Vietnam could pay price for anti-China riots

Vietnam's ruling regime may find domestic expressions of rage against China useful for now. But if the Southeast Asian country isn't careful, it could pay a higher price for this week's rioting than it expects, according to analysis in this week's edition of The Economist.

Anti-China protesters march while shouting slogans in front of the Chinese embassy during a rally in Hanoi.
Mai Ky | AFP | Getty Images

Violent protests in Vietnam have left at least three people dead and resulted in the burning of many factories as rioters vented popular rage at Vietnam's much larger, neighboring country to the north. Vietnamese have become incensed by China's insertion of a huge oil drilling rig close to Vietnam's shores.

Protesters targeted Chinese facilities, and also burned factories from Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea.

And therein lies the potential problem, according to The Economist. "Vietnam's Communist Party built its legitimacy on robust economic growth, and it fears alienating foreign investors. It is unclear how far continuing unrest will harm the economy or affect back-channels with the Chinese government," the report said.

Protesters holding Vietnamese flags attempt to push down the front gate of a factory in Bien Hoa, Dong Nai province.
China foreign minister condemns Vietnam over riots

The White House, though almost certain to avoid assisting Vietnam overtly, called China's actions "provocative" in a statement on Friday.

Read the full story in The Economist here.