China’s planting oil rig in East Sea breaks Vietnam-China commitment: ex-official

By deploying its oil-drilling rig to the East Vietnam Sea for oil and gas exploration on Thursday, China has violated the relevant commitment of Vietnam and China

The location of China's oil drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou 981 in the East Vietnam Sea

China has violated international practice and the relevant commitment of Vietnam and China by deploying its oil-drilling rig to the East Vietnam Sea, a Vietnamese ex-official in charge of border affairs has said.

Dr. Tran Cong Truc, the ex-chief of the Vietnamese government’s Border Committee, made the statement while talking with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper about China’s deployment of its Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil drilling rig in the East Vietnam Sea again for oil and gas exploration on Thursday, after removing it from the sea nearly a year ago.

According to the Chinese Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) announced, the platform has been located at 17°03'75’' North latitude and 109°59’05’’ East longitude, in an area west-northwest of Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago and south of the mouth of the Gulf of Tonkin.

The rig will conduct oil and gas exploration activities from June 25 to August 20, 2015, the MSA said.

By planting the rig in the sea, China has violated not only international practice but also the commitment of Vietnam and China on negotiating to delineate maritime boundaries in the overlapping area outside the mouth of the Tonkin Gulf, Dr. Truc said.

The current location of the platform is within the overlapping area on which Vietnam and China have been negotiating to reach a delineation of maritime boundaries between the two countries in the area, Truc explained.

As such a delineation has not yet to be made available, it is not possible to say that the rig is entirely lying in Chinese waters, he added.

“When the said negotiation has yet to come any agreement, no parties involved can take any unilateral action in this the overlapping area,” the ex-official stressed.

If a party wants to conduct any activity in the overlapping area, both parties may agree to a temporary solution for such activity, Truc said.

He added that Vietnam has suggested a negotiation on this issue with China, but China ignored it.

Last year, Beijing illegally planted the same rig 80 miles deep into Vietnam's continental shelf and exclusive economic zone from early May to July 16, despite strong protests from Hanoi as well as the international community.

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