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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Spratley disputes - 19 Dec 2007

Dec 19, 2007
Protests in Hanoi: Beijing 'concerned'

BEIJING - CHINA said yesterday it was 'highly concerned' over anti-Chinese protests in Vietnam, after the second rally in a month there over rival claims in the South China Sea.
'We hope the Vietnamese government will take a responsible attitude and effective measures to stop this and prevent bilateral ties from being hurt,' Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told journalists.

Several hundred people marched in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on Sunday in support of their government's position in the long-simmering dispute over the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos in the South China Sea.

Similar rallies on Dec 9 were tolerated by police for about an hour, but triggered a diplomatic protest from Beijing two days later.

The Spratlys are claimed in full or in part by China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. The Paracels, which Chinese troops took from South Vietnamese forces in 1974, are also claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.

Mr Qin insisted yesterday that China had 'indisputable sovereignty' over the South China Sea and its adjacent waters.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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