News / Asia

Chinese Experts: Oil Rig Removal Not Linked to US Pressure

Ships of Chinese Coast Guard near Chinese oil rig Haiyang Shi You 981 in the South China Sea, about 210 km (130 miles) off shore of Vietnam, May 14, 2014.
Ships of Chinese Coast Guard near Chinese oil rig Haiyang Shi You 981 in the South China Sea, about 210 km (130 miles) off shore of Vietnam, May 14, 2014.

Chinese scholars say Beijing's removal of a controversial oil rig from the South China Sea is part of a long-term strategy.

The United States, which says it does not take sides in the territorial dispute, welcomed the removal after calling Beijing's placement of the rig provocative.

The vessel's removal was announced just one day after U.S. President Barack Obama talked by phone with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.  It also took place just days after senior U.S. and Chinese officials gathered in Beijing for annual economic and strategic talks.

In an online post Thursday, Chinese scholar Zhang Hongliang said, “For China, this action is equal to agreeing to the U.S. demand that China cede the South China Sea."  That sentiment is being echoed by many on China's social media networks.

But Chen Yixin, a U.S.-China expert based in Taiwan, says Beijing is looking at the bigger picture.

“Mainland China clearly didn’t want this situation to expand.  Looking at things now, I wouldn't dare say it is a lasting withdraw, but mainland China is clearly patching up a quarrel and does not want a long-term confrontation with the United States," Chen said.

He added that Beijing is retreating now to make bigger gains later.

Zheng Hailin, a Hong Kong-based expert on the East and South China Seas, agrees.  He says moving the oil rig now is a long-term strategic move for China.

"Possibly China will consider another train of thought, that it must not meet Vietnam and the Philippines with up close force.  I believe that China is the embodiment of shifting directions and changing reasoning," he said. "Maybe China believes that the previous way of thinking is very unsuitable.  Using that kind of previous thinking can cause people to view China as intentionally intensifying problems.  Thus, I believe China is making concessions in order to advance."

Lin Yongxin, who works in Nanhai (South China Sea) Research Institute, said the timing of the move is a coincidence.

“This, this certainly isn’t surrendering to U.S. pressure.  This is because the timing is very coincidental, it’s only the mission arrangements," Lin said. "Of course, this move, I think, its effect will help a lot at alleviating the situation."

Lin said it is likely that more Chinese oil rigs will be back in the future because of the presence of oil and gas in the area.

The rig's placement in waters also claimed by Vietnam in May sparked more than two months of tensions, including non-lethal clashes involving ships along with anti-China riots in Vietnam.  

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Mandarin service.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs