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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
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