Vietnam says China offshore oil auction 'illegal'

Vietnam has denounced China's opening of offshore oil blocks to foreign companies in contested areas of the South China Sea as "illegal", as territorial tensions grow between the communist neighbours.

On Saturday, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation announced that nine offshore blocks were available for exploration, and said it was seeking bids from foreign companies.

Vietnam's foreign ministry said in a statement late Tuesday that the blocks "lie entirely within Vietnam's 200-mile exclusive economic zone."

It added: "This is absolutely not a disputed area. (CNOOC's move) is illegal and of no value, seriously violating Vietnam's sovereignty."

It said the bid invitation was "causing tension" in the South China Sea.

The blocks, which cover an area of more than 160,000 square kilometres (64,000 square miles), "are available for international exploration and development cooperation between CNOOC and foreign companies," CNOOC said in a statement.

The tender was "normal business activity", Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular news briefing on Tuesday.

"We hope Vietnam will respect these agreements and avoid taking any action that may complicate the matter," he said.

China and Vietnam are locked in a long-standing territorial dispute over the South China Sea, and frequently trade diplomatic barbs over oil exploration, fishing rights and the Spratly and Paracel Islands, which both countries claim.

Last week, Vietnam angered China by adopting a law which claims sovereignty of the mineral-rich islands, prompting Beijing to summon Vietnam's ambassador to oppose the "illegal and invalid" move.

China says it has sovereign rights to the whole South China Sea, believed to sit atop vast oil and gas deposits. The sea is also claimed in whole or part by Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • What can void a new car warranty? James Deakin - Wheel Power
    What can void a new car warranty?

    "I was denied warranty once for changing my horn!" One very annoyed reader wrote. "I was told that placing a backup camera will void my warranty" said another. The others are best left in my private inbox as Yahoo! have a swear jar in the office that I do not feel like donating this week's pay to. Continue reading → …

  • Docu exposes destruction of PH marine resources VERA Files - The Inbox
    Docu exposes destruction of PH marine resources

    By Kiersnerr Gerwin B. Tacadena, VERA Files “Gutom (hunger),” Sen. Loren Legarda said is what’s in store for the Filipino people if destruction of the country's marine resources is not stopped. Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on Environment and Natural … Continue reading → …

  • ‘Yolanda’ fiberglass boats modern-day Noah’s ark VERA Files - The Inbox
    ‘Yolanda’ fiberglass boats modern-day Noah’s ark

    By Jane Dasal, VERA Files If you want to save the earth, build a boat. That's what a group of environmentalists is saying, especially if you want to save both the forests and fishermen affected by supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan). “Haiyan … Continue reading → …

POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options