HANOI, July 16 Vietnam on Wednesday demanded
that China avoid sending any oil rigs into its territory, after
one of the Asian giant's oil rigs finished drilling near the
disputed Paracel islands in the South China Sea and was moved
towards a southern Chinese province.
Deployment of the rig on May 2 set off deadly anti-Chinese
riots in Vietnam, while scores of Vietnamese and Chinese ships
have regularly squared off around the platform. There have been
"Vietnam demands that China not take the Hai Duong-981 rig
back or bring in any other rigs for operation in the oil and gas
block 143 of Vietnam or any other areas in Vietnam's waters,"
Foreign Ministry official Le Hai Binh told Reuters in a
Binh urged China to respect Vietnam's sovereignty and
jurisdiction over its exclusive economic zone and continental
Hanoi says the rig was in its 200-nautical-mile exclusive
economic zone and on its continental shelf. Beijing says it was
operating completely within its waters around the Paracel
islands, which China occupies.
China claims 90 percent of the South China Sea. Vietnam, the
Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also claim parts of the
waters, whose estimated energy potential varies widely.
(Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)