News / Asia

Analysts: China Planted Oil Rig to Test Vietnamese Resolve

Officers of the Vietnamese Marine Guard monitor a Chinese coast guard vessel (top) on the South China Sea, about 210 km (130 miles) offshore of Vietnam, May 15, 2014.
Officers of the Vietnamese Marine Guard monitor a Chinese coast guard vessel (top) on the South China Sea, about 210 km (130 miles) offshore of Vietnam, May 15, 2014.
Sarah Williams
China’s decision to place an oil rig in waters claimed by Vietnam has raised the stakes in the showdown over the South China Sea.  As the week came to an end, violence and lack of diplomatic talk indicate indicate tensions between China and Vietnam are not getting better. 

China claims almost the entire maritime region, despite various competing claims from the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei, in addition to Hanoi.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung says by placing the oil rig near the Paracel Islands China has “seriously threatened peace and stability.”

Beijing says Vietnam’s claim to the region is “ridiculous,” with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang calling the islands the “indisputable territory of the Chinese people.”

Vietnamese outrage over the Chinese oil rig triggered anti-China protests that killed at least two people earlier this month.

In addition, a Vietnamese fishing boat sank this week after it was allegedly rammed by Chinese vessels.  Vietnam says four other ships were surrounded and rammed by Chinese vessels two days later.

Two experts spoke to VOA about the Chinese decision to place the oil rig in contested waters at this time, knowing it would provoke outrage from Vietnam.

“I think it’s part of a long-term pattern of testing the responses of states around the region, ranging along the spectrum of much weaker states like the Philippines up to Japan and the United States,” said Michael Auslin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

“There are moments of opportunity and this seemed to be one where they could get away with really trying to stake their claim in waters that by almost any definition are Vietnam’s,” Auslin said.

John Tkacik, the director of the Future Asia Project at the International Strategy and Assessment Center in Alexandria, Virginia, agrees with the perception that this was a calculated move by Beijing.

“I think this has been in the works for a long time,” Tkacik said.  “One just doesn’t just get a $1.2 billion oil rig and plunk it in the South China Sea as a way of sending a signal on the spur of the moment.”

The dispute is complicated by China’s preference to deal with the countries involved individually, instead of through an organization like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN.  That has made the other members of ASEAN concerned about China’s growing might. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping says China works to resolve peacefully issues of maritime sovereignty, and questions Asian countries that seek alliances against neighbors.

“If you look ahead, clearly the ground is shifting against China, I would argue, in terms of perceptions and the degree to which other Southeast Asian nations are willing to let it expand without type of hedges around it,” said Auslin. 

Vietnamese officials indicate they might take legal action against China concerning the oil rig and attacks against Vietnamese ships.  The U.S. might help the Southeast Asian nations in this regard, according to John Tkacik.

“International law, on the Law of the Sea, to be specific, is on the side of the non-China claimants here,” he said.  “The United States is in a position to play a leadership role in forcing this issue into an international arbitration.”

You May Like

As US Strikes Syria, China Sees Parallels at Home

Beijing is debating how much support to give international coalition against IS militants and trying to figure out how many Chinese nationals may have joined group overseas More

CDC: Ebola Could Infect 1.4 M by 2015

US health officials say if efforts to curb the outbreak are not increased, cases will soar dramatically by early next year More

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in 5 Countries

US Agency for International Development partners with celebrities to call attention to importance of education for girls worldwide More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Yee Kai Ming
June 03, 2014 3:59 AM
British processed British Indian Ocean Territory that belongs to Mauritius.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Indian_Ocean_Territory

USA Processed Smith Island, Maryland
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_Island,_Maryland


by: stan from: usa
June 03, 2014 12:07 AM
No Faye faye. That's kind of twisting it a bit. China simply is pushing the issue. They feel threatened by the USA and are trying to test our resolve to our Asian allies. Those are pretty clearly Vietnamese waters. The evil USA you say? Should we discuss Chinese human rights? Tibet? I mean really.


by: Faye Faye
June 01, 2014 1:07 AM
The territory has been part of China's since the Han Dynasty, 1000 years ago.

The usa, britain and China made the Cairo Declaration and Potsdam Declaration in 1945 requesting japan to return all the territories to China from japan's occupation. Japan accepted that the territories being part of China and signed the declaration, which included the Islands in the East and South China seas, the current so-called dispute area.

In 1970, after the discovery of oil in China's territories, everyone has chosen to ignore the declarations and came to loot China's territories.

