Vietnamese officials in Beijing will today demand an end to Chinese oil exploration off their coastline, despite holding out little hope for long-term success. China has withdrawn its Kan Tan III platform ahead of today's talks - which were demanded by Hanoi - but has yet to accept Vietnam's claim that the rig violated international law. 'We will be making the strongest possible protest but we don't believe in miracles,' one official said. 'China's long-term ambitions are very complicated and we worry they are prepared to ignore the law for their own desires.' China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang yesterday called for swift negotiations based on consensus. 'We hope to resolve the issue peacefully. We hope the negotiations will be completed quickly,' he said. However, sources close to the talks suggest the atmosphere may not be harmonious. Vietnam had invited China to Hanoi but Beijing refused. As the talks were Vietnam's idea, it argued, Hanoi officials should travel to the mainland. After a period of relative calm between the two nations, Vietnam's long mistrust of China was revived when observation ships found the rig 64.5 nautical miles off its central coast last month. Hanoi claims the location of the drilling work - 71.5 nautical miles off China's Hainan Island - is well within its exclusive economic zone and an area it has already marked out for international exploration deals. But the site also falls within China's controversial 'historical line' under which it lays claim to most of the South China Sea. Vietnamese government sources say the placement of the rig is the ninth time in six years China has made incursions into its waters. As well as inflaming territorial passions, the siting of the rig raised speculation among Hanoi officials that China may be set to assert itself more vigorously following the death of Deng Xiaoping . Some fear China will stage a repeated campaign of incursions to try to force joint development deals of any finds. Hanoi, which has been garnering international support for its case, insists it would always reject such deals. Foreign oil industry analysts in Hanoi say even if China's possible territorial ambitions are ignored, Beijing's high industrial growth means it has an ever-increasing thirst for fossil fuels.