Tag Archives: Oil Rig

China’s HD-981 Oil Rig Returns, Near Disputed South China Sea Waters

Reports began emerging in the Vietnamese media on Thursday that China’s Haiyang Shiyou 981 (HD-981) oil rig—the centerpiece of last summer’s clashes between Vietnam and China—was being redeployed off the coast of China’s Hainan Island, in waters where the disputed exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of Vietnam and China overlap and west of the disputed Paracel Islands (known as the Xisha Islands in China). Vietnamese reports, citing a China Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) announcement, noted that the rig was deployed to the coordinates of 17°03’75’’ North and 109°59’05’’ East, approximately 120 nm from Vietnam’s coast, 63 nm from China’s Hainan Island coast, and 87 nm from the nearest Island in the Paracels (mapped below). According to China’s MSA, the rig will explore for oil and gas from June 25 to August 20. The MSA’s announcement, pictured below, warns nearby vessels that sailing “within 2000 metres of [HD-981]” is “prohibited.” According to one Vietnamese maritime law enforcement source who spoke to Tuoi Tre, Vietnamese authorities are closely watching HD-981′s movement. M. Taylor Fravel, a U.S.-based China scholar, noted that “EEZ overlap at that location is about 100 percent; both have active [oil] blocks on their side.” The coordinates given by China’s MSA suggest that HD-981 is closest to Vietnamese oil block 115, but the oil rig remains closer to China than Vietnam. Greg Poling, an analyst working on the South China Sea at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, notes that the coordinates provided by China’s MSA suggest that the rig is not yet within disputed waters (see map below).   Read more: http://thediplomat.com/2015/06/chinas-hd-981-oil-rig-returns-to-disputed-south-china-sea-waters/

China’s scrappiest enemy is a familiar foe

For the fifth time in 100 years, Vietnam is facing the prospect of being involved in a war with a larger, more powerful country. The country that took on the Central Powers, Japan, France, the United States, and China is facing the possibility of conflict with a familiar foe: China. As Beijing presses territorial claims in the South China Sea, Vietnam is arming itself for a potential air and sea confrontation with its larger neighbor. Despite the difference in size between the two nations, particularly in terms of military power, Vietnam is not backing down. Vietnam went to war five times during the 20th century. In World War I, Vietnamese troops served on Europe’s Western Front as part of France’s colonial forces. Vietnamese troops fought Japanese occupation forces in World War II, the French and American military between 1945 and 1972, and, briefly, China in 1979. Perhaps improbably, Vietnam won — or avoided losing — every time. China and Vietnam are two neighbors that historically do not get along. Vietnam has suffered political, military, and cultural domination from China for thousands of years.   Read more: http://theweek.com/articles/545503/chinas-scrappiest-enemy-familiar-foe

Vietnam joins Philippines in war of words against China island building

Vietnam has joined the Philippines in condemning China’s attempts to build islands in the East Sea in what analysts say could be yet another futile verbal effort to stop Beijing. “Vietnam resolutely opposes China’s illegal construction projects that jeopardize the status quo on the Truong Sa Archipelago,” Pham Thu Hang, deputy foreign ministry spokeswoman, said at a press briefing Thursday, using the Vietnamese name for the Spratly islands. “We demand that China immediately stop such reclamation work and not repeat similar wrongful actions,” she said, reiterating that Hanoi has indisputable sovereignty over the Spratly and Hoang Sa (Paracel) island chains in the East Sea, also known as the South China Sea. Since August, after withdrawing from Vietnamese waters the infamous oil rig that bedeviled Sino-Vietnamese ties, China has continued to pursue a number of land reclamation works around small islands in the Spratlys. The Philippines has since last year accused Beijing of reclamation work in the Cuarteron, Johnson, Johnson South and Gaven reefs also in the Spratlys. On Thursday Philippine foreign secretary Albert del Rosario repeated a warning that Beijing was reclaiming land around isolated reefs to turn them into islands which could hold fortified positions or even airstrips, AFP reported.   Read more: http://www.thanhniennews.com/politics/vietnam-joins-philippines-in-war-of-words-against-china-island-building-37955.html

South China Sea in 2015: Fears of war

Is war over the festering South China Sea (SCS) maritime dispute between China and the Southeast Asian claimants of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam inevitable in 2015? China’s rising assertiveness, the firmness of claimants like the Philippines and Vietnam and the big powers’ interest in the region, have led to fears that tensions might escalate into armed conflict between the contumacious China and one or two claimant countries in 2015, said a top US think-tank in a survey recently. The Washington-based Center for Preventive Action (CPA), a research wing of the Council on Foreign Relations, rated the SCS as one of top 10 potential conflicts in its Preventive Priorities Survey 2015. According to the survey, the other nine potential conflicts are Iraq, a large-scale terrorist attack on the US or an ally, North Korea, Israel’s attacks on Iran, the Syrian civil war, Afghanistan, Ukraine, cyber-attacks and Israeli-Palestinian tensions. “One high-priority contingency — an armed confrontation in the South China Sea — was upgraded in likelihood from low to moderate this year,” the CPA said. Throughout 2014, China, which has shown no signs of agreeing to a code of conduct (CoC), tried to continue its unilateral actions, known as “salami slicing” in the SCS, and appease ASEAN countries through trade, investments and loans. But Chinese actions created more concerns than ever. Like a drop of poison, the SCS has disrupted good relations between China and ASEAN claimant countries, as well as Indonesia. See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2015/01/22/south-china-sea-2015-fears-war.html#sthash.Jg6D1IJD.dpuf

