China on Thursday asked Vietnam to immediately stop “unilateral” oil exploration in the disputed waters in the South China Sea, days after Chinese boats reportedly damaged a seismic ship of the Vietnamese state-owned oil firm, raising tensions in the region.
“Vietnam should immediately stop unilateral oil exploration in that part of the (disputed) sea and stop interrupting Chinese fishing boats so as to create conducive atmosphere for relevant negotiations,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a media briefing in Beijing.
About Vietnam’s allegations that its seismic ship was damaged by Chinese boats, Hong said, “Vietnam’s allegation is inconsistent with facts. To our knowledge the sea area claimed by Vietnam is in the overlapping areas between China’s Hainan island and Vietnam and our side.”
The Chinese were carrying fisheries activities in that part of the sea, which is completely justified and they were dispersed by the Vietnamese naval ship, Hong alleged.