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IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Boundary news Headlines

Vietnam raises concern over location of Chinese oil rig

(1 February 2016)

A dispute over the location of an oil rig has sparked tensions between Vietnam and China after the drilling platform operated by China Oilfield Services Ltd (COSL) moved into waters contested by the two countries.

In a statement the Vietnamese foreign ministry pointed that the rig was located in “an overlapping area between the two continental shelves” of Vietnam and Hainan Island, China, which “has not yet been delimited.”

Responding to these claims Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei stated that "according to what is understood, China's Haiyang Shiyou 981 drilling platform is operating in Chinese-controlled waters that are completely undisputed".

In 2014, China's deployment of the rig about 120 nautical miles off Vietnam's coast, in what Vietnam considers its exclusive economic zone, led to a breakdown in relations and anti-Chinese demonstrations soared into deadly riots.

The current location of the oil rig is 130 miles from the coast of Vietnam, which places it in roughly the same area as the conflict in 2014. There are however not signs of the heated escalation experienced then.