China's Oil Rig Movement into Vietnam’s East Sea is ‘Illegal’

National Times- The Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued announcement strongly opposing China’s Oil Rig operation within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.

The China Maritime Safety Administration posted a navigational warning on its website advising that the CNOOC 981 rig would be drilling in the South China Sea (Vietnam's East Sea) from May 4 to Aug 15.

Location of HD 981 rig has violated Lot 143 on the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam, 119 nautical miles away from Ly Son island and about 18 nautical miles from Tri Ton island of Vietnam's Hoang Sa archipelagoes.

Source from Vietnam News Agency quoted Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Le Hai Binh: “Any activity conducted by foreign countries in Vietnamese waters without permission is illegal and void”, saying the country absolutely opposes against the action.

Binh made the statement in response to reporters’ questions on a maritime notice issued by the China Maritime Safety Administration on May 3 saying that drilling rig HD-981 is operating at 15º 29’58’’ north latitude and 111º 12’06’’ east longitude from May 2 until August 15.

“Vietnam has full historical evidence and legal bases affirming its sovereignty over Truong Sa and Hoang Sa archipelagos as well as its sovereign right and jurisdiction over its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in line with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” he stressed.

Answering to Thanh Nien Online, international experts assert China continues to rely on “legal weapons” to confirm its sovereignty over the East Sea (Bien Dong).

Professor Carlyle A. Thayer (Australian Defence Force Academy), said: "This is a surprise move and it only adds tension to the current situation in the East Sea. With this move, China once again violates DOC".

"China knows the timing to cater for those attempts to confirm its presence in disputed waters, and from there proceed to assert the so-called ‘sovereignty’ " he added.

"Do not listen to what China says. Look at what Beijing does ". Professor Thayer said ASEAN countries should be informed of this action by China.

More cautious when making comments, but Dr. Mark Valencia (U.S.) maintains that: "This seems to be a serious violation of DOC".

This action taken by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) has violated sovereign rights and jurisdiction of Vietnam under the provisions of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Vietnam's state Oil and Gas Group PetroVietnam sent a letter to CNOOC on May 4 saying it strongly objected to China's action and “insisted CNOOC stop immediately the illegal activities and pull out Haiyang Shiyou 981 of Vietnam's waters.”

The aforementioned action by CNOOC goes against the spirit of cooperation between the two national oil corporation, contrary to the practice of international oil and gas activities as well as the motto of friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and China. Vietnam Oil and Gas Group requires CNOOC not to repeat similar actions

---------- Post added at 01:34 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:31 PM ----------


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