Vietnam Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh

Vietnam has declared the operation of a CNOOC deepwater drilling rig illegal in what the Southeast Asian country claims are its territorial waters in the South China Sea.

Vietnam has told China’s state-run oil company to remove the rig. 

China said the rig was operating completely within its waters.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Brunei have all made claims to parts of the oil-rich South China Sea that have been unrecognized by China. 

The Maritime Safety Administration of China (MSAC) announced on its website Saturday that all vessels should stay at least one mile away from the rig,

The rig, called the Haiyang Shiyou 981, is owner and operated by CNOOC. 

On Sunday, Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh objected to the Chinese announcement.

Binh said the coordinates of the oil rig put it in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone, about 120 nautical miles off its coast.

Binh also said Vietnam “resolutely opposed” to the Chinese drilling.

“All activities of foreign countries in Vietnam’s waters without Vietnam’s permission are illegal and worthless,” Binh said.


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