China Never To Send Military To Oil Rig Spat With Vietnam

Posted by Joseph R. Fonseca
Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Chinese official said on Friday that China will never send military forces to the scene of an increasingly ugly spat with Vietnam over an oil rig in the South China Sea and accused Hanoi of trying to force an international lawsuit.

A senior U.S. official in Washington dismissed the Chinese statement as "patently ridiculous" and said Beijing had been using air force and navy as well as coastguard assets "to intimidate others."

Scores of Vietnamese and Chinese ships, including coastguard vessels, have squared off around the rig despite a series of collisions after the Chinese platform was towed into disputed waters in early May.

Vietnam has accused China of sending six warships, but Yi Xianliang, deputy director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs, said that Beijing had never sent military forces.

"I can tell you very clearly that from May 2 to today, including to when the (drilling) operations are complete, we have never, are not and will never send military forces. Because we are carrying out normal, civilian, commercial activities," he told a news conference.

"What I can tell you is that this is on a maritime route and at some periods there have been certain Chinese military ships coming back from the south but these have been far away" from where the standoff round the rig has been taking place, Yi added.

China claims about 90 percent of the South China Sea, but parts of the potentially energy-rich waters are also subject to claims by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

Beijing stations military forces on some of the numerous islands it occupies in the Spratly and Paracel Island groups in the South China Sea.

The Haiyang Shiyou 981 rig is drilling between the Paracel Islands and the Vietnamese coast. Vietnam has said the rig is in its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone and on its continental shelf, while China says it is operating within its waters.

The United States has not taken sides in the territorial disputes but has been strongly critical of China's behaviour in pressing its claims and called for negotiatiated solutions.

The U.S. official called Yi Xianliang's statement "a weak attempt to obscure what China is really doing."

"China has maintained a robust and consistent military presence near the oil rig since its placement on May 2, including flying helicopters and planes over and around the rig. There are currently multiple military vessels in the vicinity of the rig," he said.

The official said that on any given day, there were also Chinese navy warships in waters disputed with the Philippines.

Reiterating U.S. criticism of how China has handled maritime disputes with its neighbours, he said China's actions were "creating serious frictions" in relations with Washington.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung told Reuters last month his government was considering various "defence options" against China, including legal action, a move the United States has said it would support.

Yi Xianliang denied China was blocking any proposals by Hanoi for high-level dialogue or for a special envoy to travel to Beijing.

"I know that certain people in Vietnam, perhaps because they are trying to find another way to resolve the problem, are creating certain conditions. The so-called other route is the so-called lawsuit way," he said.

"...If this spreading of rumours or distorting of facts is to achieve the aim of lodging a lawsuit, then I have to say that this is a miscalculation."

The rig's deployment triggered anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam last month that killed at least four workers.

(Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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

Energy

Nation’s Vessel Operators Join EPA as SmartWay Affiliate

The American Waterways Operators, a 350-member trade association representing the U.S. tugboat, towboat and barge industry, announced today that it joined the SmartWay Transport Partnership,

Iraqi Kurdish Oil Nears US Port Despite Concern in Washington

A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan is just two days away from arriving at a U.S. port, according to ship tracking satellites, despite Washington's

New Crewboat Design for Offshore O&G Market

Upgraded crewboat design employs carbon-reinforced composite materials and is lighter, faster and more fuel-efficient than alternatives. Marine Oil Transportation

Maritime Security

House Subcommittee Hearing Highlights “Dismal State” of U.S. Icebreaking Capability

At the July 23, 2014, hearing of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation on “Implementing U.S. Policy in the Arctic” the committee chairman, Rep.

Mediterranean Boat People Numbers Near 100,000

Almost 100,000 boat people have made the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe this year, a roughly 60 percent increase on the whole of last year,

Bollinger to Build 6 More FRCs for the USCG

Bollinger Shipyards, Inc., Lockport, Louisiana, announced the award of six additional USCG Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutters (FRCs). The U. S. Coast Guard

News

House Subcommittee Hearing Highlights “Dismal State” of U.S. Icebreaking Capability

At the July 23, 2014, hearing of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation on “Implementing U.S. Policy in the Arctic” the committee chairman, Rep.

Iraqi Kurdish Oil Nears US Port Despite Concern in Washington

A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan is just two days away from arriving at a U.S. port, according to ship tracking satellites, despite Washington's

Phillips 66 Marine Fueling Facility Nears Completion

Phillips 66’s previously announced marine over-the-water fueling facility at its Richmond, Calif. terminal is nearing completion. The facility, located on Canal Boulevard, and known as Pier No.

Maritime Safety

House Subcommittee Hearing Highlights “Dismal State” of U.S. Icebreaking Capability

At the July 23, 2014, hearing of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation on “Implementing U.S. Policy in the Arctic” the committee chairman, Rep.

Mediterranean Boat People Numbers Near 100,000

Almost 100,000 boat people have made the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe this year, a roughly 60 percent increase on the whole of last year,

Hall Joins Bouchard Transportation

Retired Active Duty Coast Guard Commanding Officer Brian Hall has joined Bouchard Transportation Co., Inc., the nation’s largest independently-owned oceangoing petroleum barge company,

Vessels

QinetiQ Signs Contract with ASV

QinetiQ, as part of a new Marine Surface Target Service, has signed a contract with Autonomous Surface Vehicles (ASV) for the supply and operational support of autonomous surface target vessels.

Volvo Penta Diesel Sterndrives for Metal Shark Patrol Boats

Metal Shark now offers Volvo Penta diesel sterndrives in its 29 Defiant patrol boats for customers requiring optimum performance, durability and maneuverability.

Wilhelmsen Secures Inert Gas System Orders

Breakthrough order in Japanese shipbuilding market sees largest ever capacity Maritime Protection IG units delivered for leading domestic owners. Wilhelmsen

Offshore Energy

New Crewboat Design for Offshore O&G Market

Upgraded crewboat design employs carbon-reinforced composite materials and is lighter, faster and more fuel-efficient than alternatives. Marine Oil Transportation

2,545 Candidates Vie for 11 Positions at Maersk Drilling

Maersk Drilling reported 2,545 applicants for the 11 MITAS engineer positions available within the company in 2014. The Maersk International Technology and Science Program,

GDI Awards N-KOM US$110-M Contracts

Gulf Drilling International (GDI) Limited, a subsidiary of Gulf International Services (GIS), the largest oilfield service company in Qatar, has awarded two contracts

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators
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: 0.4040 sec (2 req/sec)