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

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border From Mexico

    In remote areas of the Sonoran Desert, which straddles the US-Mexico, thousands of migrants face arid desolation

    Video Recycling is Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    It's an ancient craft that stretches back millennia - but despite Lebanon’s trash crisis providing a lifeline, remaining glass blowers face an uncertain future

    Meet the Alleged Killer of Cambodia’s Kem Ley

    What little is known about former soldier, troublesome Buddhist monk and indebted gambler, raises more questions than answers

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora