China Asks Vietnam to Stop South China Sea Oil Exploration

China asked Vietnam to cease oil exploration in the South China Sea’s disputed areas right away. China’s request was given a few days after its boats reportedly destroyed a seismic boat of a state-owned oil company of Vietnam, sparking conflict in the region.

Hong Lei, the spokesman of China’s Foreign Ministry, said that Vietnam must immediately end its exploration of oil in the South China Sea’s disputed areas and stop disrupting Chinese fishing boats to create a favorable atmosphere for related negotiations.

Regarding the allegations of Vietnam that Chinese boats destroyed its seismic vessel, Hong said that those accusations are not consistent with facts. The spokesman said that the area of the sea that Vietnam claims is in the overlapping regions between the Hainan Island of China and Vietnam.

Hong alleged that the Chinese were conducting fishing activities in an area of the sea which is totally acceptable, and Vietnam’s naval ship unfairly dispersed them. The two nations are in on-going negotiations regarding the area’s border and common development of that area of the sea, said Hong when requesting Vietnam to stop disrupting boats from China.

Two days back, PetroVietnam, the country’s state-owned oil and gas firm, claimed that the Chinese fishing boats damaged one of its seismic survey boats 69 kilometers from South China Sea’s Con Co Island. PetroVietnam further said that the Chinese boats crossed cables being laid by the Binh Minh 2 survey vessel off central Vietnam’s coast. The state-owned oil company fervently protests the action of China against Binh Minh 2, according to the statement from Pham Viet Dung, the company’s deputy head. India’s made significant oil investment in the region that it doesn’t intend to lose.

According to reports from Hanoi, the deputy head asked China to teach its people to respect the waters of Vietnam.

Vietnam, together with Brunei, Philippines, Taiwan and Malaysia had conflicts with China about the boundaries of the South China Sea’s Islands. Earlier, China also warned India against any effort to perform oil exploration in the South China Sea along with Vietnam, saying that it is against nations external to the region interfering in the conflict.

As a reaction to the remarks of Indian Navy Chief D. K. Joshi that the Indian navy is ready to send vessels to the South China Sea to protect their economic interests, Hong Lei said that China is against any unilateral activities on oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea’s disputed regions. Further, China is hoping that involved nations respect her national interests, and is willing to fix disagreements via bilateral talks.

The Oil and Natural Gas Commission of India is assisting Vietnam’s oil and gas exploration, which previously came up for China’s criticism.