Vietnam Shutdowns Joint Website with China over Paracel Dispute

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May 18 – Vietnam has closed the website it ran jointly with China, in protest over escalating tensions over the Paracel islands in the South China Sea.

Both China and Vietnam has claimed sovereignty on the islands. The website was then created in 2006 to promote bilateral trade when tensions over the Paracel issue worsened recently after the Chinese Ministry of Trade posted an article criticizing Vietnam’s claim.

The article elicited protest from the Vietnamese with the Labor newspaper reacting to the Chinese statement and saying it was “untruthful, doing harm to Vietnam-China relations.”

An official at the Vietnamese trade ministry, Tran Huu Linh, confirmed that the web site has already been shutdown and did not give more details regarding the closure.

The dispute over the Paracel islands has been been going on for several decades now. The islands are made up of more than 30 islets, sandbanks or reefs in an area of 6,000 square miles.