CHINA moved an oil rig out of waters claimed by Vietnam today after two months of drilling that triggered a near-breakdown in ties between the countries.
Withdrawing the rig from near the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea reduces the immediate risk of a naval conflict but will do little to mend relations.
Beijing made clear that it was shifting the rig because it had completed its work, not because of the criticism of its actions.
Hanoi demanded that China never again deploy a rig in waters it claims in the region, declaring that Vietnam was “determined to defend its sovereignty and sovereign rights in accordance with international law.”
Vietnam had insisted to no avail that Beijing withdraw the rig after its deployment in May and had sent patrol ships to try to disrupt the operations.
China insisted that it had done nothing wrong and accused Vietnam of illegally disrupting its activities.