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China scolds Vietnam for ‘hyping up’ South China Sea oil rig row

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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China scolds Vietnam for ‘hyping up’ South China Sea oil rig row | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

China scolds Vietnam for ‘hyping up’ South China Sea oil rig row
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: China’s top diplomat scolded Vietnamese officials during talks in Hanoi on Wednesday for “hyping up” a row over a Chinese oil rig drilling in disputed waters in the South China Sea, in tough comments that suggest relations will remain rocky.

State Councilor Yang Jiechi also told his hosts that the rig’s activities in waters also claimed by Vietnam were “completely legal”, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily briefing in Beijing.

Yang, who outranks the country’s foreign minister, made the remarks in a meeting with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.

Before the visit, experts had said many obstacles remained to resolving one of the worst breakdowns in Sino-Vietnamese relations since the neighbours fought a brief border war in 1979.

Among them is Beijing’s demand for compensation in the wake of anti-Chinese riots that erupted in Vietnam after the drilling platform was deployed on May 2.

“The most urgent thing is for Vietnam to stop its interference and harassment, stop hyping up the issue and stop whipping up disagreement to create new disputes, and properly deal with the aftermath of the recent serious incidents of violence,” Hua said, describing Yang’s comments.

Yang later met Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and was due to have talks with the head of Vietnam’s ruling communist party before attending a dinner hosted by Minh.

No news conferences are planned. Vietnam has yet to make any statement about the talks.

Yang’s visit is the highest-level direct contact between the two sides since the rig was parked 240 km (150 miles) off the coast of Vietnam.

Vietnam says the platform is in its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone and on its continental shelf. China has said the rig is operating completely within its waters near the Paracel Islands, which are occupied by China.

“State Councilor Yang Jiechi said China and Vietnam’s relations are facing difficulties at the moment because for more than a month, Vietnam has been continually illegally harassing Chinese drilling operations in the waters near the Paracel Islands,” Hua said.

“Yang stressed that the Paracel Islands are China’s inherent territory and that there exists no dispute about this.”

Nevertheless, both sides believed the talks were “frank and constructive”, Hua added.

TENSE TALKS

Earlier, Yang and Minh shook hands formally in front of reporters at a government guesthouse. Outside the building, neither country’s national flag was flying, as is customary when senior foreign visitors attend meetings in Hanoi.

Sino-Vietnamese ties have been largely frozen since early May, with both sides accusing the other of inflaming the situation. Dozens of Vietnamese and Chinese coastguard and fishing vessels have repeatedly squared off around the rig, resulting in a number of rammings and collisions.

Vietnam’s official Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper said Chinese ships did little to try to impede Vietnamese boats in the area on Tuesday. It quoted a senior Vietnamese naval official as saying the Chinese ships had been less aggressive, suggesting an effort to dial down tensions on the water ahead of Yang’s visit.

While communist parties rule both countries and trade has taken off in recent years, Vietnam has long been suspicious of its giant neighbour, especially over China’s claims to almost the entire South China Sea. Ordinary Vietnamese are also quickly angered by any perceived bullying from China.

The Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims to parts of the potentially energy-rich waters.

The deployment of the Haiyang Shiyou 981 rig triggered anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam in which four people were killed during a rampage of destruction and looting of factories believed to be owned by Chinese companies. Many of the factories were Taiwanese-owned.

Vietnam detained several hundred people in the aftermath of the violence. Around a dozen people have been tried and given jail terms of up to three years.

Prime Minister Dung last month said his government was considering taking legal action against China. That drew an angry response from Beijing.

China has said the rig will explore until mid-August. It has a good chance of finding enough gas to put the area into production, Chinese industry experts have said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Drugs

2 million methamphetamine pills found in parked truck

Caitlin Ashworth

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2 million methamphetamine pills found in parked truck | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Line Today

Police found more than 2 million methamphetamine pills in a truck parked at petrol station at Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Bang Saphan Noy district. Police are still looking for the driver.

