Tensions in the South China Sea mount over an oil rig in disputed waters. Recent enforcement of territorial claims are likely to disturb peace and stability in the region, cause domestic trouble in Vietnam, and sour China’s relations with ASEAN members and the US.

On 14 May 2014, Vietnamese protesters vented their anger at China’s claims to contended territorial waters and its recent enforcement of those claims by defending the construction of a Chinese oil rig (the Haiyang Shiyou 981), destined to drill a mere 120 km off Vietnam’s shore. Over 20,000 rioters vandalised factories in Binh Duong province, Vietnam’s industrial heartland just outside Ho Chi Minh City. The mob attacked anything with Chinese script on it, but ended up also damaging many Taiwanese and Korean properties. Several Chinese workers were killed in the tumult, up to 21 according to some sources. Chinese citizens react outraged.

All anti-Vietnamese protesters in Kunming
All of the anti-Vietnamese protesters in Kunming on 18 May