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Fresh spats in South China Sea spark fears

China's disputes with Philippines, Vietnam raise risk of armed clashes

Published on May 8, 2014 7:05 AM
Vietnam Maritime Police's Deputy Commander Do Ngoc Thu speaks during a press conference on the latest maritime tension between Vietnam and China in Hanoi on May 7, 2014. Hanoi said that Chinese ships protecting a deep-water drilling rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea had used water cannon to attack Vietnamese patrol vessels and rammed them, injuring six people. -- PHOTO: AFP

Maritime disputes involving China, Vietnam and the Philippines have flared up, escalating the risk of armed clashes in the resource-rich South China Sea.

Chinese and Vietnamese vessels were involved in a collision near the Paracel islands following the placement of a Chinese oil rig in waters claimed by both sides.

Vietnam yesterday accused Chinese vessels of deliberately ramming into Vietnamese patrol ships and also of using water cannon on its ships, causing damage and injuries in more than one incident since China announced last Saturday that the rig was operating in the area.

A Chinese plane also tried to intimidate the Vietnamese ships, a maritime official said.

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