May 15 - Chinese ships prevent Vietnamese vessels from getting close to China's oil rig in the disputed waters of the South China Sea. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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Tension in the South China Sea. Hanoi and Beijing are in a standoff over a Chinese oil rig in these disputed waters.
The captain of a Vietnamese coast guard ship says they will concede nothing.
(SOUNDBITE) (Vietnamese) CAPTAIN OF A VIETNAMESE COAST GUARD FLAGSHIP, LIEUTENANT NGUYEN VAN HUNG SAYING:
"We are determined to fulfill our duty, which is to protect the sovereignty of Vietnam's special economic zones and territories, and prevent the violation of an outside force, especially Chinese forces."
The conflict has moved inland. Chinese owned business have come under attack with more than 20 killed in anti-Chinese riots. Now hundreds of Chinese nationals are seeking safety in Cambodia
A Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson is calling on Vietnam to restore order.
(SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESWOMAN HUA CHUNYING SAYING:
"In recent days, activities in Vietnam, including beating, smashing, looting and arson, that were targeted at Chinese companies and personnel, are directly related to Vietnam's indulgence of anti-Chinese forces and lawbreakers within its territory. We urge the Vietnamese government to earnestly take responsibility, conduct serious and thorough investigation, severely punish lawbreakers and compensate our losses."
This tension comes as General Martin Dempsey hosts his Chinese counterpart in Washington.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) GENERAL MARTIN DEMPSEY, SAYING:
"Issues afloat quickly becomes issues ashore as we have seen today in Vietnam."
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, an area rich in energy deposits.
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