The Epoch Times has compiled a series of images from Chinese social media which individuals online are claiming to be images of military equipment near the Vietnamese border, including “troops, tanks, trucks, artillery, and armored personnel carriers of China’s military.”
The report surfaces as the international community becomes increasingly concerned that tensions are rising over territorial disputes between the two nations.
The images being uploaded to social media, particularly Chinese social media platform Weibo, from the Vietnamese border, the report notes, show “Chinese troops in full combat gear heading to the local train station in Chongzuo.” Some posted on social media sites that they had seen troops in the train station, while others uploaded images that appeared to be closer to the countryside. The Epoch Times notes that most images appear to have been posted on the Internet on Saturday.
The images do not appear to have been independently corroborated by other news outlets, nor has Chinese news outlet Xinhua reported on any troop movements near the border. Xinhua is reporting, however, that the Chinese government has sent a fleet of ships to evacuate Chinese citizens from Vietnam and that 3,553 individuals had been evacuated on Monday.
The evacuation follows a series of violent protests against the Chinese after China placed a $1 billion oil rig in the South China Sea in water that Vietnam claims as its own territory. The Agence-France Presse reported Monday that 4,000 Chinese citizens await evacuation in Vietnam. The Chinese government has also warned its citizens not to travel to Vietnam, and tensions between the two-governments currently stand at an all-time high.
While the sightings of Chinese troops heading to the Vietnamese border have not been corroborated independently, the military movement would represent a new low for diplomacy between China and Vietnam. The United States has condemned the initial act of placing the oil rig near Vietnam as “provocative,” and Secretary of State John Kerry urged both China and Vietnam to approach the situation peacefully and “in accordance with international law.”
The Chinese government has blamed the United States for tensions with both Vietnam and other neighbors in the East and South China Seas, particularly Japan and the Philippines. People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Fang Fenghui, the head of Chinese armed forces, said in Washington, D.C., that the United States had a role in exacerbating tensions and that China was unprepared to “lose an inch” of its territory.
View the images from Weibo via The Epoch Times here.