Hanoi: At least 12 Arrested in a Protest Against China

At least 12 people, including three journalists, were arrested today by police during a protest in the capital of Vietnam against the Chinese government who claims the disputed waters in the South China Sea.

The Vietnamese authorities have allowed such protests in recent weeks, a rarity given the authoritarianism in the communist country. However, the Vietnamese leaders changed their position after reaching an agreement with the Beijing authorities to resolve the dispute peacefully.

Following the agreement, Vietnamese and Chinese began joint surveillance around the Paracel and Spratly islands, in which there are estimated underground reserves of oil and gas.

In recent months, relations between China and Vietnam have experienced one of the worst moments since the war waged in 1979, because of the incursion of vessels in disputed maritime areas.

In 2002, Beijing signed with the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) a code of conduct by which they pledged to use the diplomatic channel to avoid a conflict in the South China Sea.