China Defends Oil Rig in Dispute with Vietnam

From Bangkok Post

China late Sunday issued a lengthy defence of its use of an oil rig in contested waters that is at the centre of a bitter dispute with Vietnam.

A statement on the foreign ministry website, relayed in full by the official news agency Xinhua, said the drilling operations near the Paracel Islands fell within China’s “sovereignty and jurisdiction”.

It also accused Vietnam of acting aggressively towards Chinese personnel, accusing Vietnamese vessels of “illegally and forcefully disrupting” work there and of ramming Chinese boats.

The oil rig is in the vicinity of the contested Paracel Islands, which are known as Hoang Sa in Vietnam and called Xisha by Beijing.

Relations between Vietnam and China have plummeted over the oil rig’s presence, which has worsened an increasingly heated dispute over territorial claims in the area.

On Friday, Vietnam released dramatic footage showing a large Chinese ship chasing and ramming one of its fishing boats which then sank near the rig.

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