BEIJING (Reuters) – More than 3,000 Chinese nationals have been evacuated from Vietnam, state news agency Xinhua said on Sunday, following deadly rioting that stemmed from an outpouring of rage over Chinese oil drilling in a disputed area of the South China Sea.
The violence was triggered by China’s positioning of a $1 billion oil rig in a part of the SouthChina Sea claimed by Hanoi, a move described by the United States as provocative. It is the worst breakdown in ties between the two Communist neighbours since a short border war in 1979.
The evacuation followed days of clashes between Vietnamese rioters and Chinese workers. Crowds of thousands massed as rioters turned against Chinese workers and Chinese-owned businesses, or those thought to be Chinese, smashing windows, gates and walls and torching vehicles and factories.
The trouble broke out in Vietnam’s south on Tuesday after nationalist rage boiled over during protests around industrial parks near Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon.