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How Do You Say 'Drill, Baby, Drill' in Chinese?

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southeastasiansea
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How Do You Say 'Drill, Baby, Drill' in Chinese?

#1 Post by southeastasiansea » Wed 07 May, 2014 8:08 am

On May 2, 2014, China blatantly moved a deep-water drilling rig HD-981 into the location of 15o29’ north latitude, 111o12’ east longitute, just about 120 nautical miles from Vietnam’ coast and within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. This illigal drilling operation infringed upon sovereignty and jurisdiction of Vietnam according to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. On May 4, 2014, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam resolutely and vociferously protested this move. In recent days, international opinion also has been discontented with the brazen act conducted by China. Professor Keith Johnson from Department of Linguistics, University of Carlifornia Berkeley made a commentary on Foreign Policy Magazine on this issue. The following is full of article.

Beijing's deployment of its billion-dollar oil rig sends a clear message to Vietnam: We'll drill where we damn well please.

China has triggered a potentially dangerous escalation in tensions in the South China Sea with the dispatch over the weekend of the Haiyang Shiyou 981, a massive billion-dollar rig designed to drill for oil in waters claimed by both Beijing and Hanoi.
Vietnam has vociferously protested the move because the rig is squarely inside the 200-mile exclusive economic zone that extends offshore from every country; China, which claims the nearby Paracel Islands, says the rig is legal because it is working in waters that it says belong to Beijing.
It's hardly the first time that the search for energy has sparked fights between China and its neighbors in the region, but the latest step is a big deal for several reasons.
China had carried out energy survey activities in disputed areas, and prevented other countries, including Vietnam, from carrying out their own surveys in disputed waters, but this seems to be the first time that Chinese oil companies are actually drilling wells in waters claimed by other nations. Just as alarmingly, China and Vietnam have a history of armed conflict, including a bloody land war in 1979 and a series of armed skirmishes over disputed islands in the South China Sea. The oil drilling issue could potentially trigger a new round of sparring.
The Chinese move also represents a slap in the face to President Barack Obama, who just returned from a trip to Asia designed to reassure jittery allies like Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines that the U.S. would deter Chinese maritime bullying. Six days later, Beijing took one of its most provocative steps to date. A State Department spokesperson didn't respond to requests for comment.
The dispatch of an oil rig by itself is hardly enough to unleash the dogs of war, but is meant to slowly assert Chinese control over the region, experts said.
"It's going to be one more of these small, incremental steps that individually won't lead to conflict, but collectively over time gradually will change the status quo," said Mike McDevitt, a retired admiral and head of strategic studies at the Center for Naval Analyses.
A spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry defended the deployment of the rig, saying that it is operating "completely within the waters of China's Paracel Islands," Reuters reported. China has occupied the Paracel Islands since the 1970s, and also claims the maritime resources around those specks of land. That's part of Beijing's expansive view of its sovereign rights in the South China Sea, the so-called "nine-dashed-line" that the current regime inherited from Chinese nationalists at the end of the civil war in the late 1940s.
Vietnam's Foreign Ministry and state oil firm PetroVietnam, unsurprisingly, both protested the move. The Foreign Ministryd said that the move is a "violation of Viet Nam's sovereign rights," since the rig is located in waters that only Vietnam has the right to exploit for undersea resources. PetroVietnam asked China National Offshore Oil Corporation, a state-owned giant, to remove the rig and cease drilling activities there in the future.
The South China Sea is the biggest flashpoint for potential conflict between China and neighbors like Vietnam and the Philippines, and others; the sea is both a byway for trillions of dollars in international trade and potentially sits atop a mother lode of oil and gas resources coveted by energy-poor countries in the region. Manila recently took Beijing to an international tribunal in The Hague over competing claims to tiny specks of land in the South China Sea, in part because it believes there are plentiful deposits of oil and gas off the Philippine coast.
The quest for oil and gas lies behind the latest incident, at least superficially. China publicly announced in 2012 that it would auction off energy-exploration rights in disputed waters; at the same time, CNOOC took the unusual step of building its own deep-water rig rather than contracting to purchase one from specialized suppliers. That was a costly, but necessary, step for China's oil company to take: CNOOC did not want to have to rely on Western companies to supply drilling gear for contentious areas of the South China Sea because the companies could have potentially refused to lease the equipment to CNOOC if it was going to be used on controversial deepwater projects.
Last weekend, CNOOC dispatched the rig to drill in deep waters about 120 nautical miles east of the Vietnamese coast, not far from where international oil firms such as Exxon Mobil have found potentially large deposits of natural gas. It seems part and parcel of CNOOC's stated strategy of dispatching oil rigs to serve as "mobile national territory" that can extend Chinese sovereignty to open waters.
"I think this is the other shoe dropping, which is the Chinese actually going to go out and drill for oil" in those disputed areas, said Holly Morrow, an expert on the South China Sea at Harvard University's Belfer Center.
China's apparent escalation with the dispatch of the rig is especially surprising because the two countries signed an accord in 2011 to peacefully resolve South China Sea disputes, as they successfully did with maritime borders in the Gulf of Tonkin.
"I thought that agreement cooled down the rhetoric between Vietnam and China, and that China would not go out of its way to humiliate the Vietnamese," said McDevitt. "But the Chinese seem to feel they have a good argument for going where they're going, and they are going to do it."
The U.S. as a rule doesn't take a position as to who owns what in the disputed areas, but in recent years has stressed the need for states such as Vietnam and China to rely on the rule of law to settle disputes over territory and maritime rights in the South China Sea. In December, Secretary of State John Kerry announced a deal to help strengthen the Vietnamese coast guard, in part to help parry Chinese territorial expansion in the area.
Oil and gas rigs are the pointy ends of the battle over sovereignty, but there is plenty of uncertainty over just how energy-rich the area really is. In part, that is because all the territorial disputes have discouraged large-scale surveys of potential oil and gas resources.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that the South China Sea holds the modest amount of 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. CNOOC believes there could be ten times as much oil and plenty more gas in the South China Sea. Vietnam, bolstered by recent work by firms such as Exxon, is also bullish on the energy prospects in parts of the South China Sea it considers its own.
But regardless of how much energy actually lies under the ocean, Beijing's heavy-handed approach to regional relations and the damage it has caused could hardly be worth tapping some extra barrels of oil, said Morrow of the Belfer Center. That makes the constant tug-of-war, provocations, and brinksmanship more about national sovereignty than a scramble for resources.
"The cost in foreign policy terms of what they are doing is so high, and so outweighs whatever energy security benefit there is," she said.

