China has accused Vietnam of provoking the tension between the two countries that eventually led to collisions of their ships in disputed waters off the coast of Paracel Islands, during a stand-off after Hanoi protested Beijing’s deployment of an oil rig to start drilling operations last week.
A senior Chinese government official said Vietnamese ships have intentionally collided with their vessels even as Vietnam accused China of using water cannons against them, further heightening the tension over the weekend.
Foreign Ministry official Yi Xianliang claims the Vietnamese has rammed into their ships 171 times since May 3, while Hanoi said three of their ships were badly damaged and six crew members were wounded in the series of confrontations, the worst letdown, so far, to the diplomatic ties between the two neighbors.
Yi insisted Hanoi provoked Beijing by sending naval ships to the area while the latter had only civilian vessels patrolling in the contested waters and has demanded Vietnam to immediately withdraw their troops. (Click here to read more)