There has been a dangerous breakdown in relations between Vietnam and China which has lead to riots in Vietnam. Anti-China riots in Vietnam have killed people as workers flee reported Bloomberg on May 15, 2014. There has been an escalation of anti-China protests in Vietnam with attacks on Taiwanese companies leaving two people dead and at least 129 injured.
Amidst the present rioting in Vietnam many foreign-owned factories have shut down production and Chinese workers have fled the country. The riots have erupted due to anger over a Chinese oil rig which has been placed in disputed waters near the Paracel Islands which are claimed by both Vietnam and China. The last time relations between the two countries fell so low was during a border war in 1979. Ties normalized again in 1991.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has issued an order for the violence to be brought under control. Although Vietnam’s leaders have condemned China’s actions dealing with the rig there are deep concerns in Hanoi that the large-scale anti-China protests in the country risk a foreign investment backlash. Meanwhile, China, Singapore and Taiwan are asking Vietnam to protect their citizens. The violence in Vietnam has been hard to control with mobs having burned and looted scores of foreign-owned factories in the country following a large protest by workers over China’s recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters reports The Washington Post.
This unrest at industrial parks located near Ho Chi Minh City is the most serious outbreak of public disorder which the tightly controlled country has witnessed in years. Dung now wants provincial governments and security forces to take immediate action to stop the violence. If the violence continues and there is any further deterioration in relations between Vietnam and China stability throughout Asia is likely to be severely undermined.