The US Department of State has praised China's removal of its oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 from Vietnam’s waters in the East Sea.

Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a July 16 press conference that “the oil rig incident has highlighted the need for claimants to clarify their claims in accordance with international law to reach a shared understanding on appropriate behavior and activities in disputed areas”.

She noted that the US wants the issue resolved diplomatically and the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea signed between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2002 should be the guiding document, she added.

The Spokesperson’s statement was released after China decided to move its oil rig toward Hainan islands on July 15.

In early May, China illegally dispatched the rig as well as a large fleet of armed vessels, military ships and aircraft to Vietnam’s waters and positioned the rig 80 miles deep into Vietnam’s continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.

It later expanded the scale of operation and moved the rig to 15 degrees 33 minutes 36 seconds north latitude and 111 degrees 34 minutes 11 seconds east longitude, 60 nautical miles deep inside Vietnam’s waters.-VNA