• Fri
  • Oct 24, 2014
  • Updated: 7:38pm

State Councillor Yang Jiechi tells Vietnam to stop 'hyping up' oil rig tensions

Sharp remarks by State Councillor Yang Jiechi suggest little progress was made in resolving oil rig dispute in meetings with Hanoi officials

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 June, 2014, 2:04pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 June, 2014, 9:56am

A senior Chinese official told Hanoi yesterday to stop "hyping up" tensions over an oil rig that Beijing has placed off Vietnam's coast, in remarks indicating that the two countries are still trapped in a diplomatic quagmire over the South China Sea.

State Councillor Yang Jiechi was in Hanoi for the highest-level talks between the two countries since the oil rig deployment early last month caused a nosedive in relations.

The discussions were seen as an attempt to contain the worst diplomatic crisis between the ideological allies in decades. But analysts said Yang's sharp remarks indicated no progress was made during the one-day trip.

In a move that could further stoke tensions, China's Marine Safety Administration announced on its website that another drilling platform, Nanhai No9, would be moved close to Vietnam's coast by tomorrow.

Coordinates released by the administration indicate the area is close to the Gulf of Tonkin, where the countries are negotiating on possible joint development projects. It is not clear if the rig will be in disputed waters.

During a meeting with Yang, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung urged China to withdraw the rig Haiyang 981 and told Yang that China's behaviour severely violated Vietnam's sovereignty and offended the Vietnamese people, according to the state-run Vietnam News Agency.

But in another meeting with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, Yang reiterated that oil rig 981 had been operating within an area of Chinese sovereignty and the current difficulty in the bilateral relationship was a result of Vietnam's "illegal disruptions", according to a summary of the meeting posted on the Chinese foreign ministry's website.

China would adopt all necessary measures to protect its sovereignty and maritime rights, and Vietnam should stop "illegally" disrupting the Chinese operation, Yang said, indicating the oil rig would remain in the location until August 15 as planned.

Vietnam, he added, should stop hyping up the problems and properly handle the aftermath of anti-China riots last month.

The oil platform is about 32km from the China-controlled Paracel Islands, which Vietnam also claims, and 278km from the Vietnam coast. Its deployment has badly strained relations and ships of the two countries, both government and civilian, have frequently clashed or collided.

Anti-China protests broke out in several Vietnamese cities last month, claiming four lives. Scores of foreign-invested factories were also badly damaged during the demonstrations.

Vietnam has threatened to take the maritime dispute with China to international arbitration. It claims the oil rig is within its Exclusive Economic Zone under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and should be relocated.

Minh told Yang Vietnam was willing to improve relations with China and to keep the situation under control, according to the Chinese foreign ministry. It described the meeting as "candid" and "constructive".

Zhang Jie, an expert on regional security with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Yang's remarks indicated the two sides were nowhere near finding a solution to the current impasse.

"This indicates that no agreement was achieved and both sides remain unwilling to budge on their stance," Zhang said.

Yang is the highest-ranking official in China overseeing foreign affairs.

"The majority of Vietnam's politburo still favours accommodation with China," said Carl Thayer, an expert on Vietnam at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

"They are stuck with the question of do you get out of this gracefully and then have working relations with China."


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This article is now closed to comments

P Blair
By being aggressive with China, Vietnam will sabotage it's own economy. China needs to retain sovereignty over the Paracel Islands and Spratly Islands more than it needs any economic relations with Vietnam. At the end of the day, the Vietnamese despite being unreasonable and unfriendly will not have any leeway. Considering that the other members of ASEAN are now unwilling to be blackmailed and threatened by Vietnam any more into giving aid and China refuses to give anymore aid Vietnam is isolating itself with it's belligerent attitude. Now Vietnam will have to go begging to Japan and the US. See what kind of support they will get from what is their true enemies.
So, P Blair witch project, your suggestion is for Vietnam and all other ASEAN countries to back down to China's aggression to preserve their markets? They should all agree to the Nine Dashed Lines? I think, limit testing your comments, this is the essence of what you are saying. I was thinking a better idea than yours would be for ASEAN to join forces to form a trade pact to negotiate against China so that China cannot simply embargo one member. Fund an ASEAN alliance to build up a military which can stand up to the PLA to prevent the PLA from dividing and conquering each little friend one at a time. Can the ASEAN market support Vietnam if embargoed by China? Probably. How many members can China embargo before China is hurt by its own policies?
this is all about Go. the chess game.
China is surrounded by american counter measure.
Vietnam wants to join the US regime but they must take down all these "American War Museums"....
all about chess game...
Anyone who ever advocated war should visit the War Museum in Saigon. It is a thorough cure against war-mongering, no matter if one-sided or not. American schools tend to ignore the incredible horror and utter brabarism of the Vietnam war, Chinese style attempted historical airbrushing. I hope no-one in its right mind in the U.S. government ever asks for a closure of Vietnam war museums.
Marcus T Anthony
You need to get out more. The Vietnam War was the obvious turning point in American and Western attitudes against war. I suggest you go and study History instead of repeating propaganda. Or just turn on a TV channel from any Western country. I have NEVER seen a positive spin on the Vietnam war yet. The virtually unanimous opinion is that it was an horrific and stupid war that created untold and unnecessary suffering. Hell, just watch Good Morning Vietnam, Finding Private Ryan or any of a hundred other American movies about Vietnam. Educate yourself about the West instead of mindlessly repeating the lies you have been spoon fed.
US tried to bring "freedom" to Vietnam. the "evil" people in vietnam did not collaborate with "freedom" giver and tried to do terrorism on US freedom fighters. the "War Museum" in Ho Chi Min City (no more Saigon) told the story from the perspective of the evil doers. not american freedom givers. it needs to be taken down. you are either for us or against. neutral is not an option LOL
Problem is the little guy keeps coming back up. Next time, make sure you wipe the floor with him.
stupid china made Vietnam turn away with communist . Can everyone joyfully with communist party and got an Little stupid china Stolen their botherhoods Lands and Seas then Sucking Oils ?
c'mon, man! stop abusing Bing Translator.




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