China has lodged a diplomatic protest with Vietnam, condemning mob attacks against its companies and nationals triggered by Beijing’s deployment of an oil rig in the disputed South China Sea waters.
The Chinese protest was conveyed by Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh in urgent phone call on Thursday night.
Wang said Vietnam bears “unshirkable responsibility for the violent attacks against Chinese companies and nationals”.
He demanded Vietnam immediately take resolute and effective measures to stop all violence and ensure the safety of the lives and property of all Chinese nationals and companies there, state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.
He also urged immediate investigation into the violence, harsh punishment for all perpetrators and compensation for the companies and nationals.
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Pham said that Vietnam authorities have apprehended more than 1,000 suspects and would severely punish the lawbreakers.
The Vietnam authorities will also take measures to protect the safety of the lives and property of all Chinese nationals and organisations there, he told Wang.
Reports from Vietnam said 21 people mostly Chinese were killed and over 100 injured in the attacks and scores of factories have been damaged.
Xinhua reported that two Chinese were killed and over 100 others injured. About 600 Chinese workers and businessmen fled to neighbouring Cambodia for safety.