Vietnam protests Chinese oil rig in disputed sea

2014-05-06 00:56:46 GMT2014-05-06 08:56:46(Beijing Time)
The CNOOC 981 rigThe CNOOC 981 rig
The CNOOC 981 rigThe CNOOC 981 rig

Vietnam demanded China stop oil drilling operations in a disputed patch of the South China Sea, saying on Monday that Beijing's decision to deploy a deep sea rig over the weekend was "illegal".

China dismissed the objections, saying the activity was being carried out in its territorial waters.

Last week, President Barack Obama signed a new defense pact with the Philippines aimed at reassuring Asian allies of American backing as they wrangle with Beijing's growing economic and military might.

The China Maritime Safety Administration posted a navigational warning on its website advising that the CNOOC 981 rig would be drilling in the South China Sea from May 4 to Aug. 15.

China's maritime administration also said that ships entering a 3-mile (4.8-kilometers) radius around the area are prohibited.

Vietnam's foreign ministry said the area where the rig was stationed lay within "Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf as defined by the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea".

"All foreign activities in Vietnam's seas without Vietnam's permission are illegal and invalid," the ministry said in a statement. "Vietnam resolutely protests them."

Vietnam's state-owned oil company, PetroVietnam, demanded that China National Offshore Oil Corporation "immediately stop all the illegal activities and withdraw the rig from Vietnamese waters."

Asked about Vietnam's objections, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the drilling was taking place in Chinese waters.


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