“Anti-China riots in Vietnam destroy ties”

Phnom Penh – Anti-China riots in Vietnam earlier this month have badly damaged ties between the two neighbors and spooked foreign investors, Cambodian analysts said.

“The riots have been the worst breakdown in China-Vietnam relations since a brief border clash in 1979,” Sok Touch, deputy director-general of the International Relations Institute, an arm of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

“The riots have frightened foreign investors, particularly Chinese ones,” he said, adding that Vietnam would be no longer a safe place for Chinese investors.

Following Vietnam’s intensive harassment of the normal drilling by the China Oilfield Services Limited in the waters of China’s Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, anti-China protests broke out about two weeks ago in some Vietnamese cities and then escalated into looting and arsons targeting Chinese factories and nationals.

The violence left at least two Chinese dead and more than 100 others injured. Firms from countries like Singapore, Japan and South Korea in Vietnam were also affected.

Thousands of Chinese businessmen and tourists fled Vietnam to their homeland or other countries like Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore for their safety.

Sok Touch, who is also president of Khemarak University, said the anti-China protests were undoubtedly acquiesced by the Vietnamese government in order to show its dissatisfaction with Beijing over oil drilling, but the protests turned uncontrollably violent as a large number of people joined in the looting spree.

Chea Vannath, an independent researcher and former president of the Center for Social Development, shared Sok Touch’s view, saying the anti-China riots destroyed diplomatic, trade and investment ties between the two countries.

She said the Vietnamese should split politics from businesses and should not vent their anger on Chinese business people, who have invested and created jobs for them.

“I think that Vietnam has to rebuild confidence for both Chinese and foreign investors and it has to guarantee that such anti-investor acts will never happen again in the future,” she said.

Vietnam should sit down with China to resolve their maritime dispute peacefully for the sake of the two countries and peoples, Chea Vannath said. Source: Xinhua