China has accused Vietnam of abetting riots that have killed several Chinese and demanded Hanoi take action to ensure the safety of mainlanders.
Beijing believes Vietnamese authorities have been behind the “thrashing, burning and looting” of Chinese companies, Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Thursday.
“We are deeply shocked,” she said.
Hua said Chinese officials are traveling to specific locations of violent attacks to get more details of the casualty numbers.
The rioting, sparked by anti-Chinese anger over Beijing’s refusal to remove an oil drilling rig from disputed waters in the South China Sea, has spread from the south to the central part of the country.
At least 21 people were killed in the central province of Ha Tinh, including 16 Chinese and five Vietnamese, media reports said, citing a local doctor.
Violent clashes between Vietnamese and Chinese workers at a Taiwanese steel mill in a central province left one Chinese dead and several dozen injured Wednesday.
More than 90 percent of mainland and Taiwanese businesses in nearby industrial parks have been affected and most Taiwanese companies in the area have been burned, looted and vandalized, Miu Renlai, chairman of the China Business Association in Ho Chi Minh City, said.
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