China ‘surprised and shocked’ by Vietnam actions against its drilling rig

China has asked Vietnam to put a stop to its efforts to prevent CNOOC from carrying out drilling operation in the South China Sea.

On 8 May, Yi Xianliang, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of the Foreign Ministry of China and Li Yong, CEO of China Oilfield Services Limited (COSL) held a press briefing on China’s drilling operations in southern waters to the Zhongjian Island of the Xisha Islands of China, requiring the Vietnamese side to stop any form of disruptions of the Chinese company’s operations and elaborating on China’s position.

The Chinese side stated that since 2 May, the Vietnamese side has forcefully disrupted the normal drilling operations by COSL in waters off China’s Xisha Islands adding that the Chinese side is deeply surprised and shocked.

“The Xisha Islands are China’s inherent territory. There exists no dispute. The Chinese company’s operations in waters off China’s Xisha Islands completely fall within China’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction.

 

Related: Chinese ships crash into Vietnamese vessels amid offshore rig dispute

“Vietnam’s disruptions of the Chinese company’s normal activities have seriously violated China’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction, gravely affected the normal order of production and operation and the safety of China’s rig, and caused unnecessary troubles for China-Vietnam relations,” reads a statement by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Chinese side said it had to take more security measures in response to Vietnam’s disruptions, so as to ensure the order of maritime operation and the safety of navigation.

“The Chinese side requires the Vietnamese side to earnestly respect China’s legitimate and lawful rights and interests, come to its senses, immediately stop all forms of disruptions and withdraw all vessels and personnel from the scene,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China said in a statement.

Vietnam to protect its borders

To remind, China’s semi-submersible drilling Hai Yang Shi You 981 has been deployed in the disputed area of the South China Sea since May 2, with Vietnam claiming that the Chinese have violated Vietnamese maritime border by entering 80 miles into the Vietnamese continental shelf.

Vietnam claims that the rig is being escorted by as much as 60 Chinese ships used to protect the drilling unit.

“These vessels have intentionally hit and collided with Vietnamese law enforcement ships, including those of the Maritime Police and Fisheries Control, causing damage in human and property,”  said Vietnam’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

It continued: “Vietnam again demands that China pull out without delay the drilling platform and the related vessels, equipment and personnel from the Continental Shelf of Viet Nam, compensate for the damage in human and vessels and not take similar actions in the future. Viet Nam will spare no efforts to protect is legitimate rights in conformity with the international law.”

US eyeing situation

Jen Psaki, the spokesperson for the United States Department of State said today that China’s decision to introduce an oil rig accompanied by numerous government vessels for the first time in waters disputed with Vietnam is provocative and raises tensions.
Psaki, a former spokesperson for U.S. President Barack Obama, said:“This unilateral action appears to be part of a broader pattern of Chinese behavior to advance its claims over disputed territory in a manner that undermines peace and stability in the region.”
The rig
The rig in question, HYSY 981, is the first of its kind designed and manufactured in China. It has a maximum operating water depth of 3,000 meters and is capable of drilling 10,000 meters below the seabed. The rig drilled its first deepwater well in Liwan 6-1 district in the South China Sea in May 2012.China is the world’s most populous country with a fast-growing economy that has led it to be the largest energy consumer and producer in the world. China’s aim is to extract as much of its hydrocarbons reserves as possible in order to reduce oil imports.

Offshore Energy Today Staff, May 08, 2014

 

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