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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid