China rejects Vietnam’s call to stop oil drilling

Updated 05 May 2014
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China rejects Vietnam’s call to stop oil drilling

HANOI, Vietnam: Vietnam demanded China stop oil drilling operations in a disputed patch of the South China Sea, saying on Monday that Beijing’s decision to deploy a deep sea rig over the weekend was illegal.
China dismissed the objections, saying the activity was being carried out in its territorial waters.
Beijing’s increasingly assertive territorial claims to the waters, which are thought to have large oil and gas deposits beneath them, have angered Vietnam, the Philippines and other claimants. The region is widely seen as a potential area of conflict.
Last week, President Barack Obama signed a new defense pact with the Philippines aimed at reassuring Asian allies of American backing as they wrangle with Beijing’s growing economic and military might.
The China Maritime Safety Administration posted a navigational warning on its website advising that the CNOOC 981 rig would be drilling in the South China Sea from May 4 to Aug. 15, in an area close to the Paracel Islands, which are controlled by China but Vietnam claims as its own.
China’s maritime administration also said that ships entering a 3-mile (4.8-kilometers) radius around the area are prohibited.
Vietnam’s foreign ministry said the area where the rig was stationed lay within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf as defined by the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“All foreign activities in Vietnam’s seas without Vietnam’s permission are illegal and invalid,” the ministry said in a statement. “Vietnam resolutely protests them.”
Vietnam’s state-owned oil company, PetroVietnam, demanded that China National Offshore Oil Corporation “immediately stop all the illegal activities and withdraw the rig from Vietnamese waters.”
Asked about Vietnam’s objections, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the drilling was taking place in Chinese waters.
Many analysts believe China is embarking on a strategy of gradually pressing its claims in the water by seeing what it can get away with, believing that its much smaller neighbors will be unable or unwilling to stop them. Vietnam has accused Chinese ships of cutting cables to its exploration vessels and harassing fishermen, as has the Philippines.
Chinese assertiveness puts Vietnam’s authoritarian government in difficult position domestically because anger at China, an ideological ally, runs deep in the country. This is exploited by dissident movements, who accuse the government of being unwilling to speak out against Beijing.
Tran Cong Truc, the former head of a government committee overseeing the country’s border issues, said the latest Chinese move was especially provocative.
“This act by China is much more dangerous than previous actions such as cutting the exploration cable or fishing bans,” he said.
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Associated Press news assistant Zhao Liang in Beijing contributed to this report.


Military parade ordered by Trump postponed after costs spiral

Updated 3 min 21 sec ago
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Military parade ordered by Trump postponed after costs spiral

  • The US normally holds military parades to mark the end of a conflict, such as in 1991 when president George HW Bush held a National Victory Parade in Washington to celebrate the end of the first Gulf War
  • US media were quick to highlight how the ballooning costs of the proposed parade stood in contrast to his concern about the expense of conducting joint military exercises with South Korea

WASHINGTON: A military parade ordered by US President Donald Trump for later this year has been postponed until at least 2019, a defense official said Thursday, following reports the cost had soared to over $90 million.
The announcement was seen as a setback for the president, who had ordered the show of air power after being impressed by France’s Bastille Day parade last year.
The idea had been popular among many Americans but drew scorn from critics, who said it would be a waste of money and was akin to events organized by authoritarian regimes.
“The Department of Defense and White House have been planning a parade to honor America’s military veterans and commemorate the centennial of World War I,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning said in a statement.
“We originally targeted November 10, 2018 for this event but have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019,” he added.
When the White House in February announced the commander-in-chief’s desire to hold the parade in Washington, the budget director said it would cost between $10 million and $30 million.
But a US official told AFP earlier Thursday the planning estimate had now gone as high as $92 million, though no final figure has been reached.
The request for the event came after Trump’s visit to France in July 2017, where he was hosted with great fanfare by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Sitting on the Champs-Elysees during the Bastille Day parade, the American president had marveled at the Republican Guard on horseback and jets flying overhead.
He had initially hinted at plans to transform America’s Independence Day celebrations — usually associated with fireworks and barbecues — on July 4 into a vast military parade.
“To a large extent, because of what I witnessed we may do something like that on July Fourth in Washington down Pennsylvania Avenue,” he said in September 2017.

Even before becoming president, aides reported that Trump had considered a military parade to mark his inauguration — although that idea was eventually scrapped.
Trump has also embraced military backdrop for several speeches and presidential visits. However, he received deferments from carrying out military service of his own during the Vietnam War.
US media were quick to highlight how the ballooning costs of the proposed parade stood in contrast to his concern about the expense of conducting joint military exercises with South Korea.
“We will be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money,” Trump said in June after meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
It later emerged that the drills cost about $14 million, a fraction of the price of a military parade.
Others suggested the money could be better spent improving the lives of destitute veterans.
“Until such time as we can celebrate victory in the War on Terrorism and bring our military home, we think the parade money would be better spent fully funding the Department of Veteran Affairs and giving our troops and their families the best care possible,” said the American Legion’s national commander Denise Rohan.
The United States normally holds military parades to mark the end of a conflict, such as in 1991 when president George HW Bush held a National Victory Parade in Washington to celebrate the end of the first Gulf War.