With all eyes firmly focused on WWIII in Ukraine (oh, and don't forget Al Qaeda's pivot to attacking Saudi Arabia), China - as we noted here - decided now was the appropriate time to send an oil rig into Vietnamese (admittedly uncertain) territorial waters. The Vietnamese are not happy and is blasting China this morning after a Chinese vessel intentionally rammed two of its ships. As Reuters reports, the foreign ministry in Hanoi said the collisions took place on Sunday and caused considerable damage to the Vietnamese ships with six people sustaining minor injuries. Vietnam's foreign minister noted, "Chinese ships, with air support, sought to intimidate Vietnamese vessels. Water cannon was used," adding that "Vietnam won't fire unless China fires first." China has not yet responded to the Vietnamese allegations of ramming, but did have this to say, "The United States has no right to complain about China's activities within the scope of its own sovereignty."
As we noted here, China sent an oil rig into disputed Vietnamese waters...
An oil industry official in China said the deployment of the rig owned by China's CNOOC oil company to waters near Vietnam appeared to be a political decision rather than a commercial one.
"This reflected the will of the central government and is also related to the U.S. strategy on Asia," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
"It is not commercially driven. It is also not like CNOOC has set a big exploration blueprint for the region."
But as Reuters reports, tensions are rising...
Vietnam said on Wednesday a Chinese vessel intentionally rammed two of its ships in a part of the disputed South China Sea where Beijing has deployed a giant oil rig, sending tensions spiraling in the region.
"On May 4, Chinese ships intentionally rammed two Vietnamese Sea Guard vessels," said Tran Duy Hai, a foreign ministry official and deputy head of Vietnam's national border committee.
"Chinese ships, with air support, sought to intimidate Vietnamese vessels. Water cannon was used," he told a news conference in Hanoi. Six other ships were also hit, other officials said, but not as badly.
Dozens of navy and coastguard vessels from both countries are in the area where China has deployed the giant rig, Vietnamese officials have said.
"No shots have been fired yet," said a Vietnamese navy official, who could not be identified because he was not authorized to speak to media. "Vietnam won't fire unless China fires first."
The US will have to decide if this is a red line being crossed after Obama's recent visit... but China is already putting him straight...
China has not yet responded to the Vietnamese allegations of ramming, but Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said earlier on Wednesday that the deployment of the rig had nothing to do with the United States, or Vietnam.
"The United States has no right to complain about China's activities within the scope of its own sovereignty," she said.
Vietnam concludes for now... we assume knowing the US has its back?
"We are a peace-loving nation that has experienced many wars," he said. "If this situation goes too far, we will use all measures in line with international law to protect our territory. We have limitations, but we will stand up to any Chinese aggression."
So Russia vs US in Ukraine, check! Al Qaeda vs Saudi Arabia, check! China vs Vietnam, check! Must be time for all time highs in stocks!!