BEIJING, June 5 (Xinhua) -- China on Thursday urged Vietnam to stop all disruptions to drilling near the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea, and withdraw all vessels from the scene.
"Up to now, the Vietnamese side has rammed Chinese vessels on the scene for over 1,200 times, and has set up large floating objects and obstacles," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular press briefing.
This action has grossly infringed upon China's sovereignty rights and jurisdiction; jeopardized the security of Chinese people and facilities; violated international law and basic norms governing international relations; and undermined navigation freedom and safety in these waters, he said.
The spokesman's comments came in response to a question regarding the operation of China's 981 drilling platform which was claimed by the Vietnamese side as being within Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
Hong said the site of rig 981 is southeast of Zhongjian Island, one of the Xisha Islands, 17 nautical miles from the baseline of the territorial sea of the Xisha Islands and 160 nautical miles away from Vietnam.
China earlier confirmed completion of the first phase of drilling and exploration. The ongoing second phase work is expected to be completed by mid-August.
"After conducting forceful disruptions of the first phase, the Vietnamese side has kept deploying large numbers of vessels, including armed vessels, to disrupt the second phase since May 27," said the spokesman.
The location of both of the two phases of operation falls indisputably within the contiguous zone of China's Xisha Islands, and also within China's sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction, Hong said.
The exploration work including the 2D and 3D seismetic research and well exploration by Chinese companies has been ongoing for 10 years, according to the spokesman.
The current drilling is routine continuation of exploration work and fully legal, he said.
China has shown maximum restraint in response to Vietnam's provocation, he said, adding that China has sent government and civilian vessels to safeguard the order of normal operation and security of Chinese people and facilities.
"However, the Vietnamese side takes advantage of China's exercise of restraint to complicate the situation and escalate the tension," he added.
The spokesman stressed China has firm and unflinching resolve in safeguarding national sovereignty, maritime rights and interests, international laws and the basic norms governing international relations.
"We will continue to resolutely contain Vietnam's dangerous actions against China's drilling platform," he said, adding any action taken by Vietnam to magnify and complicate the situation can only harm its own interests.
He urged the Vietnamese side to give up its illusions, immediately stop all provocation and withdraw all vessels from the scene so as to restore tranquility to the sea as soon as possible.
Regarding the violence against foreign companies that took place in Vietnam last month, Hong said up to now, the Vietnamese side has not made any compensation to the Chinese people and companies who were hurt in the incident.
"We urge the Vietnamese side to take concrete and effective measures to safeguard the security of life and property as well as the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese people and institutions in Vietnam," he said.
China also urged Vietnam to severely punish the perpetrators and compensate for China's losses, he added.
Video>> China urges Vietnam to withdraw ships
China Voice: Vietnam's key choice: to trust China or not
Shutting out third parties, which mostly meddle for their own gains, ending the oil rig tension in the South China Sea will come down to how China and Vietnam perceive each other.
Like a personal relationship, the closer two countries are, the more complicated their relations will be. Full story
Expert blames Vietnam for escalating tensions in South China Sea
In a commentary carried by the Sunday edition of China Daily, a Beijing-based international relations expert argued that Vietnam must take responsibility for escalating tensions in South China Sea.
Chen Qinghong, an expert with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, stated that the Xisha Islands have been China's inherent territory since ancient times, and Vietnam appeared to acknowledge and respect China's sovereignty over the islands before the mid-1970s. Full story
60,000 workers lose jobs after anti-China riots in Vietnam
Vietnam's labor market was severely affected by its recent anti-China riots, which left 60,000 local workers jobless as many foreign-invested factories were forced to shut down for an indefinite date, local media reported Tuesday.
Vietnam's manufacturing hub, Binh Duong province, was among the worst-hit areas since the riots broke out earlier this month. More than 100 factories, most of whom belong to Chinese investors, were damaged to some extent. Full story