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China to discuss crisis with Vietnam

Vietnamese commerce minister to meet Chinese counterpart as anti-China protests spreads to Philippines.

Last updated: 16 May 2014 22:02
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The Manila protest was against Beijing's incursions into South China Sea territories [AP]

Ministers from China and Vietnam are to discuss deadly anti-Chinese riots that have affected Beijing's business interests in the Southeast Asian nation, a Chinese official said. 

The discussions between commerce ministers in China's Qingdao city come on Friday, as Filipino and Vietnamese residents staged a joint protest in the Philippine capital of Manila against Beijing's movements in disputed territories claimed by their countries.

Shen Danyang, a spokesman for the Chinese commerce ministry, demanded that Vietnam took steps to ensure the safety of Chinese people, businesses and property.

"There have already been deaths of Chinese citizens and more than 90 people were injured," Shen said

"It's expected that the number of casualties will rise further. This has resulted in businesses halting work and huge property losses. China strongly condemns this."

Anti-China protests

The riots erupted after China towed an oil rig into waters claimed by both states. Factories perceived to be Chinese-owned have been set on fire. Up to 21 people have been killed and a huge foreign steel project has been set ablaze. 

On Friday, chanting "China get out", more than 100 Filipinos and Vietnamese picketed the Chinese consulate in Philippine capital, carrying banners, including one that urged Manila and Hanoi to "join hands" against Beijing.

Walden Bello, a Philippine congressman, said the protesters were denouncing Beijing's moves as provocative. "This protest is all about telling China, 'Please stop your aggressive moves in our territories. Please respect the rule of international law'," he said.

China claims virtually the entire South China Sea, a busy sea lane and fishing ground atop what is believed to be rich oil and gas reserves.

This week, the Philippines said China had reclaimed land on the Johnson South Reef in violation of a 2002 nonbinding agreement to not occupy uninhabited areas in the disputed waters.

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Source:
AP
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