Vietnam on Thursday demanded that China move an oil rig and abandon plans to start drilling in waters where jurisdiction is still under negotiation.
Le Hai Binh, the spokesman of the foreign ministry, said that on \April 3 the Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig was sent to the waters off the mouth of the Tonkin Gulf, located at 17 degrees 3 minutes 12 seconds north latitude and 110 degrees 4 minutes 18 seconds east longitude.
The demarcation of this area is being negotiated by Vietnam and China, Binh said.
Vietnam demands that China "not repeat such unilateral actions that complicate the situation ... in the East Sea,” Binh said, using the Vietnamese name of the South China Sea.
China, instead, should "make practical contributions to peace and stability."
“Vietnam maintains and protects all of its legitimate rights and interests to the above-mentioned area through peaceful measures in tune with internal law,” Binh said.
A lighthouse that China built on Subi Reef of Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago, which is claimed by Vietnam. Photo: Xinhua/VNA.
In 2014, China deployed the same rig for 10 weeks in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone, straining ties between the two neighbors.
Binh also criticized China's decision to start operating a lighthouse on Xubi (Subi) Reef of Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago.
The act is a "serious violation" of Vietnam's sovereignty and was "illegal and void," he said.
“Vietnam, once again, affirmed that the country has full legal foundations and historical evidence proving its indisputable sovereignty over the [Paracel and Spratly] archipelagoes,” Binh said.
The Foreign Ministry have sent diplomatic notes to the Hanoi-based Chinese Embassy’s representative to protest against China’s above-mentioned acts.