China says moving 2nd rig closer to Vietnam | Global News
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China says moving 2nd rig closer to Vietnam

/ 05:26 PM June 19, 2014

In this May 7, 2014 file photo released by Vietnam Coast Guard, a Chinese ship, left, shoots water cannon at a Vietnamese vessel, right, while a Chinese Coast Guard ship, center, sails alongside in the South China Sea, off Vietnam’s coast as Chinese ships are ramming at Vietnamese vessels trying to stop Beijing from setting up an oil rig in the sea. China’s moves to assert its territorial claims in the South China Sea are giving fresh impetus to a Japanese push to play a bigger role in regional security, adding to the growing strains between the two Asian rivals. AP

BEIJING — China said Thursday it was moving a second oil rig closer to the Vietnamese coast in disputed waters, near where ships from the two countries have been ramming each other in a tense confrontation.

The 600-meter (1,970-foot) -long rig was being towed southeast of its current position south of Hainan Island and would be in its new location closer to Vietnam by Friday, the Maritime Safety Administration said in a notice on its website. It asked vessels in the area to give it a wide berth.

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Both installations will be inside what Vietnam claims as its continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

The shifting of the rig came as officials from both sides said they made no progress in talks Wednesday over the deployment of another Chinese rig on May 1 that sparked the current standoff. Each country accuses the other of violating its territorial rights and instigating ramming of the other’s ships around the rig.

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The first rig’s deployment also triggered anti-China demonstrations across Vietnam that led to attacks on hundreds of factories believed to employ Chinese workers, five of whom were killed and hundreds more injured. Many of the factories were built and run by investors from Taiwan, which has nothing to do with the current dispute.

Both rigs lie south of China’s Hainan province near the Chinese-controlled Paracel Islands that also are claimed by Vietnam. China’s military expelled Vietnamese troops from two of the islands in the group in 1974, and in 1988 also used force to kick Vietnam out of Johnson South reef in the Spratly Islands to the east.

The border between China and Vietnam in the area has never been properly demarcated.

China claims virtually all of the South China Sea, rich in natural resources and one of the world’s busiest sea lanes, bringing it into disputes with neighbors that also include the Philippines, a U.S. ally.

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TAGS: China, Maritime Safety Administration, oil rig, Paracel Islands, South China Sea, Vietnam
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