Chinese border gates still open, Vietnam says

By Minh Anh, Thanh Nien News

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A Vietnamese truck transports farm produce to China through Tan Thanh pass in the northern province of Lang Son on May 20, 2104. PHOTO: MINH ANH
Authorities in the northern province of Lang Son have denied rumors that they'd closed border gates with China due to mounting tensions over the nation's illegally positioned oil rig.
Activities at border gates like Huu Nghi, Tan Thanh, Coc Nam, and Chi Ma have continued normally, according to the relevant provincial agencies.
Nguyen Van Binh, vice chairman of the Lang Son People’s Committee, also denied Chinese media reports that Chinese authorities had closed the Huu Nghi (Friendship Pass) gate between Dong Dang Town and Youyi Town, Giao Duc Viet Nam (Vietnam Education) online newspaper reported.
All the activities along the border and throughout the province remain normal, he said.
Huu Nghi is one of nine land gates that began linking Vietnam and China under an agreement signed in November 2009.
The agreement is valid for 10 years, and will automatically extend for another 10 years, if neither of the signatories requests its termination six months prior to the deadline.
According to the agreement, if one of the countries wishes to temporarily close a pass, it is obliged to inform the other of the closure at least five days in advance through diplomatic channels.
Vietnam and China expressed plans to open another 13 land passes once suitable conditions arose, VnEconomy reported.
One May 1 China deployed a US$1-billion oil rig into Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone off the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands, raising tensions.
The move inspired crowds of Vietnamese to hold protests across the country.
A number of these demonstrations turned violent last week with rioters looting, burning and vandalizing the factories and offices of hundreds of foreign companies in Ho Chi Minh City, the southern provinces of Dong Nai and Binh Duong, and the central province of Ha Tinh.
The violence prompted Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to order officials at every level of government to tighten security for foreign investors, prevent further riots, and punish violators.
More than 1,000 people have been arrested for rioting in central and southern Vietnam, police reported. 

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