News / Asia

US Welcomes China Oil Rig Relocation

FILE - A Chinese Coast Guard vessel, with the disputed oil rig in the background, is seen in the South China Sea  June 13, 2014.
FILE - A Chinese Coast Guard vessel, with the disputed oil rig in the background, is seen in the South China Sea June 13, 2014.
Victoria MacchiTra Mi

The U.S. on Wednesday praised China's removal of an oil rig from disputed waters in the South China Sea, two months after its placement near the Paracel Islands sparked tensions with Vietnam.

Beijing says that after finding signs of oil and gas in waters claimed by both countries, the rig is being towed to the Chinese island of Hainan a month ahead of the announced end-date for drilling.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki Wednesday said the U.S. wants the issue resolved diplomatically.
 
"The oil rig incident has highlighted the need for claimants to clarify their claims in accordance with international law to reach a shared understanding on appropriate behavior and activities in disputed areas," said Psaki.

A 2002 Code of Conduct for the South China Sea, between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), should be the guiding document, Psaki added.

Moving the rig may, in part, be weather-related. Typhoon season has sent several storms through Southeast Asia already.

But the relocation still has political ramifications, says Carl Thayer, a security analyst with the Australian Defense Force Academy and a South China Sea expert. Primarily, he says, the move keeps the issue a bilateral one between China and Vietnam.

"It's to influence the debate in Hanoi, to prevent Vietnam from taking legal action against China as has been threatened, and to prevent Vietnam from aligning or stepping up its security cooperation with the United States," said Thayer.

Hanoi on Wednesday called the rig's placement "completely illegal" and demanded China not repeat the act.

Duong Danh Dy, a former Vietnamese diplomat to China, said in an interview with VOA's Vietnamese service that while Hanoi will never compromise its sovereignty, it will look for ways to peacefully settle the issue with Beijing.

"It's more likely that Vietnam will seek ways to ‘be in peace’ with China. Nevertheless, it’s really hard to have long-term peace with China. It’s not over yet, China will have further acts. It’s really hard to be China’s neighbor," said Dy.

Wang Zhen, of the China National Petroleum Corporation, has said the repositioning was a logistical decision. He said prospecting went as planned despite opposition from Hanoi.

"During the operation, as we've seen from the media reports, Vietnam held a series of protests and made disruptions. We oppose their actions from the angle of production. But we pushed forward our plan smoothly as scheduled and completed the task on time," said Zhen.

Boundary disputes in one of the world's most heavily navigated waterways created solidarity in recent months between Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam, which all challenge China's maritime claims.

China deployed the $1 billion state-operated oil rig in May, within what Vietnam considers its exclusive economic zone.

The rig's placement was seen as one of China's boldest yet to advance its wide-reaching maritime claims in the South China Sea, where it also has disputes with Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

Hanoi has accused China of firing water cannons at and ramming Vietnamese fishing boats, including one that sank. Beijing has said Vietnam is the aggressor and its ships are ramming Chinese vessels.

The dispute also led to mass anti-China riots last month in Vietnam.

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

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid