China criticises Vietnam for lack of compensation after riots

China's spokesman demands Vietnam take financial responsibility for the riots that left a trail of death and destruction

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 June, 2014, 2:58am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 June, 2014, 3:12am

China said yesterday that it had received no compensation from Vietnam for losses incurred during anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam last month, demanding that Hanoi pay up and punish those responsible for the widespread damage.

A sovereignty dispute in the South China Sea sparked last month's protests after China moved an oil rig into an area claimed by both sides. The issue triggered a rampage, with rioters setting fires and destroying property at factories and businesses that in many cases were mistakenly believed to be mainland- owned. At least four people died.

China has pressed Vietnam to compensate its citizens and companies.

"As of today, Vietnam has not provided any compensation at all," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news briefing.

We demand that Vietnam ... guarantees the safety of Chinese personnel
Hong Lei, Foreign Ministry

"We demand that Vietnam take earnest steps to guarantee the safety of Chinese entities and personnel in Vietnam, severely punish the assailants who created the disturbances and fully compensate the losses of Chinese companies and individuals."

Fighting between Vietnamese and Chinese workers broke out in central Ha Tinh province, leaving at at least four people dead and more than 100 injured. About 4,000 Chinese workers subsequently left Vietnam.

Chinese state energy firm CNOOC deployed dozens of ships to tow the US$1 billion oil rig to a spot 240 km off Vietnam's coast. Vietnam and China traded accusations last week over the near-sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat not far from where the oil rig is positioned.

Vietnam has released dramatic footage showing a large Chinese ship chasing and ramming one of its fishing boats which then sank near an oil rig in contested waters.

Watch: Video showing Chinese ship sinking Vietnamese fishing boat

The video images, shot from a nearby Vietnamese vessel, show a much larger Chinese ship racing after a small wooden Vietnamese fishing boat, ploughing into it and causing it to almost capsize.

"Oh! They rammed it," a man on the boat from which the footage was filmed can be heard shouting.

Vietnamese officials have said the 10 fishermen on board were rescued by nearby vessels after the incident, which occurred about 12 nautical miles southwest of the oil rig.

The damaged boat was towed to Vietnam's Ly Son Island off the coast of central Quang Ngai province, and a local official suggested it be placed in a museum, the Tuoi Tre newspaper reported.

China claims about 90 percent of the South China Sea, displaying its reach with a so-called nine-dash line. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also claims parts of the potentially energy-rich waters.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino accused China on Thursday of pursuing an "expansion agenda". He said Manila had evidence that Chinese ships were circling two disputed reefs, weeks after Manila accused China of reclaiming land elsewhere in the South China Sea. Hong dismissed Aquino's comments, restating China's position that it had "irrefutable sovereignty" over the Spratly Islands .