BEIJING, May 22 (Xinhua) -- China on Thursday urged Vietnam to stop interfering into its legitimate operations and ensure the safety of its citizens and institutions.
At a daily press briefing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, "What Vietnam needs to and should do now is to stop interferences in all forms into Chinese operations, harshly punish criminals who committed violence, compensate the losses of Chinese people and companies and ensure the safety of Chinese citizens and institutions in Vietnam."
Hong's comments came in response to comments made by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. According to media reports the prime minister said Vietnam and the Philippines were deeply concerned about the current situation resulting from China's practices, which violated international laws. They urged other countries and the international community to strongly condemn China.
"Who is creating tensions in the South China Sea? Who is undermining peace and stability in the South China Sea? Who is making provocations on the legitimate rights of the other country? Facts speak louder than words," Hong said.
Since May 2, Vietnam has made continued and illegal forceful interferences into the legitimate operations of Chinese business at sea under Chinese jurisdiction, infringing upon China's sovereignty and seriously influencing navigation freedom and regional peace and stability, Hong said.
China has repeatedly requested Vietnam to stop interfering in Chinese operations and withdraw its vessels, Hong said. But Vietnam has continued with its interference and tolerated anti-China protests and violence, causing serious casualties and property losses of the Chinese side, Hong said, blaming Vietnam for distorting facts and making groundless accusations against China.
Central and southern Vietnamese provinces witnessed a spate of violent protests against foreign companies last week, which left at least two Chinese dead and more than 100 injured.
The protests, lootings and arson attacks came after Vietnamese ships and personnel repeatedly harassed operations of a Chinese oil company in waters surrounding China's territorial Xisha Islands.