China Blames Vietnam for Collisions, Calls for Talks

Joseph Keefe
Thursday, May 08, 2014

China says Vietnam intentionally collided with its ships in disputed waters. Official says no reason to suspend oil rig operations, demands Vietnam withdraw. The dispute tests Vietnam's uneasy ties with neighbor. Separately, Vietnam stock markets tumble on fears of conflict.

China accused Vietnam on Thursday of intentionally colliding with its ships in the South China Sea, but called for talks to end a bitter row sparked by Beijing's parking of a giant oil rig in contested waters.

A senior foreign ministry official in Beijing demanded that Vietnam withdraw its ships after its southern neighbour asserted that Chinese vessels used water cannon and rammed eight of its vessels at the weekend near the rig. Hanoi said two vessels were badly damaged and six people were wounded in the worst setback to ties between the two Communist nations in years.

China said the drilling operations were being carried out in its territory and it had acted with the "utmost restraint" in using water cannons in response to rammings it blamed on Vietnam.

Yi Xianliang, deputy director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs, said China had only sent civilian vessels to the area while Hanoi sent several armed ships.

"Our aim, our only aim, is to guarantee our reasonable, legal, normal drilling operations," Yi said, adding China had no choice but to increase its security measures in response to what he said was Vietnam's provocations.

"The operations by China in the waters off Triton Island in the Paracel Islands are China's sovereign right and have nothing to do with Vietnam," he told reporters at a hastily-arranged press briefing, referring to the part of the South China Sea where the rig has been operating.

China has parked about 80 ships around the rig, Vietnamese officials have said, adding that seven of them were military. Its foreign ministry has shown reporters what it said were video clips of Chinese ships hitting Vietnamese Seaguard vessels.

"We don't care about what China said," Ngo Ngoc Thu, vice commandant of Vietnam's coast guard, told Reuters on Thursday.

"We have been only doing our job which is protecting our territory and sovereignty. We only sent ships following the laws but China has missile ships supporting its civilian ships."

Yi's comments were a departure from earlier remarks by Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping, who said he believed there had been no "clash" at sea, although he said he did not have detailed knowledge of what had happened.

China was willing to try and resolve the issue with Vietnam via talks, but Hanoi had to withdraw its ships, Yi added.

"We can appropriately resolve this issue. We have the ability, the confidence and the wisdom to do so," he said.

The two Communist nations have sought to put aside border disputes and memories of a brief border war in 1979. Vietnam is usually careful about comments against China, for which it relies on for political support and bilateral trade that surpassed $50 billion in 2013.

Still, Hanoi has strongly condemned the operation of the drilling rig, the first such action by Beijing in contested waters, and told the owners, China's state-run oil company CNOOC, to remove it.

LEGAL ACTION


Hanoi has also hinted at international legal action and said it had requested dialogue with China's leadership, but was awaiting a response.

Daniel Russel, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific, reiterated Washington's concerns about "dangerous conduct and intimidation by vessels" in the disputed area. He met senior Vietnamese leaders on Thursday and said the row had been discussed at length.

"It's fair to say both Vietnam and China have rights to claim sovereignty over the Paracels (islands)," Russel told reporters in Hanoi.

"It is not for the U.S. to say which position is stronger. It's within the rights of the United States and the international community to call all parties to address the dispute in a peaceful way."

The row with its neighbour sent Vietnam's stocks markets plummeting on Thursday. The benchmark VN Index in Ho Chi Minh City closed down 5.9 percent, its biggest one-day fall in nearly 13 years, while the smaller Hanoi bourse dropped 6.4 percent, its biggest slump since May 2010.

The row comes days after U.S. President Barack Obama visited Asia to underline his commitment to allies including Japan and the Philippines, both locked in territorial disputes with China.

Obama, promoting a strategic "pivot" towards the Asia-Pacific, also visited South Korea and Malaysia, but not China. Washington has been trying to court Vietnam as a new ally in the region with trade and military incentives, ostensibly to lessen Hanoi's uneasy dependence on Beijing.

However, regional military and diplomatic sources who have been briefed on U.S. navy movements said Washington had not deployed any warships close to the disputed area, although routine surveillance flights over the South China Sea were on-going.

