In a recent interview with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, Chairman of the Vietnam Oil and Gas Association, Dr. Ngo Thuong San said that China is playing a trick to illegally claim its sovereignty over Vietnam’s waters in the East Sea.

The Vietnamese oil and gas sector has long surveyed the bead of the waters and is calling for investment in oil and gas exploration and exploitation there.

Regarding China’s drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou – 981, the official told the paper that this water body has complicated natural conditions, with its average depth of 1,500-2,500 metres, adding that it often faces powerful tropical storms, which the Chinese rig cannot survive.

“Currently, only a few countries, like the US, can exploit oil and gas in such complex waters. China is not capable of doing the same thing,” the official said.

Therefore, the deployment of the rig is actual a new step China is taking in illicitly asserting its sovereignty and jurisdiction over the East Sea, following a series of other encroachments and attacks by Chinese ships in the past, Dr. San said.

In 1993-1994, China illegitimately called investors to bid for an oil and gas lot in waters off central Vietnam. At the time, a foreign company engaged in the bid but later quit it after strong responses from Vietnam, the official said.

On May 26, 2011, three Chinese maritime surveillance ships cut the exploration cables of Vietnam’s ship Binh Minh 02 when it was operating on the Vietnamese continental shelf in the East Sea.

A similar case happened on June 9, 2011, when a Chinese fishing ship accompanied by two Chinese fisheries surveillance vessels encroached on Vietnam’s waters and deliberately cut the exploration cables of the Viking 2 ship owned by the Vietnam Oil and Gas Corporation.

Another case occurred on November 30, 2012, when two Chinese fishing boats caused the seismic survey cables of Vietnam’s Binh Minh 02 to be severed off the country’s Con Co Island off northern Quang Tri province.

Over the past several years, Chinese vessels have also attacked Vietnamese fishing boats many times and captured many Vietnamese fishermen, Dr. San said.-VNA