BEIJING May 16 China's commerce minister will
meet his Vietnamese counterpart on Friday to discuss deadly
anti-Chinese riots that have taken a toll of the Asian giant's
business interests in the Southeast Asian nation, a Chinese
The discussions mark some of the highest-level contacts
between China and Vietnam since the riots began this week, as
the two countries contend with one of their worst breakdowns in
ties since fighting a short border war in 1979.
The two leaders will meet at a conference of trade ministers
in the coastal city of Qingdao, Chinese Commerce Ministry
spokesman Shen Danyang told a news briefing.
China demands that Vietnam take steps to ensure the safety
of Chinese people and businesses, as well as guard their
property, he said.
"There have already been deaths of Chinese citizens and more
than 90 people were injured," Shen added.
"It's expected that the number of casualties will increase
even further. This has resulted in businesses halting work and
huge property losses. China strongly condemns this."
The riots erupted after China towed an oil rig into waters
claimed by both states. Factories perceived to be Chinese-owned
have been set on fire. Up to 21 people have been killed and a
huge foreign steel project has been set ablaze.
On Thursday, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung urged
police and state and local authorities to restore order and
ensure the safety of people and property in the affected areas.
China has repeatedly condemned the riots, accusing the
Vietnamese government of turning a blind eye to looting and
Vietnam's planning and investment ministry blamed the
clashes on "extremists" and warned they could hurt the country's
(Reporting by Megha Rajagopalan and Wang Lan; Editing by