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  • » 07/16/2014, 00.00


    South China Sea: Beijing removes contentious oil rig

    The rig, built at the beginning of May off the Paracel Islands, resulted in naval battles and violent anti-China protests in Vietnam. The Chinese energy giant will analyze the data provided, but the results already emerging show "traces of oil and gas". Next steps under consideration; but China has already announced the placement of three more platforms.

    Hanoi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Beijing has started to remove the South China Sea oil rig that sparked a serious diplomatic row with Hanoi which degenerated into targeted attacks by Vietnamese nationalists against foreign multinationals.

    The rig, located in disputed waters between the two Asia-Pacific nations, has "finished exploration" and will be moved. This is confirmed by an official press release from the China National Petroleum Corp (CNCP), which will now proceed to analyze the data collected over two and a half months of activity.

    Tensions between Vietnam and China were sparked by China's decision to place platform for oil exploration in the disputed waters around the Paracel Islands last May 1. Beijing followed this up by sending naval ships, fighter jets and helicopters off the east coast of Vietnam to patrol the area.

    This exacerbated nationalist sentiments in a large portion of the Vietnamese population, which responded with violent protests including assaults and arson, leading to two deaths and more than 140 wounded. The United States also condemned the Chinese government's actions, calling it "provocative" and "aggressive"; it also led to repeated clashes between the both Vietnamese and Chinese Navies, with ramming maneuvers and exchanges of gunfire.

    Vietnamese coast guard sources and a group of local fishermen, confirm that the platform is being moved towards the Chinese island of Hainan. The removal operations began late yesterday evening. Signs of oil and gas were found in the operation," Xinhua quoted the CNPC statement as saying, and CNPC "will assess the data collected and decide on the next step". Moreover, in recent weeks, the Chinese government announced its intention to place three more oil rigs in disputed waters, provoking anger among Hanoi nationalists.

    Vietnam and the Philippines have been increasingly worried about Beijing's imperialism in the South China and East China seas. The Chinese government claims most of the sea (almost 85 per cent), including sovereignty over the disputed Spratly and Paracel islands, in opposition to Vietnam, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia.  For the United States, which backs the claims of Southeast Asia nations, Beijing's so-called 'cow tongue' line is both "illegal" and "irrational". Anyone with a hegemonic sway over the region would have a strategic advantage, in terms of seabed (oil and gas) development, but also in trade since two thirds of the world's maritime traffic goes through it.


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    See also

    16/05/2014 CHINA - VIETNAM - US
    South China Sea, Beijing accuses Hanoi of fomenting tension and will not give in
    The head of the People's Liberation Army, currently visiting the U.S., Vietnam is responsible for the escalation of anti-Chinese violence. Warning to Washington to stay out of dispute. China will continue the explorations and "ensure the safety of the platform". Vietnamese premier says protests are "legitimate".

    11/02/2017 13:15:00 CHINA – KOREA
    Scores of Protestant missionaries from S Korea arrested and expelled

    At least 32 have been expelled. Four more were arrested in recent days. They helped defectors from North Korea. In the past, local authorities turned a blind eye on their activities; now they forcefully apply rules on religious activities. Beijing is retaliating against Seoul’s decision to deploy THAAD.

    Convergence between Manila and Beijing over Spratly Islands

    09/04/2015 CHINA - SOUTH EAST ASIA
    Beijing’s strategy in the South China Sea: propaganda and the use of force
    Some satellite images released today show China claiming lands within the Philippines Economic Zone in the South China Sea. With the use of dredgers and the construction of dams, the Chinese are moving earth to submerged reefs, creating artificial islets. In addition to the long-standing claim to the Mischief Reefs (occupied by the Chinese in 1995 and claimed by Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines), China is illegally occupying six other reefs in the Spratlys islands. China’s action on the coral reefs began in February. Satellite images show that the man-made land will host ports, gas stations, and airstrips. Japan fears China’s rearmament in the region.

    07/05/2010 CHINA – JAPAN – VIETNAM
    Tokyo and Hanoi to challenge Chinese sovereignty in the East/South East China Sea
    Japan lodges a formal protest with China because one of ships threateningly approached a Japanese vessel. Vietnam complains about a unilateral fishing ban imposed by China in a disputed area also claimed by Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan.

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