Former US President Bill Clinton has cautioned China not to intimidate smaller countries in disputes in the East Sea, according to

In a story published on the website on July 25, the former president was quoted as saying at a recent conference in Guangzhou that the problem is China’s insistence on negotiating alone with smaller countries, because it can use its size to intimidate smaller countries like Vietnam and the Philippines if other international voices aren’t at the table.

He stressed that the US does not care what resolution is, but there should be a resolution, so that Vietnam, the Philippines, and other smaller countries aren’t overwhelmed by the size differential between themselves and China.

At the beginning of May 2014, China illegally dispatched the rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 as well as a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft to Vietnam’s waters and positioned the rig at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude. The location is 80 miles deep into Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

The rig was later moved to 15 degrees 33 minutes 36 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 11 seconds east longitude. The new location is 60 nautical miles deep inside Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

On July 15, the China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC) announced that it has completed its drilling and exploration off Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelago in the East Sea, and is relocating its rig in Hainan Islands.

The rig began to move north-moving north-northwest toward China’s Hainan island at 21:03pm the same day. At 18:30 on July 16, the rig was 41 nautical miles from its previous position and out of Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, about 163 nautical miles southwest of Hainan island.-VNA