The evil usa, in order to stop the rise of China, shuts the mouth up about the declarations, and even encourages those greedy countries, such as japan, vietnam and the philippines to steal China's territories.



by: MesaAsianMan from: USA
May 31, 2014 8:09 PM
Can you all see?? China now wants to be alliance with Russian and Iran, those three will try to take over the world just like the Nazi and Italian and Japanese in WWII.


by: Vic from: USA
May 31, 2014 3:59 PM
If you are Chinliar then I don't have anything to say. The Chinliar from China always rob from small countries, steal from big countries and copy ideas from everybody. Chinliar you can look at map of China from 1917, 1920, 1930 1945, where are those island on those map? And now cow tongue, you want to have a cow tongue, you speak with your cow tongue.


by: Tuan from: VN
May 31, 2014 3:50 PM
China want the world to know that they can make rules and do whatever they want. They are stil smoking weed from the West.

With China there are no laws. The strong live, the end!

Vietnam don't play chicken. A M79 is enough to make the rig disappeared. Then international laws shall be enforced. China will be embarassing one more time for history.


by: Andy from: Canada
May 31, 2014 3:05 PM
I challenge Auslin to provide historical facts that support what he said: "...in waters that by almost any definition are Vietnam’s”


by: Toan from: US
May 31, 2014 2:20 PM
China is doing what its emperors did from the time immemorial through its core belief of Great Han ethnic expansionism. Nothing new, it just replaces swords and bow arrows with missiles and torpedoes. The Han Chinese somehow still believe that they own Asia. They got away with Tibet, East Turkestan invasions during the moment when Western powers were exhausted after WWII and believe they can get away this time with the whole South China Sea invasion. This time things are different for a change. Vietnam and Philippines are not Tibet nor East Turkestan. China under Xi made one step closer to the path of German Na-zi Thrid Reich. Xi - the new Fuhrer of China - threatens to attack Japan, Philippines and Vietnam in the same time. This is a hallmark sign for the beginning of downfall of all evil empires.


by: Eric the truth from: Earth
May 31, 2014 1:06 PM
The U.S. government and her western media all spoke with one voice. They don't talk about the multiple oil rigs Vietnam has built and owed over the years in the South China Sea in the waters still disputed by both China and Vietnam generated 30 billion of revenue to their communist government in 2013. Yet when China exercised her sovereignty built her first oil rigs in her territorial waters in her economic zone, the United States and Vietnam and the Media come to the attack of China. Only if the people are telling the truth, this world will not be a better and safer world.


by: Jonathan huang from: Canada
May 31, 2014 10:44 AM
“International law, on the Law of the Sea, to be specific, is on the side of the non-China claimants here,” he said. “The United States is in a position to play a leadership role in forcing this issue into an international arbitration.”
Did America ratify the UNCLOS yet? If not, then sh ut up.
Btw, the nine dash line was first published by Taiwan, ROC in 1947, no country complained in 40 years until oil found there! Greedy viet and fino, get out of China sea!

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'i
X
Scott Stearns
September 23, 2014 10:52 PM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video US, Gulf Allies Strike Islamic State Militants in Syria

United States forces have carried out strikes against Islamic State or ISIL militant positions in Syria - the first time Western forces have taken action on Syrian soil. Five U.S. allies from the Gulf joined the military action. Local reports suggest dozens of militants were killed. The U.S. also carried out unilateral missile strikes against a Syria-based terror group which Washington says poses an imminent threat to the West. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Used to Kill Cancer Tumor

There is a new way of killing certain cancer tumors that allows the patient to go home on the same day. Surgeons at the Keck Medical Center of the University of Southern California became the first doctors to use this procedure on a patient with the help of high intensity focused ultrasound, or HIFU, and new robotic technology. Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in Five Countries

Hollywood stars Alicia Keys, Jennifer Garner and 30 others have voiced their support for a U.S.-backed initiative called "Let Girls Learn." The $231 million program, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, is aimed at ensuring public and quality education for girls worldwide. As VOA's Mariama Diallo reports, this new program will focus on five countries in Africa, South Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
Video

Video UN: Relocation of Bedouins in Israel Weakens Two-state Solution

Rural Bedouins living in disputed lands east of Jerusalem could soon find themselves forcibly relocated. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Jerusalem that while Israel defends the move as in the Bedouins’ best interests, the United Nations says the plan threatens the survival of the two-state solution with Palestinians.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Prolonged Drought Plagues SW Oklahoma Farmers

Parts of western Texas and southwestern Oklahoma have been in drought conditions for several years running and the deficit in rainfall has taken a heavy toll on cotton and grain production. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin says the state has suffered $2 billion in agricultural losses since 2011. There has been rain in recent weeks, but, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Altus, Oklahoma, for most farmers it has been too late.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid