At what point will Beijing be challenged on its empire-building campaign? International Affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe examines China’s latest moves to claim territory and influence in Southeast Asia. An excerpt of his new column:
China’s project to slowly gobble up sovereignty over the South China Sea and, with money and threats to cow the 10 countries of Southeast Asia into subservience, has made dramatic advances.
Beijing will be well pleased with the success of the latest strike in its campaign, which started with the moving on May 1 of the massive deep sea oil drilling rig Haiyang 981 into South China Sea waters that are within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone, but claimed by China.
The provocation led to some ugly confrontations at sea as Vietnamese vessels jostled the 100-or-so ships Beijing sent to guard the rig. Meanwhile on land Vietnamese mobs attacked Chinese-owned businesses. At least two people were killed and Beijing evacuated several thousand of its nationals … read more*
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