Tensions are also brewing in another part of the sea, with Beijing demanding that the Philippines release a Chinese fishing boat and its crew seized on Tuesday off Half Moon Shoal in the Spratly Islands.

Philippine police said the boat and its crew were seized for hunting sea turtles, which are protected under local laws.

 

By Ben Blanchard and Nguyen Phuong Linh

Maritime Reporter August 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Finance

Impact of CITGO Oil Refineries Sale: Analysis

A sale of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA’s Citgo refining assets could dramatically change crude oil flows: Poten & Partners consider the outcomes in their latest 'Tanker Opinion'.

Dun & Bradstreet Partners Oracle to Reach for Cloud Solutions

Oracle and Dun & Bradstree, the world's leading source of commercial information and insight on businesses, today announced they have partnered to extend Oracle's

Chariot Oil & Gas 1H 2014 Interim Results

Chariot Oil & Gas Announce Interim Results for 1H 2014 Chariot Oil & Gas Limited, the Atlantic margins focused oil and gas exploration company, today announces

Patrol Boats

Swiftships Shipbuilding Awarded Iraqi Navy Support Contract

The US Department of Defense informs that Swiftships Shipbuilding, L.L.C., Morgan City, Louisiana, is being awarded an $18,000,000 not-to-exceed contract for the

Canada’s New Patrol Vessel Christened

Entry into service of Canadian Coast Guard's new mid-shore patrol vessel, the CCGS Caporal Kaeble V.C., was inaugurated by The Honorable Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure,

MN 100: Tampa Yacht Manufacturing LLC

4350 62nd Avenue North Pinellas Park, FL 33556 Tel: (727) 954-3435    Email: robert.stevens@tampa-yacht.com Website: www.tampa-yacht.com President & CEO:

Coast Guard

U.S. to Join Anti-Piracy Organization: USCG Admiral on Council

The USCG informs that the U.S. is due to become the 20th nation to join the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP),

Canada’s New Patrol Vessel Christened

Entry into service of Canadian Coast Guard's new mid-shore patrol vessel, the CCGS Caporal Kaeble V.C., was inaugurated by The Honorable Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure,

US Joins Antipiracy Organization

U.S. Coast Guard admiral to serve on governing council The U.S. will become the 20th nation to join the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and

Maritime Safety

BMT Nigel Gee To Launch Project L3 at Monaco Yacht Show

BMT Nigel Gee, a subsidiary of the BMT Group, will be launching its latest innovative design, ‘Project L3’ at the Monaco Yacht Show. Building on Nigel Gee’s

Naming of M/V “SITC SHANDONG” at CSBC Shipyard

The Naming Ceremony of M/V “SITC SHANDONG” was held yesterday in Keelung Factory of CSBC Corporation, Taiwan, by SITC International Holdings Co., Ltd. (SITC International) and CSBC Corporation,

Aberdeen Harbour Installs Siklu Security Network

Aberdeen Harbour has extended its security solutions coverage using high-capacity backhaul from Siklu, the market leader in millimeter wave backhaul informs the Israel-based tech firm.

Eye on the Navy

Australia, New Zealand Navies Intercepts Drugs off Africa

A combined Australian and New Zealand operation 260 km off the coast of Africa has seized more than 5.6 metric tons of cannabis resin worth an estimated $280 million (AUD).

China's Navy Enters Strait of Hormuz

Bandar Abbas, home of Iran's navy and the main port in the strategically important Strait of Hormuz, is currently hosting two Chinese naval vessels on a five-day goodwill visit,

AN/SPY-1 SSSA Completes Critical Design Review

The Critical Design Review (CDR) stage for AN/SPY-1 radar Solid-State Switch Assembly (SSSA)'s high voltage modulator completed Aug. 26, confirming that the

Government Update

Aftermath of Scotland Independence Referendum: Platten Speculates

After the referendum debate on Scottish independence Guy Platten, Chief Executive Officer of the UK Chamber of Shipping has called for the divisions created by the campaign to be healed.

MSC Award Two Time-Charter Contract Modifications

The US Department of Defense informs that Offshore Service Vessels, Inc., and Sealift, Inc., have each been awarded time charter option extensions by the US Navy's

U.S. to Join Anti-Piracy Organization: USCG Admiral on Council

The USCG informs that the U.S. is due to become the 20th nation to join the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP),

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1356 sec (7 req/sec)