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southeastasiansea
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Re: How Do You Say 'Drill, Baby, Drill' in Chinese?

#2 Post by southeastasiansea » Thu 08 May, 2014 2:55 am

There is also a famous expert who express concerns about this China's assertiveness:
The recurrent strife between China and Vietnam
(Roberto Tofani)
The ‘statement war’ over the disputed islands in the South China Sea—or East Sea, as referred to by the Vietnamese–between China and Vietnam is gaining steam. Actually it was never dormant, but at times it becomes more ferocious than in others.
On May 2 the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) moved the drilling rig HD-981 operating at 15029’ latitude’s and 111012’ longitude’s east, to about 130 nautical miles from the Vietnamese coast, close to the Paracel archipelago.
On the same day, according to Reuters, “Maritime Safety Administration of China (MSAC) published an announcement on its website saying it prohibits all marine vessels entering into a one mile radius of the Haiyang Shiyou 981′s South China Sea drilling work.” The $1 billion oil rig, owned by CNOOC, had been drilling south of Hong Kong.
Last Sunday the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs protested the illegal foray of China’s deep-water drilling rig into Vietnamese waters, which is within the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of Vietnam. “The location that the drilling rig HD-981 operates as stated in the China Maritime Safety Administration’s notice is undeniably within Viet Nam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, just about 130 nautical miles from its coast. Viet Nam resolutely protests any activity conducted by foreign countries in its waters without permission. Such an activity is illegal and void,” FM Spokesman Le Hai Binh remarked on May 4. And it “constitutes a violation of Viet Nam’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction under the provisions of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” as underlined in a press release by the State owned enterprise Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam).
Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh called Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and told him the deployment of the deep sea rig, which he said was accompanied by military vessels, was illegal and a violation of Vietnamese sovereignty. “Vietnam cannot accept and resolutely protests this Chinese action. It demands that China withdraw the rig HD981 and escort its vessels from this area,” a Vietnamese government statement quoted Minh as telling Yang. However, Beijing insists that the rig, CNOOC 981, is in its territorial waters.
Interviewed by the the Vietnamese newspaper ‘Thanh Nien’, Carl Thayer, a maritime expert of the University of New South Wales in Australia said that it is “business as usual in China’s use of illegal force to advance its sovereignty claims.” The Chinese move has thus increased tensions and, after the Vietnamese statements an editorial of the Chinese newspaper ‘Global Times’ threatened Vietnam with a ‘lesson it deserves’.
Two years ago, at the end of May, a Chinese patrol boat intentionally severed a seismic cable towed by a Vietnamese survey vessel working about 120 miles off Vietnam’s shore and hundreds of miles south of China’s Hainan Island. The incident occurred well within Vietnam’s 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone as defined by the Law of the Sea Treaty (signed by both Vietnam and China). On that occasion, hundreds of Vietnamese marched on the Chinese Embassy in Hanoi and the Chinese Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City in a rare public protest to condemn what they called ‘China’s violation of Vietnamese sovereignty’ in the disputed South China Sea. This was similar to an incident in December 2007, when widespread anger over China’s growing assertiveness about its claims to the Paracels and Spratlys drew hundreds of people into the streets of Hanoi.
“We are sick and tired of this whole situation and for sure we are ready to take the street as we did in the past,” explained a University student eager to take the protest out in the open.

southeastasiansea
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Re: How Do You Say 'Drill, Baby, Drill' in Chinese?

