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Iran Press TV

Vietnam says China moves oil rig into disputed waters

Iran Press TV

Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:1AM

Vietnam says China has moved an oil rig into disputed waters in the South China Sea, calling on Beijing to stop drilling and remove the rig from the area.

Vietnam's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Le Hai Binh, said in a statement on Tuesday that Vietnam has raised concerns with China's embassy in Hanoi over the movement of Haiyang Shiyou oil rig, known as Hai Duong 981 in Vietnam.

'Vietnam demands that China not conduct any drilling activities and withdraw Hai Duong 981 oil rig from this area,' the spokesman said, adding, 'Vietnam reserves all its legal rights and interests in the area in accordance with international law.'

The movement of the oil rig sparked a stand-off between the two countries in 2014 after China towed the rig off Vietnam's central coast. It prompted a diplomatic row between the two countries and several anti-China demonstrations in Vietnam. Five people were killed in the protests and scores of Chinese factories in Vietnam were burned or looted.

China claims sovereignty over nearly all of the South China Sea, which is also claimed in part by Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines. The contested waters are believed to be rich in oil and gas.

The dispute has at times drawn in extra-territorial countries, particularly the United States, which have more often sided with China's rivals.

Beijing accuses Washington of meddling in the regional issues and deliberately stirring up tensions in the South China Sea. The US, however, says China is undergoing what it calls a land reclamation program in the South China Sea by building artificial islands in the disputed areas.

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