the weekend. The rioters smashed windows, set fire to government buildings and overturned police vehicles. China has tens of thousands of “mass incidents” every year, any one of which would be world news if it occurred in the U.S. Reuters

Germany Gives Diplomatic Recognition to Libyan Rebels

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle (L) shakes hands with rebel council members in Benghazi (Reuters)
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle (L) shakes hands with rebel council members in Benghazi (Reuters)

Germany on Monday officially recognized Libya’s rebel council as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Germany joins several other nations in recognizing the rebel Transitional National Council including France, Italy, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The Obama administration is supporting the rebel cause but has stopped short of recognition. VOA

Who tried to kill Yemen’s president Saleh?

An FBI forensics team arrived in Sanaa, Yemen’s capital, last week to investigate the attempted assassination of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is now convalescing in Saudi Arabia. Evidence indicates that the explosion was from a bomb planted inside the mosque where Saleh was praying, not by a mortar shell or rocket, as was initially reported. This indicates that someone in Saleh’s inner circle was the perpetrator. Suspicion is falling on Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, who publicly defected from the Saleh regime three days after snipers gunned down peaceful protesters in Sanaa, killing more than 50 people. Ali Mohsen is the country’s most powerful military leader and a distant cousin of Saleh. Foreign Policy

Greece looks increasingly likely to default

S&P has further lowered Greece’s debt rating three notches, making it the lowest rated country in the world, putting it below Ecuador, Jamaica, Pakistan and Grenada. S&P said that European policymakers looked increasingly likely to impose some kind of restructuring of Greek debt, and that, “In our view, any such transactions would likely be on terms less favorable than the debt being refinanced, which we, in turn, would view as a de facto default according to Standard & Poor’s published criteria.” However, enormous pressure is increasing on European officials to bail out Greece and avoid default by the end of June. However, German politicians are opposing any bailout of Greece that doesn’t impose some sort of default. The ECB has predicted that any kind of default would be disastrous for everyone. Reuters and Bloomberg

US reacts to Lebanon’s new government, dominated by Hizbollah

Lebanon announced a new government with a 30-member cabinet dominated by Hizbollah and its allies. Hizbollah is considered to be a terrorist group by many in the West. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, “We’ll judge it by its actions. What’s important in our mind is that the new Lebanese government abides by the Lebanese constitution, that it renounces violence, including efforts to exact retribution against former government officials, and lives up to all its international obligations.” AFP


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