#3 Post by southeastasiansea » Fri 09 May, 2014 9:25 am

CRITICAL QUESTIONS: CHINA-VIETNAM TENSIONS HIGH OVER DRILLING RIG IN DISPUTED
CSIS: Ernest Bower (@BowerCSIS) and Gregory Poling (@GregPoling)
May 7, 2014
Tensions between China and Vietnam over the disputed South China Sea are at their highest levels in years. On May 2, the state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) placed its deep sea drilling rig HD-981 in disputed waters south of the Paracel Islands. Vietnam objected to the placement, declaring that the is located on its continental shelf. China has since sent approximately 80 ships, including seven military vessels, along with aircraft to support the rig. In response, Hanoi dispatched 29 ships to attempt to disrupt the rig’s placement and operations.
The situation escalated dramatically on May 7, when Vietnam accused Chinese vessels of turning high powered water cannons on the Vietnamese ships and eventually ramming several vessels. The incidents reportedly left six Vietnamese injured and several of the country’s ships damaged. Hanoi released photos and videos of the incidents to support its claims.
The implications of these developments are significant. The fact that the Chinese moved ahead in placing their rig immediately after President Barack Obama’s visit to four Asian countries in late April underlines Beijing’s commitment to test the resolve of Vietnam, its Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) neighbors, and Washington. Beijing may also be attempting to substantially change the status quo by moving while it perceives Washington to be distracted by Russian aggression in the Ukraine, developments in Nigeria, and Syria. If China believes Washington is distracted, in an increasingly insular and isolationist mood, and unwilling to back up relatively strong security assertions made to Japan and the Philippines and repeated during President Obama’s trip, then these developments south of the Paracel Islands could have long term regional and global consequences.
Q1: Where is the rig, really?
A1: The war of words between Beijing and Hanoi has largely focused on the status of the area where HD-981 was placed. Vietnamese officials insist that it lies on their continental shelf, where according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS), Vietnam has exclusive rights to all mineral and hydrocarbon resources.
The rig was placed near the edge of two hydrocarbon blocks already created by Hanoi, though not yet offered for exploitation to foreign oil and gas companies. It also sits near blocks 118 and 119, where U.S.-based ExxonMobil discovered substantial oil and gas reserves in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, Exxon and Vietnam’s state-owned PetroVietnam announced plans to build a $20 billion power plant to be fueled by the oil and gas from those blocks. Those discoveries help explain why CNOOC chose to place HD-981 nearby.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has responded to Vietnam’s complaints by insisting that the rig was placed “completely within the waters of China’s Paracel Islands.” This presumably refers to the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone and continental shelf that those islands—which are occupied by China but claimed by Vietnam—would generate under UNCLOS if they met certain requirements.
HD-981 was placed at 15°29’58’’ north latitude and 111°12’06’’ east longitude. It is about 120 nautical miles east of Vietnam’s Ly Son Island and 180 nautical miles south of China’s Hainan Island—the two nearest features that indisputably generate a continental shelf. As such, it not only sits on Vietnam’s claimed extended continental shelf, but also well on the Vietnamese side of any median line that might be negotiated between the two shelves from the Chinese and Vietnamese coasts, as indicated by the white lines in the map below.
Image
Q2: Who is in the right?
A2: China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs appears to be basing its case on the assumption that Triton Island, 17 miles to the north of HD-981, or another of the Paracels meets the UNCLOS habitability requirement for generating its own continental shelf. If that were assumed to be true, then HD-981 would indeed fall within the maximum hypothetical area of dispute generated by the Paracels, shown in red below. This is the maximum dispute because it gives the tiny Paracel Islands equal weight in delimitation with the entire Vietnamese coast facing them—a proposition that borders on the absurd.
So China can make a legal case, however flimsy, for control over the continental shelf on which HD-981 sits. But that area is clearly in dispute. To unilaterally drill on it is a violation of UNCLOS’s admonition that states in a dispute, “in a spirit of understanding and cooperation, shall make every effort to enter into provisional arrangements,” and shall not “jeopardize or hamper the reaching of [a] final agreement.” It is also clearly contrary to the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea that China signed with the members of ASEAN, including Vietnam. In that agreement, all parties pledged to “exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability.”
Hanoi, on the other hand, has restricted its oil and gas activities in the area to those fields, like blocks 118 and 119, that lie outside the maximum area of legal dispute.
Image
Q3: What comes next?
A3: The deployment of HD-981, which Beijing insists will remain in place until August 15, has clearly ratcheted China-Vietnam tensions to a new level. Hanoi seems determined to disrupt the rig’s operations. And, in contrast to the Philippines, it has the capabilities—Russian-built Kilo-class submarines and an outdated but sizeable surface and air fleet—to do so. This means there is a real threat that acts of brinksmanship, like the recent ramming of Vietnamese vessels, could escalate quickly. Vietnam’s neighbors and outside partners like the United States must use every available channel to urge caution on both sides.
On the other hand, Vietnam’s relative naval capabilities will likely help temper Chinese assertiveness. After all, despite the presence of Chinese naval vessels around HD-981, it appeared that only Chinese Coast Guard vessels were involved in harassing and deterring Vietnamese ships attempting to enter the waters around the rig. The two nations’ and their leaders are as familiar with each other as anyone in the Asia Pacific, and they have substantial channels for communications, including top-level naval hotlines. This could also help avoid a larger crisis.
Vietnam has already launched a diplomatic campaign to build support abroad and paint China as the aggressor. Given other recent provocations by China against its neighbors, this will prove easy. This weekend, Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung will join his fellow leaders from across Southeast Asia at the ASEAN Summit. The placement of the drilling rig, along with China’s patrols at Malaysia’s James Shoal earlier this year and attempts to block resupply of Philippine troops at Second Thomas Shoal in March, will ensure that the South China Sea disputes take center stage. There is no telling who will blink first in the stand-off over HD-981, but the one thing that is certain is that China’s newest provocation will further heighten the threat perception among ASEAN states and drive them closer to each other and interested outside parties, especially Japan and the United States.
Ernest Bower is the Sumitro Chair for Southeast Asia Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. Gregory Poling is a fellow with the Sumitro Chair.
Critical Questions is produced by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a private, tax-exempt institution focusing on international public policy issues. Its research is nonpartisan and nonproprietary. CSIS does not take specific policy positions. Accordingly, all views, positions, and conclusions expressed in this publication should be understood to be solely those of the author(s).

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