China urges Vietnam to crack down on rioting, issues travel advice

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's public security chief urged Vietnam on Saturday to take tough measures to stem anti-China violence and punish rioters following deadly attacks there earlier this week, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported.

"The Vietnamese government should be accountable for the violent attacks on Chinese companies and staff," China's Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun was quoted saying in a telephone call with Vietnam's minister of public security Tran Dai Quang.

"We are strongly dissatisfied by the Vietnamese side failure to respond effectively to curb an escalation of the situation," he said, adding that there had been large numbers of casualties.

Thousands of Vietnamese attacked businesses and factories on Monday and Tuesday in the country's industrial parks, targeting Chinese workers and Chinese-owned businesses. The Vietnamese government has said one person was killed in the rioting.

Many Taiwanese-owned firms bore the brunt because the crowds believed they were owned by mainland Chinese, and Hong Kong firms were also hit.

China's Foreign Ministry advised Chinese nationals to hold off from travelling to Vietnam and told Chinese citizens in Vietnam to avoid leaving their premises, according to a statement posted on the ministry's website on Saturday.

According to Xinhua, Mr Tran assured Mr Guo that Hanoi has mobilised large numbers of police to restore calm and suspects had been arrested.

Vietnamese anger erupted after China parked an oil rig in a part of the South China Sea claimed by Hanoi. It is the worst breakdown in ties between the two Communist neighbours since a brief but bloody border war in 1979.

In Washington, a senior US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that China's "provocative" actions in maritime disputes were dangerous and had to stop, and China's relations with its neighbours were straining ties with the United States.