Behind the removal of China’s oil rig Haiyang 981

19/07/2014


After the US Senate (S.RES.412) unanimously passed a resolution on July 10th which, among other things, called on China to withdraw a giant drilling rig and associated maritime forces from their current positions in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea, China on Wednesday, July 16th, moved an oil rig out of waters claimed by Hanoi after two months of drilling that triggered a near-breakdown in ties between the neighbors and led to deadly protests in Vietnam.
China is moving a drilling rig out of East Sea (South China Sea) waters, easing a two-month standoff that sparked deadly riots in Vietnam and tense encounters between Chinese and Vietnamese vessels.
China have removed it’s oil rig inside disputed water earlier than expected. The operation of HYSY 981 drilling rig inside Vietnam waters is scheduled to be finished mid-August.
According to China’s Foreign Ministry, “The HYSY 981 drilling rig has completed successfully its operation in waters off the Zhongjian Island of China’s Xisha Islands on July 15 and moved on to the project in Lingshui, Hainan as scheduled.”
The US welcomes China’s withdrawal of its oil rig Haiyang 981 from Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki made the statement at a press briefing on Thursday:“We welcome China’s announcement that it’s moving its oil rig from its location near the Paracels to an area closer to Hainan Island. The oil rig incident highlighted need for claimants to clarify their claims in accordance to international law to reach the shared understanding on appropriate behavior and activities in disputed areas.” She reiterated a call for a "voluntary freeze on provocative unilateral actions" to support implementation of the 2002 code of conduct for the South China Sea between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
The move could provide an opening for Beijing and Hanoi to repair relations and comes as the U.S. steps up criticism of China’s efforts to enforce its claims to the strategically important sea. But China’s government said its companies still had the right to explore the contested waters, raising the possibility that tensions could flare again.
Vietnam’s foreign ministry spokesman, Le Hai Binh, said Vietnam was determined to protect its sovereignty and demanded that China not move the oil rig back to “parts of Vietnamese waters stipulated by the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.”
Vietnam demanded that China never deploy a rig again in waters it claims in the region. "Vietnam is determined to defend its sovereignty and sovereign rights in accordance with international law," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Former Vietnamese ambassador to Beijing Nguyen Trong Vinh said China's removal of the rig didn't signal a change of attitude on behalf of the country.
"The removal of the oil rig from our continental shelf and exclusive economic zone is only temporary. Maybe they pulled out the oil rig ahead of the typhoon season. It does not mean that they have abandoned their resolve to take control of most of the East Sea," he said, using the Vietnamese term for the South China Sea.
China's Foreign Ministry said the rig was withdrawn because the typhoon season was beginning and the work had been completed. Beijing made it clear it was shifting the billion-dollar rig because it had completed its work, not because of the criticism of its actions.
Tran Cong Truc, former chief of the Vietnamese government’s border committee, said Vietnam would remain vigilant. “China’s South China Sea policy is aggressive, so the withdrawal of the oil rig is only a tactic, a responsive measure they need to take right now.”
Withdrawing the rig from near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea reduces the immediate risk of a naval standoff but will do little to mend relations between the two countries. Vietnam is a "peace-loving country, but don't wake the dragon".
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All comments [ 10 ]


Hoàng Lân 18/8/14 22:26

Vietnam was determined to protect its sovereignty and demanded that China not move the oil rig back to parts of Vietnamese waters stipulated by the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Quân Hoàng 18/8/14 22:28

China is a major power but they do not respect the convention [UNCLOS] to which they are a signatory.

Huy Lâm 18/8/14 22:29

China can not shade world with one hand. Dozens of international journalists had earlier been witnessed wrongdoing of China and promptly condemned China.

Phạm Hiếu 18/8/14 22:31

The rule of law is what makes the Asia-Pacific region stable, adding countries should adhere to international law, avoid resorting to force, and resolve conflicts peacefully.

Hùng Quân 18/8/14 22:32

Vietnam has appealed for global support to Vietnam to deal with the dispute by peaceful means and in line with international law, so that peace, security, safety and prosperity can be ensured in the region.

Lê Tín 18/8/14 22:36

China is very cunning, we should be cautiuos and alert.

Huy Quốc 18/8/14 22:37

With the rightness and proper responses, Vietnam will firmly protect the territorial sovereignty, China’s policy and ambition will shamfully fail.

Quốc Kiên 18/8/14 22:39

Objective information from the international press that China will not be able to fool the world public opinion about their unruly behavior.

Vân Nhàn 18/8/14 22:41

We need to prepare for next moves from China - big bad bully neighbor.

Quốc Cường 18/8/14 22:43

Yeah, China’s South China Sea policy is aggressive, so the withdrawal of the oil rig is only a tactic.

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