Free Press Journal

China moving 2nd oil rig closer to Vietnam


Beijing: Unfazed by a diplomatic standoff with Hanoi, China today said it was deploying another oil rig close to Vietnam, even as it expressed willingness to work with the ASEAN to promote a code of conduct in disputed waters of the South China Sea.

China’s Maritime Safety Administration said 600-metre- long rig was being towed southeast of its current position south of Hainan Island to a new location closer to Vietnam.

The shifting of the rig came as officials from both sides said they made no progress in talks yesterday over the deployment of the other Chinese rig on May 1 that sparked the current standoff.

Asked about the reports on movement of the second oil rig at a media briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, “As far as I have learnt the oil rig is in coastal waters of China’s Hainan Island.”

Meanwhile, China today said it is willing to work with the ASEAN to promote a code of conduct in disputed waters of the South China Sea.

“China is ready to work with the ASEAN for comprehensive and effective implementation of the declaration and steadily push forward consultations on a code of conduct (CoC),” Hua said.

Her’s comment came ahead of the 11th joint working group meeting between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct (DoC) of Parties in the South China Sea.

The meeting will be held from next Tuesday to Wednesday in Bali, Indonesia.

The ten-member ASEAN bloc is dominated by Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei which seriously contest China’s claims over most of the South China Sea.

Maritime cooperation on navigation security and joint search and rescue will be discussed during the meeting, Hua said.

China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi held talks with Vietnamese leaders in Hanoi yesterday to ease tensions during which the two sides reiterated their claims over the islands.

During the talks, Yang told Vietnamese leaders, Hanoi should stop hyping up on the dispute and stop creating new tensions, Hua said.

Both sides should properly deal with the fallout from recent violent incidents and Vietnam should take concrete actions to ensure safety of Chinese companies, she said.

Four Chinese were killed and over 100 injured in anti-China riots in Vietnam in May and Beijing has evacuated over 7,000 Chinese workers from Vietnam after a number of Chinese factories were damaged in the violence.