Vietnamese Protest China as Tensions Rise
Live-fire drills in South China Sea worsen standoff
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2011 7:37 AM CDT
Hundreds of Vietnamese launched a third week of protests against China today amid escalating tensions in disputed waters of the South China Sea, where both countries have conducted live-fire military...   (AP Photo/Na Son Nguyen)
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(Newser) – Hundreds of people around Vietnam protested China today, as tensions between the two countries continue to rise, reports the AP. About 300 people chanted "Down with China" near the Chinese embassy in Hanoi, while more marched in Ho Chi Minh City and other locations. Relations have deteriorated between the two countries after two incidents in the past month in the South China Sea, in waters both countries claim as their own—China says Vietnamese boats illegally entered its waters and Vietnam claims that Chinese boats disrupted its oil explorations.

Although the rivalry over the disputed waters often leads to rocky relations between the countries, tensions have gotten dramatically worse because of the most recent clashes, with the navies of both countries conducting live-fire exercises in recent days. Vietnam's security forces usually stop protests immediately, but the government has allowed these demonstrations for three weeks now, a sign of Vietnam's deep displeasure with China. "We will fight for our country if the nation needs us," said one student. "Not only me, but all Vietnamese people will die to protect our territory."