Daily Press briefing 6/5/2014
QUESTION: Yeah. Marie was asked about this yesterday, but the Vietnamese have been protesting the relocation of the Chinese oil rig in waters that they claim to be their territorial waters. I wanted to know if you had any comments on that.
MS. PSAKI: Well, we are, of course, aware of these reports and developments. We’re looking carefully into this matter. Given the recent history of tensions in the South China Sea, China’s decision to operate its oil rig in disputed waters is provocative and unhelpful to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region. These events point to the need for claimants to clarify their claims in accordance with international law and reach agreement about what types of activities should be permissible within disputed areas.
Vietnam/China: Chinese Oil Rig Operations Near the Paracel Islands
May 7, 2014
China’s decision to introduce an oil rig accompanied by numerous government vessels for the first time in waters disputed with Vietnam is provocative and raises tensions. This unilateral action appears to be part of a broader pattern of Chinese behavior to advance its claims over disputed territory in a manner that undermines peace and stability in the region.
We are also very concerned about dangerous conduct and intimidation by vessels operating in this area. We call on all parties to conduct themselves in a safe and professional manner, preserve freedom of navigation, exercise restraint, and address competing sovereignty claims peacefully and in accordance with international law.
Sovereignty over the Paracel Islands is disputed; this incident is occurring in waters claimed by Vietnam and China near those islands. These events highlight the need for claimants to clarify their claims in accordance with international law, and to reach agreement on appropriate behavior and activities in disputed areas.