Vietnam Boat Sinks; Feud With China Worsens

Countries offer conflicting accounts of incident
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 27, 2014 10:28 AM CDT
In this Thursday, May 15, 2014 photo, China Coast Guard vessels sail in the waters claimed by China and Vietnam in the South China Sea.   (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)

(Newser) – Exactly what happened in the South China Sea yesterday isn't clear, but the result was the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat—and a growing feud between Vietnam and China. Vietnam says its boat sank after 40 Chinese vessels surrounded it and one rammed it, the BBC reports. China, on the other hand, contends that the Vietnamese vessel was "engaging in harassment" before a collision with a Chinese fishing boat.

The 10 people on board were rescued by other Vietnamese fishing boats, Vietnam's government says, per Reuters. The incident occurred near the Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig, itself the subject of much controversy. Vietnam is angry at China for moving the rig into waters Hanoi sees as its own; protests this month left at least two dead. Other collisions have occurred near the rig this month, but no boat had sunk until yesterday.

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