Vietnam says China’s sea drills violate its economic zone

Chinese coastguard ships give chase to Vietnamese coastguard vessels (not pictured) after they came within 10 nautical miles of the Haiyang Shiyou 981, known in Vietnam as HD-981, oil rig in the South China Sea, July 15, 2014. Crewmen in blue camouflage uniforms pour out onto the deck of a Vietnamese coastguard ship as an imposing Chinese vessel guarding a giant oil rig gives chase, gathering steam by the second. A group of Chinese ships joined the pursuit, peeling away from a flotilla of about two-dozen vessels surrounding HD-981, the $1 billion rig that China deployed without notice in early May, triggering the worst breakdown in ties between the communist neighbours in three decades. Vietnam says this stretch of the South China Sea is in its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone and accuses China of bullying and trying to ram Vietnamese fishing vessels in the potentially energy-rich waters. China claims about nine-tenths of the South China Sea but insists it wants a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Picture taken July 15, 2014. REUTERS/Martin Petty (MID-SEA - Tags: POLITICS ENERGY CIVIL UNREST MARITIME MILITARY)

HANOI, March 8 (Bloomberg): Vietnam asked China not to violate its exclusive economic zone and continental shelf with military drills, foreign ministry spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang said in response to reporters’ questions about the Hainan Provincial Customs Administration’s announcement about the exercises.

China should not take actions that complicate the South China Sea situation but rather help maintain regional peace, security and stability, Hang said in a statement on the ministry’s website.

The exercises are taking place between the Hainan province and Vietnam from March 4 to March 15, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported on Monday , citing an earlier announcement of China Maritime Administration.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Tuesday at a regular press briefing in Beijing that the drill is lawful. "China’s military exercise on its own doorstep is reasonable and lawful. It is beyond reproach.”

Territorial tensions between Vietnam and China have increased since China placed an exploration oil rig in contested waters in mid-2014, leading to deadly anti-China protests in Vietnam and clashes at sea between coast guard boats.

China says more than 80% of the sea and backs up its claim with a 1947 map that shows its nine-dash line --- looping down to a point about 1,100 miles (1,800 kilometers) south of its Hainan island. Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan claim parts of the same maritime area.

The area for the exercises is under Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf as defined under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Hang said. - Bloomberg

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Vietnam , Anger , China , Sea Drills , South China Sea


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