China’s Foreign Ministry has accused Vietnam of ramming into its ships more than 1,400 times near a highly controversial Chinese oil rig, according to a statement issued on Sunday night.
Vietnam, as well as other Southeast Asian nations, has been involved in a tense dispute with China over territorial claims in the South China Sea.
“As of 5 p.m. on 7 June, there were as many as 63 Vietnamese vessels in the area at the peak, attempting to break through China’s cordon and ramming the Chinese government ships for a total of 1,416 times,” said Chinese officials.
Beijing’s claim comes two days after Vietnam’s state television aired a video that appeared to show a Chinese ship chasing a small Vietnamese boat — later sinking it.
Tension over China’s drilling operations near the disputed Paracel Islands escalated into anti-China riots in Vietnam in May. Up to four Chinese citizens were killed.