The Narcotics Suppression Bureau alerted local police about a truck in the area suspected of trafficking drugs. Police spotted a truck that matched the description and saw it turning in to a petrol station.

Police followed, but by the time they reached the vehicle, it was parked and the driver was no where in sight. Officers suspect the driver fled the scene.

The truck had a number of cardboard boxes containing thousands of methamphetamine pills. Police say all together they seized 2,002,000 pills. They also found a bank deposit passbook, 2 identification cards and other documents. The evidence was passed on to the Narcotics Suppression Bureau who are now working on the case.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Hua Hin

Hua Hin schools close after students get fever, families crossed Myanmar border

Caitlin Ashworth

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Hua Hin schools close after students get fever, families crossed Myanmar border | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS

Class is cancelled for a week at 2 schools after some students reported a high fever. School officials discovered many Burmese students and parents have been crossing the Thai-Myanmar border. The Thai government recently told immigration police to patrol the country’s natural borders such as along jungles and rivers after Myanmar reported a spike in coronavirus cases.

The 2 Prachuap Khiri Khan schools – Anun School and Wang Ta Krai School – will be closed until at least September 7. Some of the students need to quarantine for 14 days before returning to school. Public health officials have taken fluid samples to test for Covid-19. The results have not yet been released at this stage.

The province is on the Malay peninsula and borders Myanmar’s Tanintharyi region. The community has a large Burmese population. Out of the 576 students at Anun School, 300 of them are migrants. Out of the 310 students at the Wang Ta Krai School, 45 of them are migrants.

When students from the Anun School students did not show up in class due to high fever, school officials looked into their case and learned that their families had recently returned from areas around the Thai-Myanmar border. Wang Ta Krai School has not reported any suspected cases.

Most of the cases in the recent spike in Myanmar involve the western Rhakine state, on the other side of Myanmar from the Thai border.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Air Asia and VietJet add some extra domestic routes

The Thaiger

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Air Asia and VietJet add some extra domestic routes | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai VietJet adds a BKK-Nakhon Si Thammarat flight to their schedule

Whilst much of the world waits to get back into Thailand, the local airlines are starting to flex their domestic muscles and add new routes.

Thai AirAsia is launching 2 new routes from Chiang Mai, starting yesterday, offering a one-way fare for as low as 790 baht on flights to Hua Hin, and Udon Thani in the northeast. The cheapie fares will only run until August 16, or when they’re booked out. The fares will cover travel from today up to March 26 next year.

Thai Air Asia is attempting to bump up its direct domestic travel from Chiang Mai that will avoid doing a stop-over in Bangkok for these new routes.

The new flight from Chiang Mai to the coastal town of Hua Hin is targeting Thais and expats living in the north who want a seaside break and couldn’t be bothered sitting in a bus for 24 hours.

The bi-weekly flights depart every Friday and Sunday which gives travellers at both ends of the route an excuse for weekend travel. Thai Air Asia are now servicing 30 domestic routes that started again in May when Thai-registered airlines restarted limited domestic services.

But the locally-based airlines are still not allowed to fly internationally, and, based on comments from the TAT, that may not happen until early 2021. A deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said last Friday there was “no signs to show international tourism would reopen this year and even Chinese New Year in February 2021 was now in jeopardy… It is not a rosy picture.”

Air Asia and VietJet add some extra domestic routes | News by The Thaiger

 

Meanwhile Thai Vietjet has started a new service from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport to Nakhon Si Thammarat in Thailand’s Deep South.

The first flight landed over the weekend to a water salute welcome at Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport. Thai Vietjet’s latest service into southern Thailand operates daily but they’re hoping to ramp up to four flights a day in October.

A promotional fare of just 199 baht, excluding tax and fees, is on sale at www.vietjetair.com.

Air Asia and VietJet add some extra domestic routes | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: TTRWeekly

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