Daily Update, June 27, 2012 – more on South China Sea

Today’s links continue following the micro-developments in the South China Sea, as Vietnam and the Philippines both move to manipulate matters in each country’s ongoing island and territorial water dispute with China. The first four links fit into the Vietnam–China framework. The last two are on Philippines–China.

  • Vietnam Warns China to Halt Oil Bids in Area Awarded to Exxon – Bloomberg
    Vietnam’s state-run oil explorer warned China to halt efforts to develop disputed areas of the South China Sea that Hanoi’s leaders have already awarded to companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and OAO Gazprom.

    Vietnam Oil & Gas Group, also known as PetroVietnam, will ask China National Offshore Oil Corp., the government-owned parent of Cnooc Ltd. (883), to cancel an invitation for foreign companies to explore nine blocks, Chief Executive Officer Do Van Hau told reporters in Hanoi yesterday. PetroVietnam and its partners will continue exploring in the area and asked foreign companies not to bid for the nine blocks, he said.

  • Vietnam Calls on Cnooc Parent to Scrap Oil Exploration Bids – Bloomberg
    Cnooc deployed China’s first deep-water drilling rig last month near disputed islands to assert Beijing’s territorial claims. The company said the blocks, covering an area of 160,124 square kilometers, are available for exploration and development cooperation with foreign companies this year, according to a June 23 statement on its website.

    The area “lies entirely within Vietnam’s 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone and continental shelf,” Nghi said. “This is absolutely not a disputed area.”

    China’s oil exploration in the South China Sea is “normal corporate activity” and complies with international law, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular briefing in Beijing yesterday.

    The invitation for bids came as Vietnam’s parliament passed a law reasserting its sovereignty over the area. China summoned Vietnam’s ambassador June 21 to protest the move, with Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun saying Vietnam’s statement wasn’t “conducive to peace and stability.”

  • Sansha city set to protect marine environment – China Daily
    The country’s Sansha plan will help coordinate the three islands’ efforts to protect the marine environment and islands’ scientific development, said Zhao Zhongshe, director of the Hainan Department of Ocean and Fisheries, Hainan Daily reported during the weekend.

    The State Council has approved the establishment of the prefectural-level city of Sansha and decided that its government seat will be on Yongxing Island, which is part of the Xisha Islands, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs last week.

  • Google Maps aerial shot of “Yongxing Island” or “Woody Island” or “Phu Lam” Island
    Largest island in the Paracels.
  • Phl set to lift fish ban – The Philippine Star » News » Headlines
    CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga, Philippines – The Philippines will lift on July 15 the fishing ban it imposed last May at the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal off the coast of Zambales, half a month earlier than the scheduled lifting of a similar ban imposed by China. …

    China was the first to announce the fishing ban in May, followed by the Philippines. …
    China’s fishing ban is until Aug. 1 and covers nearly the entire South China Sea. It is meant ostensibly to curb overfishing in waters China claims as its territory.

  • Philippines opens school on disputed South China Sea island
    Filipino troops guard Pag-asa, the largest of nine islands, sandbars and reefs held by the Philippines under a municipality led by Bito-onon. The Philippine government established the far-flung municipality in 1978 to reinforce its claim to the Spratly archipelago.

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