The dangerous game China is playing in Asian waters became more violent as Chinese vessels reportedly rammed and sank a Vietnamese fishing boat that wandered near a $1 billion oil rig Beijing planted earlier this month in waters claimed by both countries.
China's heavy-handed approach to foreign policy seems to be driving Asian nations into an anti-China bloc, tightening ties among one another and with the United States. Coming only days after Chinese fighter jets buzzed Japanese patrol planes over disputed islands, regional leaders are escalating warnings about what they call China's aggressive behavior, and all are articulating a more muscular response to Beijing.
Three weeks of tension ratcheted up late Monday, May 26, when the Vietnamese trawler was apparently rammed by Chinese ships before capsizing and sinking. The Vietnamese Coast Guard blamed the incident, which took place about 17 miles away from the oil rig, on aggressive Chinese vessels, scores of which have become a permanent fixture in the area. Vietnam summoned Chinese diplomats on Tuesday to convey its displeasure over the incident.