A Chinese ship (L) uses water cannon on a Vietnamese Sea Guard ship on the South China Sea near the Paracels islands, in this handout photo taken on May 2, 2014 and released by the Vietnamese Marine Guard on May 8, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Vietnam Marine Guard/Handout via Reuters
China’s decision to park its biggest mobile oil rig 120 miles off the Vietnamese coast has exposed how vulnerable Hanoi, and other littoral states of the South China Sea, are to moves by the region’s dominant power to assert its territorial claims.
The Communist neighbors are at loggerheads over the drilling rig in contested waters, each accusing the other of ramming its ships in the area in the worst setback for Sino-Vietnamese ties in years.
While Hanoi’s dispute with Beijing over the Spratly Islands, for example, involves fellow claimants the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, it is only Vietnam that contests China’s expanding…
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