21 May 2014
China’s planting of an oil platform in contested waters off Vietnam drew robust complaints from Hanoi, a messy standoff between ships and violent protests among Vietnamese — but nothing to dislodge the rig and no broader pushback in the region.
Southeast Asian countries, with diverging interests and wariness of angering Beijing, have so far shunned any collective action that might halt China as it relentlessly nudges forward its sovereignty claims in disputed seas seen as a possible flashpoint for the world’s next major conflict.
Despite its accusations of Chinese bullying, Vietnam can expect little in the way of concrete outside help as its patrol boats continue to spar with Chinese vessels guarding the rig in the South China Sea.
… Some Southeast Asian countries also may want to stay out of what they suspect are moves that are actually directed at the U.S., which has been increasingly critical of what it describes as Chinese provocations, said Tan See Seng, of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.
GPO / IDSS / RSIS / Online
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