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Vietnam anti-China activists mark Paracels defeat

Published on Jan 19, 2014 3:42 PM
Anti-China protester and political blogger Nguyen Tuong Thuy (right) holding flowers with the words "Paracels-Vietnam" written on the wrapper, during a gathering to mark the 40th anniversary of the Chinese occupation of the disputed Paracels islands in the South China Sea, in Hanoi, on January 19, 2014. Clashes between Chinese forces and the South Vietnamese navy on January 19, 1974 killed 74 Vietnamese naval sailors, and resulted in China gaining control over the Paracels. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

HANOI (AFP) - Activists chanted anti-China slogans and laid flowers on Sunday at a protest in Hanoi marking the 40th anniversary of the Chinese invasion of contested islands in the South China Sea.

In 1974, as US troops withdrew from Vietnam, China invaded the Paracel Islands, which were held by the US-backed South Vietnamese regime.

More than 70 Vietnamese soldiers died during the invasion and China has controlled the island chain ever since.

The two countries are locked in long-standing territorial disputes over the Paracel and Spratly islands, which both claim, and often trade diplomatic barbs over oil exploration and fishing rights in the contested waters.

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