What Happened: Chinese and Vietnamese coast guard vessels have reportedly been engaged in a weeklong standoff in the Spratly Islands after a Chinese survey ship entered waters around the Vanguard Bank to conduct a seismic survey, the South China Morning Post reported July 12.
Why It Matters: Although information on the incident remains sparse, China previously deployed survey ships and oil rigs to the region and unilaterally announced exploration bids to limit other countries’ activities in disputed areas. Both China and Vietnam did not publicly announce the standoff, which suggests that neither side is currently interested in escalating the situation.
Background: China and Vietnam last clashed in 2014 after Beijing deployed an oil rig near the Parcel Islands.
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