Mar 28, 2009
HANOI (AFP) — Chinese products and workers, rather than those from Vietnam, are being used for key industrial projects in the fast-developing country, a report quoted top officials as saying Saturday.
The strong Chinese influence is contentious because there remains widespread distrust in Vietnam of its big neighbour and especially its territorial ambitions in the region.
"Chinese contractors have won numerous key projects in the electricity, cement, building and chemical sectors... and sent thousands of workers and equipment to Vietnam," Tran Ngoc Hung, president of Vietnam Construction Association, was quoted saying.
The state-linked Tuoi Tre newspaper reported that one construction project in northeastern Quang Ninh province employs 2,000 Chinese workers and uses cement and electricity plants built by Chinese companies.
Tuoi Tre also quoted Tran Hong Mai, from the Ministry of Construction, as saying "Chinese contractors often won contracts" in Vietnam. He said they received "several forms of support from their country, including fiscal, to lower the price of the tender."
Vietnamese scientists and intellectuals have strongly denounced the government in recent months for having authorised Chinese companies to exploit bauxite under a project being developed in the Central Highlands.
They say the project threatens national sovereignty and the environment.
Vietnam’s famed war hero General Vo Nguyen Giap is among those who has urged the communist government here to reconsider plans for the mining.
China and Vietnam fought a short but bloody war in 1979 but in December finished demarcation of their long-disputed land border.
Territorial tensions remain however, particularly over the sovereignty of the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos in the South China Sea, claimed by both sides.