Thousands of workers in the southern Vietnamese province of Binh Duong joined a rally on Tuesday to condemn China over the illegal operation of its oil rig in Vietnam\’s waters, local authorities said.
Anti-China mobs torched up to 15 foreign-owned factories and trashed many more in southern Vietnam as anger over the recent deployment by China of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters spun dangerously out of control, officials and state media said on Wednesday.
The protests come after China moved a drilling rig into waters claimed by Vietnam earlier this month.
The unrest began Tuesday in southern Binh Duong province, where thousands of workers walked out of their jobs and took part in mass anti-China rallies.
Video posted on social media showed large numbers of Vietnamese in work uniforms in front of factories with Chinese names, waving national flags, honking their motorbike horns and chanting anti-China slogans.
Officials at the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park say at least three Chinese-owned factories were set ablaze and looted. Other reports say as many as 10 factories were attacked.
China has not commented on the latest protests.
At the just-concluded ASEAN summit in Burma, also known as Myanmar, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung accused Beijing of "extremely dangerous action" and called for the bloc to take a united stand on the issue.
But Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying responded by saying Hanoi\’s efforts to rally ASEAN against Beijing are bound to fail.
Secretary of State John Kerry Monday said the United States is "deeply concerned" by China\’s location of the oil rig. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Kerry told Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in a phone call the move was "provocative" and "aggressive."
In response, China\’s Foreign Ministry says Wang urged Kerry to "speak and act cautiously," saying he should be objective when talking about China.
Beijing last month moved the state-run oil rig to an area near the Paracel Islands, within what Vietnam considers its exclusive economic zone.
Chinese and Vietnamese ships have since clashed and sprayed water cannons at each other, raising fears of an all-out clash.
Earlier this month, China moved its Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig to a spot 120 nautical miles off the coast of Vietnam.