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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

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