The grand masterplan of China’s Xi Jinping

China’s shift away from muscle-flexing and a confluence of interests with a US-led order offer hope it will not continue to engender large-scale regional instability next year, says Yoon Young-kwan CHINA spent much of 2014 seeking to revive a concept that Japan proclaimed seven decades ago, when it was an imperial power seeking to impose its will on the region: “Asia for the Asians.” But that effort may not end as badly for China as it did for Japan. International relations tend to become destabilised by rapid changes in the distribution of power. Established powers’ resistance to their rising counterparts’ demands for a larger role in setting the global agenda fuel tensions and disrupt the existing world order. That is precisely what has been occurring lately between China and the US, and is the impetus for China’s “Asia for the Asians” policy.   Read more: http://www.irishexaminer.com/viewpoints/analysis/the-grand-masterplan-of-chinas-xi-jinping-304712.html

Vietnam joins Philippines in case vs China

MANILA, Philippines – Vietnam submitted its position on the Philippines’ historic arbitration case against China, the first time another South China Sea claimant formally used legal proceedings to challenge China’s expansive sea claims. Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs made the announcement on Thursday, December 11, in response to questions on its stand about China’s position paper rejecting the arbitration case. “To protect its legal rights and interests in the East Sea (Vietnam’s name for the South China Sea) which may be affected in the South China Sea Arbitration case, Vietnam has expressed its position to the Tribunal regarding this case, and requested the Tribunal to pay due attention to the legal rights and interests of Vietnam,” the ministry’s spokesperson Le Hai Binh said. Like the Philippines, Vietnam is also questioning China’s controversial 9-dash line, which Beijing cites to justify its claim over practically the entire sea. The 9-dash line is the main claim in the Philippine arbitration case, where Manila argues that it is inconsistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Last week, the US also released a study questioning the legal basis of the line. Yet Vietnam asserted its claims over the Spratly Islands, which the Philippines is also contesting.   Read more: http://www.rappler.com/nation/77868-vietnam-position-arbitration-china

South China Sea territorial dispute continues to be a hot topic

NAYPYITAW: The South China Sea territorial dispute continues to be a hot topic at the 25th Asean Summit that began here yesterday as leaders of the grouping are expected to address the issue in a statement to be issued by current Asean chair, Myanmar, today. The dispute is made more complex with China, one of the claimant countries, flexing its muscle in the disputed area and geopolitical rivalry in Asia between Beijing and Washington. According to an AFP report, Asean leaders are expected to express concern over recent developments in the South China Sea area, also claimed by Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan. Tensions over the dispute flared up most recently in May when China sent an oil drilling rig to waters claimed by Vietnam, triggering anti-China riots in the country. US President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang are both meeting Asean leaders in separate meetings here. Read more: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/11/13/South-China-Sea-territorial-dispute-continues-to-be-a-hot-topic/

South China Sea Dispute: Top Beijing Diplomat Set for Hanoi Talks to Smooth Waters

China’s leading diplomat has arranged to visit Vietnam next week, five months since tensions between the two countries erupted over a territorial dispute in the South China Sea. Yang Jiechi will meet with Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on 27 October, China’s foreign ministry said in a statement, where the two will discuss “Sino-Vietnam bilateral cooperation.” The two countries came to blows in May when a massive Chinese oil rig entered disputed waters close to the Paracel island chain. Both countries’ navies reported incidents of maritime aggression, claiming the other sides’ ships had rammed into their own. The flare-up sparked anti-China violence in Vietnam, where rioters torched a number of factories they mistook for Chinese businesses.   Read more: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/south-china-sea-dispute-top-beijing-diplomat-set-hanoi-talks-smooth-waters-1471568

Philippines pushes arbitration in China sea row

MANILA, Philippines (AP) The Philippine president said Wednesday that the international arbitration Manila has initiated to challenge China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and a legally binding “Code of Conduct” are the only ways to settle the long-raging disputes peacefully. The Philippines says that China has been intruding into its exclusive economic zone, including deploying two hydrographic ships in June near an offshore oil well inside Philippine waters. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has said Manila is uncertain of the purpose of the ships’ presence at the Reed Bank. Aquino said Wednesday that Chinese reclaimed land in the disputed waters, if used militarily, could be a “game changer” in the future settlement of the dispute. Countries in the region and those that use the busy sea lanes that straddle the South China Sea and the disputed Spratly island chain are concerned that the conflict could erupt into violent clashes.   Read more: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11346797

Joining Forces in South China Sea Defense Procurement

In mid-2014, the People’s Republic of China deployed an oil rig, protected by Chinese coast guard vessels, into waters claimed by Vietnam. Prior to this, the Chinese tried to prevent the resupply of Philippine Marines based on the Second Thomas Shoal in March 2014. Hence, buoyed by an economy that fuels its regional military preponderance, Beijing appears determined to realize its ambition of annexing the South China Sea and its territories. However, despite Vietnamese and Filipino naval inferiority vis-à-vis China, they need not resign themselves to the slow erosion of their sovereignty, eventual relinquishment of their Exclusive Economic Zones, and their claim to South China Sea territories. Indeed, Vietnam has recently acquired Russian Kilo-class submarines and ordered Dutch Sigma-class corvettes, while the Philippines has taken delivery of two former U.S. Coast Guard high-endurance cutters, in attempts to shore up their maritime projection capabilities. However, more needs to and can be done to balance the ever increasing Chinese deployment of coast guard vessels to the South China Sea.   Read more: http://thediplomat.com/2014/10/joining-forces-in-south-china-sea-defense-procurement/