China suspends some Vietnam exchange plans
CHINA yesterday said it has suspended some plans for bilateral exchanges with Vietnam, following deadly anti-Chinese violence there.
The unrest in Vietnam has so far led to the deaths of two Chinese nationals and the evacuation of more than 3,000, including 16 who were "critically injured", the official Xinhua news agency reported earlier.
The violence was "damaging the atmosphere and conditions for exchanges and cooperation between China and Vietnam", Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, without specifying what the plans entailed.
The Foreign Ministry last week accused Hanoi of "connivance" with anti-China protesters, who torched dozens of factories, and urged it to punish perpetrators and offer compensation for damage.
The violence, which has targeted foreign-owned enterprises, marks the worst anti-China unrest in Vietnam in decades. It erupted after Beijing deployed an oil rig in a disputed area in the South China Sea earlier this month.
Worker protests broke out last week in 22 of Vietnam's 63 provinces, with angry crowds setting fire to foreign-owned factories and enterprises believed to be linked to China or which employed Chinese staff.
China has advised its nationals against travelling to Vietnam, and yesterday said it was dispatching five ships to help with further evacuations.
Meanwhile, Vietnam's government insists that order has been restored. A security crackdown yesterday saw hundreds of uniformed and plainclothes security staff restricting access to streets leading to the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi and other suspected protest sites in the capital.
The government had earlier ordered the authorities nationwide to ramp up security to nip any demonstrations in the bud.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, in a mobile-phone text message sent to Vietnamese yesterday, urged citizens to "display patriotism peacefully", refrain from unlawful protests and "help the government to keep social order and security".
Three hundred protesters will soon be prosecuted, the authorities said.