South China Sea tensions soar as Beijing re-enters disputed Vietnamese Spratly Islands


CHINA has re-entered disputed waters in the South China Sea that have been previously claimed by Vietnam as tensions soar between the two Asian nations.

A survey vessel from Beijing has been spotted gliding through parts of the disputed waters causing further outrage from Vietnam and inflamed aggression. Vietnam said the ship left the area last week, but had returned again yesterday in a move that came after a month-long standoff between Beijing and Hanoi. The US-based Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS) confirmed the vessel was still there today.

To make matters worse, the ship was accompanied by at least two Chinese coastguard vessels, resembling more of a fleet.

This prompted several Vietnamese ships to follow them closely.

Last month Chinese geological survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 entered waters surrounding the Spratly Islands, of which have been claimed by Vietnam.

The ship remained there for several weeks along with a number of coastguard ships.

Devin Thorne, C4ADS senior analyst, said Beijing’s operations in the hotly disputed waters “reflect China’s purposeful use of civilian, commercial, scientific and paramilitary resources to pursue its interests in and vision for the South China Sea”.

US President Donald Trump was quick to condemn the act.
His administration, who has often called out China on its aggression, lashed out on Beijing for its “bullying behaviour” in the South China Sea.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the actions of the Chinese nothing short of “coercion”.