#AceWorldNews – CHINA (Beijing) – July 16 – According to Reuters the Chinese oil rig has finished drilling near the disputed Paracel islands in the South China Sea after finding signs of oil and gas and is being moved away from the area, more than two months after its deployment damaged relations with Hanoi.
The Vietnamese coastguard said the $1-billion (£583.27 million) rig had been towed from contested waters. China’s official Xinhua news agency said the rig would be relocated off the southernmost island province of Hainan. It gave no time-frame.
The rig’s relocation could reduce tensions between the two neighbours after one of the worst breakdowns in ties since they fought a brief war in 1979.
Its movement toward Hainan is also likely to be welcomed by Washington, which had criticised China’s decision to put the rig in waters disputed with Vietnam, calling it a “provocative” act.
Hanoi had said the rig was in its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone and on its continental shelf. Beijing had said it was operating completely within its waters around the Paracel islands, which China occupies.
#AceNewsServices – VIETNAM (Hanoi) – May 29 – Vietnam on Thursday accused Chinese warships of pointing their weapons at Vietnamese vessels, AFP said.
The tense confrontation between the two states came as China moved its deep-sea rig to a new location earlier this week that Hanoi considers is within its territory. “When we approached the Chinese warships guarding the rig they uncovered their guns, turned them and pointed them at the Vietnamese vessels,” said Ha Le, deputy chief of Vietnam’s Fisheries Surveillance Department.
Japanese media said that at least eight Chinese ships trained their machine guns on a Vietnamese coastguard boat, just six kilometres from the rig.
(Map Shows Where China Rammed Vietnamese Fishing Boats)
(VOA) – The two sides traded accusations after the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat Tuesday. Hanoi said the wooden vessel went down after being rammed by a Chinese fishing boat. Beijing said the boat “capsized after harassing and colliding with a Chinese fishing boat.”
Oai says Vietnam has proof that China is at fault.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Vietnam’s national legislature announced Monday that Hanoi is taking its final steps toward filing an international lawsuit against China for towing the oil rig into Vietnamese waters and attacking Vietnamese vessels.
AFP – VOA
#AceNewsServices – BEIJING – May 12 – South-east Asian leaders have expressed “serious concern” over worsening territorial disputes in the South China Sea, presenting a rare united front against an increasingly assertive Beijing.
Vietnam and the Philippines led a successful push for the Association of South-east Asian Nations to deliver a thinly veiled rebuke to China over the stand-off in waters home to key shipping lanes and thought to contain huge energy reserves.
But a defiant Beijing said Hanoi‘s efforts to enlist the support of its neighbours in the row were “doomed to fail”.
The 10-nation ASEAN, in a statement released on Monday after a summit on Sunday, called for a peaceful resolution to the maritime rows, which flared up this month after China moved an oil drilling rig into waters also claimed by Hanoi (AFP) reported.
“We expressed serious concerns over the ongoing developments in the South China Sea, said the joint statement from the summit in Myanmar, without explicitly pointing the finger at Beijing.
ASEAN called on all parties involved to “exercise self-restraint, not to resort to threat(s) or use of force, and to resolve disputes by peaceful means in accordance with the universally recognised principles of international law”.
Observers said the statement marked a change of tone by the regional bloc, many of whose members — including Myanmar — have close economic and political ties with China and have traditionally avoided confrontation with the Asian heavyweight.
In 2012 China’s ally Cambodia caused consternation when it was ASEAN head by refusing to take Beijing to task over its assertive maritime stance.
“This is a far cry from when Cambodia was ASEAN chair,” said Southeast Asia expert Carl Thayer, a professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
The statement “represents a slight tightening of ASEAN’s position”, he said, adding it suggests a rare level of “consensus” on the vexed sea rights issue.
Under Brunei’s chairmanship last year, China avoided a public rebuke from ASEAN at a major summit after offering an olive branch by calling for peace in the flash point region.
Beijing struck a less conciliatory tone on Monday, insisting that the contested Paracel Islands, located near the controversial oil rig, were its “inherent territory”.
#AceWorldNews – VIETNAM – May 12 – A Vietnamese patrol boat and several Chinese vessels blasted each other with water cannons Monday, AP reported.
Maritime claims in the South China Sea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The incident happened near an oil rig recently positioned by Beijing in disputed waters, according to Vietnamese state media.
It was the first time that Vietnamese vessels have responded to Chinese actions close to the deep-sea rig, which was positioned May 1 in an area of the South China Sea claimed by both Beijing and Hanoi, the Tuoi Tre newspaper said.
On Sunday, thousands of Vietnamese protested in Hanoi chanting anti-China slogans, and the event was covered by Vietnamese state media.
Over 1,000 people in Hanoi are protesting the deployment of a Chinese drilling platform in contested waters. Protesters sang patriotic songs amid cries of, “China, don’t steal our oil!” and, “Silence is cowardly!”
The two countries are locked in a dispute over the Paracel and Spratly islands in the South China Sea.
#AceWorldNews – HANOI – April 14 – (COC) – Vietnam has released two more high-profile dissidents in an unusual move that comes as the country is negotiating a free trade deal with Washington that may not get congressional approval unless Hanoi shows it is improving its human rights record.
Vi Duc Hoi and Nguyen Tien Trung were released over the weekend with 1 ½ years and nine months left of their sentences to serve.
They were each convicted of crimes relating to their peaceful advocacy for multi-party democracy in Vietnam, which is ruled by an authoritarian government that doesn’t allow freedom of expression or political assembly.
“It was due to international pressure that the government of Vietnam had to release me,” Hoi, a former member of the ruling Communist party, told Radio Free Asia, a U.S. government funded media network. “I lost some weight but I am still OK physically and mentally,” he said http://www.rfa.org/english/news/dissidents-04122014203204.html
Earlier this month, another prominent activist, Cu Huy Ha Vu, was released and went direct from jail to the United States, which had been privately negotiating for his release. A photo widely distributed on Facebook shows him at an American airport flicking a V-for-victory sign.
A U.S. diplomat posted at the embassy in Hanoi was alongside him in the picture.
Phil Robertson, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, noted that the two men should never have been imprisoned in the first place.
“There are still hundreds more political prisoners languishing in Vietnam’s prisons, so there is a very long way to go before we can say that Vietnam is making any sort of appreciable progress on human rights,” he said.
Read More: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/04/14/4840864/vietnam-releases-dissidents-amid.html