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Vietnam Registers Disapproval After Chinese Oil Rig Returns to Disputed Waters

No matter how the rest of the international community tries to reason with China, it seems Vietnam's northern neighbor will do as it pleases. First, it was an oil rig in the East Sea, then some island-building, a few scuffles between Chinese and Vietnamese fishing boats, a series of airplane landings and now, once more, the oil rig. We have come full circle.

According to Tuoi Tre, China has moved its Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig into disputed waters once again, drawing the ire of Vietnamese civilians and officials alike.

“Vietnam requests China does not conduct drilling actions and withdraw Hai Duong 981 from this area,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh said in a statement, according to Thanh Nien. The spokesman used the Vietnamese name for the Chinese oil rig. “Vietnam reserves all legal rights and interests to this area, which are in accordance with international laws.”

The Chinese oil rig is currently situated in a location where sovereignty is still disputed, 21 nautical miles east of the median line which separates Vietnamese and Chinese territory. According to Tran Cong Truc, former head of Vietnam's border board, international law and diplomatic agreements between the two countries stipulate that all activities which take place in this area must have the consent of both nations, reports Tuoi Tre.

In the aftermath of the news, Vietnamese and Chinese officials met on Monday, reports the New York Times. Vietnam urged its northern neighbor to remove the oil rig from these waters, while China maintained that the Haiyang Shiyou 981 was already within its territorial waters.

[Photo via The Japan Times]

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