The White House has described China's placement of an oil rig in Vietnam’s waters as a provocative act and warned Beijing not to raise tensions in the region.

China's deployment of its drilling rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 at 15 degrees 29 minutes 58 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 12 minutes 06 seconds east longitude, deep inside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone, since May 2, has triggered protests in Vietnam.

China has also deployed many ships of various kinds to the area, harassed Vietnamese coast guard and fisheries surveillance ships, and obstructed Vietnamese fishermen when they were working normally in waters of Vietnam’s sovereignty.

On May 16, White House spokesman Jay Carney had a message for Beijing, “We consider that act provocative and we consider it one that undermines the goal that we share, which is peaceful resolution of these disputes and general stability in the region."

The White House condemnation came one day after a top Chinese military official visited the Pentagon and indicated Chinese forces do not intend to back down.

The US official said China's dispatch of numerous government vessels to the area threatens stability and called for restraint on both sides.

“We're very concerned about dangerous conduct and intimidation by government-controlled assets operating in this area and we call on all parties to conduct themselves in a safe and professional manner," said Carney.-VNA