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

Multimedia Obama, Modi Resolve Nuclear Deal Issues

Leaders find resolution on issues of liability of suppliers to India in event of nuclear accident, US demands to track whereabouts of material supplied to country More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track 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.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid