Standing up to China

Nicholas Chapman

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Since China started drilling for oil near the disputed Paracel Islands in the South China Sea in 2014, in what has become known as the HS-981 incident, tensions between Hanoi and Beijing have been building. The stand-off shows no sign of easing this year. In January China began test-flying civilian planes to Fiery Cross Reef, something its foreign ministry spokesperson claimed was “completely within China’s sovereignty”. The situation intensified in July, when Chinese state media reported that two civilian aircraft had landed on recently constructed airstrips on Mischief and Subi reefs.

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