Date
25 September 2017
Deployment of the same rig, HYSY981, in disputed waters gave rise to anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam in 2014. Photo: COSL
Deployment of the same rig, HYSY981, in disputed waters gave rise to anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam in 2014. Photo: COSL

Remove oil rig from disputed waters, Vietnam tells China

Vietnam said it had told China to pull an oil rig from waters between the two countries that haven’t been demarcated and urged Beijing not to drill for oil or gas in the area, The Wall Street Journal reported.

China National Offshore Oil Corp. towed the same rig, known as HYSY 981, into a disputed area of the South China Sea in May 2014, triggering an uproar in Vietnam.

Anti-Chinese riots broke out in several parts of the country at the time, while Chinese and Vietnamese coast guard and fishing vessels stood off against each other at sea.

In a statement on Vietnam’s government website Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said China last pulled the rig to its present location in the mouth of the Gulf of Tonkin on Sunday.

It was towed to a nearby location in January.

“Vietnam strongly protests this and demands that China drop its drilling plans and move it out of the area,” Binh said.

He said Vietnam had lodged an official protest with China’s embassy in Hanoi.

Last week, Vietnamese authorities seized a Chinese ship they said had illegally entered Vietnamese waters carrying 100,000 liters of diesel fuel.

State media in Hanoi quoted the captain of the three-man vessel as saying the boat was supplying oil to Chinese fishing boats in the area.

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