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[VIDEO] Suspect in Kim Jong Nam’s Killing Simulated Attack in Pranks

Security camera footage shows a Vietnamese woman accused of poisoning the North Korean leader’s half brother, Kim Jong Nam, performing a prank at Hanoi’s airport that simulated the attack.

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OH YES THEY DID: China Cranks Up Incursions Around Disputed Senkaku Islands

Haijing 31239 is the first armed Chinese ship to approach the disputed islands

China has stepped up its incursions around the disputed Senkaku or Diaoyu islands in what Japanese officials claim is a new attempt at changing the status quo in the East China Sea.

Noting a marked shift in China’s behaviour around the islands since last December, a Japanese foreign ministry official said: “The situation in the East China Sea is getting worse.”

The incursions threaten an improving relationship between the two nations since Chinese president Xi Jinping and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe shook hands in November 2014.

Tension over the group of five uninhabited islands and three barren rocks mounted in September 2012, when the Japanese government — which has administered the islands since 1895 — bought them from a private owner.

Japanese officials fear Beijing is using the shift in international attention towards the South China Sea — where China has been constructing artificial islands — to mount a new push in the waters further north.

Tokyo has formally protested the Chinese actions, which it calls a “forceful, coercive attempt to change the status quo”, but has so far avoided any escalation with countermeasures of its own.

In late December, China sailed an armed vessel into territorial waters around the disputed islands for the first time.

Sailing with three other Chinese vessels, a former naval frigate converted for coastguard use but carrying four quick-firing 37mm cannon, entered the 24 nautical mile “contiguous zone” around the islands for the first time on December 22, and the 12 nautical mile territorial waters on December 26. Read the rest of this entry »


Mysterious ‘Space Balls’ Investigated

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The metal balls fell from the sky, scaring local residents.

Vietnam’s military is investigating the appearance of three mysterious metal balls — believed to be debris from space — which landed in the country’s remote north, a senior army official said Friday.

Two metal balls were discovered in northwestern Yen Bai province on January 2, army spokesman Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan told AFP.

Later a larger ball weighing some 45 kilograms (100 pounds) landed in a maize field in neighbouring Tuyen Quang province, he said.

“We are still identifying where they came from,” he said, adding the army had determined they did not contain explosives or hazardous material.

The metal balls fell from the sky, he said, scaring local residents.

“Before and after these objects were discovered, the Vietnamese army was not conducting any military activity in the region,” Tuan said.

 Witnesses told state-run media that they heard what sounded like thunder before the balls plunged to the earth.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] China Ships Evacuate Thousands from Vietnam: Xinhua

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Policemen ask people to leave a street near the Chinese embassy in Hanoi on May 18, 2014 (AFP Photo)

Beijing (AFP) – Almost 2,000 Chinese citizens were evacuated from riot-hit Vietnam by sea on Monday, with another two ships following, as Hanoi stifled fresh protests over a territorial dispute and foreign investors counted the cost.

The passenger vessels Wuzhishan and Tongguling left the central Vietnamese port of Vung Ang, each with more than 900 evacuees on board, China’s official news agency Xinhua reported.

They were among four Chinese ships — each with a capacity of about 1,000 people — sent to Vietnam, Xinhua said, with another two on standby.

Workers voiced relief as they boarded the vessels, the agency reported, with some declaring: “Finally home.”

Relations between communist neighbours Vietnam and China have plummeted following Beijing’s move earlier this month to send a deep-water drilling rig into contested waters in the South China Sea. Read the rest of this entry »


Up in Smoke: Factories Torched in Anti-China Protest in Vietnam

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HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Anti-China mobs torched up to 15 foreign-owned factories and trashed many more in southern Vietnam as anger over the recent deployment by China of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters span dangerously out of control, officials and state media said Wednesday.

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The unrest at industrial parks established to attract foreign investors was the most serious outbreak of public disorder in the tightly controlled country in years. It points to the dangers for the government as it manages public anger at China and also protests itself against the Chinese deployment in a part of the South China Sea it claims as its own. Read the rest of this entry »


Anti-Chinese Anger Fuel Street Protests in Vietnam: A Test for Authoritarian Rule

Vietnam China Anger

The two Asian nations have a history of conflict going back 1,000 years, and the streets of Vietnam’s cities are named after heroes in those fights. Yet the two countries share a Communist ideology and close economic ties, making the China-Vietnam relationship a highly sensitive topic. 

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnamese anger toward China is running at its highest level in years after Beijing deployed an oil rig in disputed waters. That’s posing a tricky question for Vietnam’s leaders: To what extent should they allow public protests that could morph into those against their own authoritarian rule?

“Facing the danger of Chinese aggression appropriating the sacred East Sea, the source of livelihood of the Vietnamese over generations, we are determined not to compromise.”

— From a statement widely circulated on Facebook and dissident blogs calling for protests on Sunday morning in Hanoi outside the Chinese Embassy and a Chinese cultural center in Ho Chi Minh City.

At one level, the ruling Communist Party would like to harness the anger on the street to amplify its own indignation against China and garner international sympathy as naval ships from both countries engage in a tense standoff near the rig off the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea.

“We cannot continue to compromise and be vile and sinful to our heroic ancestors and feel ashamed before our future generations.”

But Vietnam’s government instinctively distrusts public gatherings of any sort, much less ones that risk posing a threat to public order. And they also know that members of the country’s dissident movement are firmly embedded inside the anti-China one, and have used the issue to mobilize support in the past. Read the rest of this entry »


South China Sea: Standoff Over Oil Rig Escalates, Vietnam Says China Rammed Ships

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(Reuters) – Vietnam said on Wednesday a Chinese vessel intentionally rammed two of its ships in a part of the disputed South China Sea where Beijing has deployed a giant oil rig, sending tensions spiraling in the region.

The Foreign Ministry in Hanoi said the collisions took place on Sunday and caused considerable damage to the Vietnamese ships. Six people suffered minor injuries, it said.

See also: The Battle for the South China Sea Is Officially On in The American Interest

The standoff between China and Vietnam over an oil rig under construction in the South China Sea has escalated to dangerous levels, the New York Times reports

…Whether purposely timed or not, Beijing has escalated its rhetoric and backed up words with action ever since President Obama’s tour of East Asia. ”It is increasingly obvious that Washington is taking Beijing as an opponent,”warned one editorial in China Daily as soon as President Obama returned to the U.S. ”Ganging up with its troublemaking allies, the U.S. is presenting itself as a security threat to China.” The editorial also called U.S. actions in East Asia ”malicious.”

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“On May 4, Chinese ships intentionally rammed two Vietnamese Sea Guard vessels,” said Tran Duy Hai, a Foreign Ministry official and deputy head of Vietnam’s national border committee.

See alsoVietnam dispatches 29 ships to intercept Chinese oil rig in South China Sea; standoff with 80 Chinese ships in China Daily Mail

Vietnamese naval vessels and Chinese ships collided Wednesday, a Vietnamese government official said, as Hanoi sought to prevent a Chinese oil rig from setting up in a disputed part of the South China Sea.

The official said no ammunition had been fired and there were no reports for injuries as a result of the standoff, the most serious in years between the two countries in the sea. If neither side step downs, some analysts said they feared full blown skirmishes could break out between the two navies in what has long been regarded as a possible global flashpoint.

“Chinese ships, with air support, sought to intimidate Vietnamese vessels. Water cannon was used,” he told a news conference in Hanoi. Six other ships were also hit, but not as badly, other officials said. Read the rest of this entry »