Vietnam Boats Ram China Boats 171 Times in 4 Days

Nations are sniping after Beijing puts drilling rig in disputed territory

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted May 10, 2014 1:01 PM CDT

(Newser) – China is in yet another territorial dispute with a neighbor, and this time things are already getting a little physical. After Beijing plunked down its first-ever deepwater drilling rig in disputed waters off Vietnam this week, the Vietnamese navy made clear its displeasure. China says Vietnam's vessels rammed its ships 171 times over the course of four days, reports the New York Times. The newspaper quotes a Vietnamese political analyst who sums things up thusly: “Invasion is in their blood, and resistance is in our blood.”

While all that boat-ramming hasn't changed the fact that the oil platform is still in place, the Wall Street Journal reports that Beijing would be making a mistake if it thinks Vietnam will let the issue quietly go away. Hanoi has been building up its navy of late for just this sort of confrontation as China has gotten more aggressive in the South China Sea. And while its naval power will still be no match for China's, Vietnam wants to show it can at least give China a "bloody nose," says an analyst at a Singapore think tank. The new tensions are sure to be a big topic at this weekend's meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, reports AP.

China's deep-water drilling rig is seen in the South China Sea.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Jin Liangkuai, File)
A Chinese ship, left, shoots a water cannon at a Vietnamese vessel, right, while a Chinese Coast Guard ship, center, sails alongside in the South China Sea.   (AP Photo/Vietnam Coast Guard)
A Chinese coast guard vessel, right, fires water cannon at a Vietnamese vessel off the coast of Vietnam.   (AP Photo/Vietnam Coast Guard)
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