News / Asia

US Withholds Judgment on China Oil Rigs

FILE - In this photo released by Vietnam Coast Guard, a Chinese ship (L) shoots a water cannon at a Vietnamese vessel (R) while a Chinese Coast Guard ship (C) sails alongside in the South China Sea, off Vietnam's coast, May 7, 2014.FILE - In this photo released by Vietnam Coast Guard, a Chinese ship (L) shoots a water cannon at a Vietnamese vessel (R) while a Chinese Coast Guard ship (C) sails alongside in the South China Sea, off Vietnam's coast, May 7, 2014.
x
FILE - In this photo released by Vietnam Coast Guard, a Chinese ship (L) shoots a water cannon at a Vietnamese vessel (R) while a Chinese Coast Guard ship (C) sails alongside in the South China Sea, off Vietnam's coast, May 7, 2014.
FILE - In this photo released by Vietnam Coast Guard, a Chinese ship (L) shoots a water cannon at a Vietnamese vessel (R) while a Chinese Coast Guard ship (C) sails alongside in the South China Sea, off Vietnam's coast, May 7, 2014.
Victor Beattie
The United States says it will withhold judgment for now on the intended destination of four new Chinese oil rigs in the disputed South China Sea.  It appears that Beijing is stepping up its exploration for oil and gas two months after positioning a giant drilling platform in waters also claimed by Vietnam.

China announced Friday it will send another four oil rigs to the South China Sea.  A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said they will operate off the coast of China’s Guangdong and Hainan provinces referring to them as ‘normal activities,’ adding there is no need to read too much into them.

 
China, Vietnam oil rig dispute, near Paracel IslandsChina, Vietnam oil rig dispute, near Paracel Islands
x
China, Vietnam oil rig dispute, near Paracel Islands
China, Vietnam oil rig dispute, near Paracel Islands
Last month, China set off a bilateral dispute with neighbor Vietnam by positioning an oil rig off the Paracel Islands and within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).  That sparked bilateral tensions including anti-China rioting in Vietnam, and confrontations between Chinese and Vietnamese vessels near the rig.  High-level talks in Vietnam last week failed to resolve the dispute.

Friday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said Washington is aware of reports China is towing additional oil rigs to different locations in the South China Sea.

"I think there’s not a great deal of information at this point as to where they’re headed," she said. "If a rig were placed in disputed waters, which would be a concern.  And, we certainly have a national interest in the maintenance of peace and stability in the region, so at this point we don’t have enough information about the intended destinations of these rigs, so we’ll hold back judgment until we know more."

 
FILE - Screen grab shows the Chinese Coast Guard ship 46001 (L) chasing a Vietnamese vessel near to the site of the Chinese oil rig in the disputed waters in the South China Sea, off Vietnam's central coast.FILE - Screen grab shows the Chinese Coast Guard ship 46001 (L) chasing a Vietnamese vessel near to the site of the Chinese oil rig in the disputed waters in the South China Sea, off Vietnam's central coast.
x
FILE - Screen grab shows the Chinese Coast Guard ship 46001 (L) chasing a Vietnamese vessel near to the site of the Chinese oil rig in the disputed waters in the South China Sea, off Vietnam's central coast.
FILE - Screen grab shows the Chinese Coast Guard ship 46001 (L) chasing a Vietnamese vessel near to the site of the Chinese oil rig in the disputed waters in the South China Sea, off Vietnam's central coast.
The United States criticized the placement of the first oil rig in early May off the Paracels as provocative and destabilizing.

China, which has competing territorial claims in the South China Sea with Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei, claims most of the waters as its inherent, historical territory.

Carl Thayer, professor emeritus at Australia’s University of New South Wales, who returned from a meeting on South China Sea disputes in Vietnam, says the more rigs China puts in place, the more difficult it will be for Hanoi to monitor them.

"One, two, three, four rigs would stretch Vietnamese paramilitary and fishery surveillance forces to the limit," he said. "Vietnam doesn’t have an awful lot of ships, I think there are 40 total in the coast guard, and they are one-half the size and weight of the Chinese vessels, at least.  So, it would be an unequal contest if Vietnam tried adopting the same kind of tactics of protesting."

Thayer says China has already indicated the disputed oil rig off the Paracels is a commercial exploration unit and will only operate between May 2 and August 15, in part due to the onset of the typhoon season.

"But, also by limiting the operations of the oil rig, it has a way to bow out, if you will, gracefully or, as a face-saver, they can just say the commercial activities are over and the rig will be removed," he said.

Thayer says, after August 15, it might be possible for a high-level Vietnamese delegation to go to Beijing in a bid to improve relations.  In any event, he says energy industry executives have told him the location of the Chinese rig is not an ideal place to go to first in search of gas.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
 Previous    
by: Miguel Chamintes
June 23, 2014 3:15 PM
To US, it is a disputed area in the South China Sea. To Vietnam or China, it is not a disputed area. Both Vietnam and China claim the sovereignty of the so called disputed area. As long as they don't fight (I mean military actions), US can only verbally warn them and that's it!
     

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs