Vietnam demands China remove oil rig from overlapping area; protests lighthouse

By Toan Dao   April 7, 2016 | 03:36 am PT
Vietnam has demanded China withdraw an oil rig from an overlapping area in the East Sea, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh said in a statement on Thursday while responding to reporters’ questions.

China moved its HD 981 oil rig to an area outside the Gulf of Tonkin on April 3 that Vietnam and China are negotiating for demarcation, according to Binh.


Vietnamese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Le Hai Binh. Photo: Quy Doan

"Vietnam strongly objects and requests China to cancel its drilling plans, immediately withdraw the HD 981 rig from the area and not take any unilateral action to further complicate the situation," the spokesman said.

A Vietnamese ministry representative met with an official from the Chinese embassy in Hanoi on April 5 to hand over a diplomatic note protesting China's actions. Vietnam reserves its legal rights and interests over the area by all peaceful means and in accordance with international law, the statement said.

China has also begun operating a lighthouse on Subi Reef in Vietnam’s Truong Sa archipelagos, according to the Vietnamese statement.

“Once again, we affirm that Vietnam has full legal and historical evidence for its indisputable sovereignty over the Truong Sa and Hoang Sa archipelagos. China’s illegal and worthless action has seriously violated Vietnam’s sovereignty over the archipelagos,” the Vietnamese statement said, referring to China’s new lighthouse.

Vietnam has asked China to cease all actions that violate Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Truong Sa and Hoang Sa archipelagos, strictly comply with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Vietnam Sea (DOC), and avoid actions that could further complicate the situation, Binh said.

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