Hanoi has pressed ahead its work on an oil rig on the Vanguard bank, despite an increased military presence by Beijing in the Taiwan strait. The Russian-backed project using a Hakuryu-5 rig – is on a mission to look for oil and gas in the region. The joint-operation by the Kremlin’s oil company, Rosneft, started work in the South China Sea in May and according to the Southern Vietnam Maritime Safety Assurance Corporation, it will continue until September 15.
The Maritime company also urged other vessels to stay away from the area.
Vietnam foreign ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said: “Vietnam has had several appropriate diplomatic exchanges requesting immediate withdrawal from Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone.
“Vietnam resolutely and persistently protects our sovereign rights by peaceful means on the basis of international laws”.
China has sought to play down its presence in the strait and called on Hanoi to find a resolution.
Beijing’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “China has already expressed its stance and is keeping in touch with the Vietnamese side.
“We call on Vietnam to properly handle the incident.”
Meanwhile, Collin Koh – an expert in the region has insisted Hanoi is “not going to back down”.
The research fellow at the University in Singapore, said: “But the most important signal Vietnam wants to send is definitely it’s not going to back down.
“Ever since the Repsol episode, Hanoi has resolved not to back down any more lest Beijing continues to hamper legitimate Vietnamese energy work in its own exclusive economic zone.”
The South China Sea is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.
An estimated £3.95trillion worth of goods passes through it each year.
In recent months, China has flexed its control over the area and has been seen aggressively building and militarising artificial islands.