China Drops Online Notice of Oil Rig Location After Vietnam Complaint


BEIJING, Jan 22 (Reuters) – Chinese maritime officials on Friday removed an online notice giving the location of a $1-billion deepwater oil rig in the South China Sea two days after issuing it, following a warning from Vietnam about drilling in disputed waters.

Vietnam closely tracks the movement of the oil rig, which in mid-2014 caused the worst diplomatic rift between the neighbours in decades, when China parked it for 10 weeks in waters Vietnam considers its own.

Annual trade between the communist neighbours exceeds $60 billion but anti-China sentiment is strong in Vietnam, where people are embittered over what many see as a history of Chinese bullying and territorial infringements in the South China Sea.

On Friday, China's Maritime Safety Administration cancelled, and then removed from its website, the notice dated Jan 20.

The notice placed the Haiyang Shiyou 981 rig at the Lingshui 25-2-1 well site about 140 km (87 miles) south of China's Sanya resort city on Hainan island, and 150 km (93 miles) west of the Paracel Islands that China occupies, and which Vietnam claims.

The agency was not immediately available to comment.

Still on display is a notice from December placing the rig at the Lingshui 24-1-1 well site, about 170 km (106 miles) southeast of Sanya, and 70 km northwest (44 miles) of the Paracel Islands.


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