Date
20 September 2017
A Vietnamese patrol ship captain is seen with a Chinese Coast Guard vessel in the background in disputed waters where China has deployed a US$1 billion oil rig. A second platform is under way to an area near the Gulf of Tonkin. Photo: Bloomberg
A Vietnamese patrol ship captain is seen with a Chinese Coast Guard vessel in the background in disputed waters where China has deployed a US$1 billion oil rig. A second platform is under way to an area near the Gulf of Tonkin. Photo: Bloomberg

China sending second oil rig to disputed waters near Vietman

China is sending a second oil rig to disputed waters off Vietnam, a day after talks over the first platform ended with no progress.

The Maritime Safety Administration in Beijing announced the move that appeared to signal China will press ahead to assert its claim to a strategically and commercially vital waterway despite rising regional tensions with other claimants, including Vietnam, the New York Times reported Friday.

Last month, China sent its biggest oil rig, a US$1 billion platform the size of a football field, to explore an area 17 miles off the Paracel Islands claimed by both Hanoi and Beijing.

Also, China began shoveling sand and rock onto shoals and reefs in the Spratly archipelago, which is also contested, several months ago to create islands big enough to house buildings and surveillance equipment.

A Philippine surveillance photo shows an island that China has created on a reef among the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, the report said.

The dispatch of the second rig, owned by the China National Offshore Oil Corp., began Wednesday, according to an announcement by the maritime administration.

The rig, which is being towed from a site south of Hainan Island in China’s most southern province, is expected to reach its new location near the mouth of the Gulf of Tonkin by Friday.

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SK/RA

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