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Public in Asia fears China military conflict over sea claims: study

Published on Jul 15, 2014 7:26 AM
A Chinese Coast Guard vessel (right) passes near the Chinese oil rig, Haiyang Shi You 981, (centre) in the South China Sea, about 210km from the coast of Vietnam on June 13, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - China's neighbours are increasingly anxious that Beijing's maritime disputes with countries like Vietnam and the Philippines will lead to military conflict, a US research group said in findings released on Monday.

Even in China itself, polling showed that 62 per cent of the public worried that territorial disputes between China and its neighbours could lead to an armed conflict, according to a broad study conducted in 44 countries by the Pew Research Centre.

"This year, in all 11 Asian nations polled, roughly half or more say they are concerned that territorial disputes between China and its neighbours will lead to a military conflict," the study found.

At 93 per cent, Filipinos were most concerned, followed by the Japanese at 85 per cent, Vietnamese at 84 per cent and South Koreans at 83 per cent, according to Pew.

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