China Warns Vietnam on Oil Exploration

BEIJING – China on Thursday demanded that Vietnam stop unilateral oil and gas activity in a naval area claimed by both nations, after a spat between the two countries flared up earlier this week.

The state-run Vietnam Oil & Gas Group said Monday that two Chinese fishing vessels cut the cables of a Vietnamese vessel doing seismic oil exploration work in the South China Sea.

"We cannot accept Vietnam's statements," Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei said at a news briefing Thursday, according to a transcript posted on the ministry's website.

"According to our initial understanding...the incident occurred between Vietnam and China's Hainan island in overlapping sovereign waters of the two countries. The Chinese fishing vessels were engaged in ordinary fishing activities, and were unreasonably dispelled by Vietnamese navy ships," he said.

"Vietnam should stop its unilateral oil and gas activities in this area, and stop interfering with Chinese ships," Mr. Hong said.



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