24 March 2019
Protesters hold up anti-China placards at a rally in Hanoi. Photo: Reuters
Protesters hold up anti-China placards at a rally in Hanoi. Photo: Reuters

Vietnam braces for massive anti-China protests

Massive anti-Chinese protests are scheduled to be held across Vietnam this Sunday amid rising tensions over a territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea, Headline Daily reported Friday, citing Taiwan’s deputy minister of national defense Lee Hsiang-chou.

However, Vietnamese authorities pledged they will not allow the nationwide mass actions to take place, the newspaper said.

At least 21 people, including two Chinese nationals, were killed in violent anti-Chinese riots across Vietnam in the past few days.

Meanwhile, Chinese authorities denied reports that People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops in southwestern China’s Guangxi and Yunnan provinces which border Vietnam have been placed on level-3 combat readiness, according to a report on the PLA Daily’s official microblog. The army has a four-level combat readiness system, with level 1 as the highest.

Apple Daily reported the alleged alert raising on Friday, citing a source from the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy.

In Washington, visiting PLA army chief Fang Fenghui said China’s oil drilling rig in the South China Sea was within China’s territorial waters, and Beijing has no intention of abandoning the drilling despite attempts by Vietnam to “disrupt” the operation, China News Service reported Friday.

Vice President Joe Biden told the visiting general that Beijing’s actions in the maritime disputes were “dangerous and provocative” and should be stopped immediately, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed US official. Biden also blamed China for raising Sino-US tensions.

Meanwhile, the US Seventh Fleet will increase ship visits to Vietnam as part of efforts to strengthen naval ties with the country, Reuters said. Currently, US navy vessels are only allowed to dock in Vietnam once in a year.

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