Reuters China has moved an oil rig at the center of last year's violent dispute with Vietnam closer to Vietnam's coast in the disputed South China Sea, just weeks ahead of the first visit by a chief of Vietnam's Communist Party to Washington. by Ben Blanchard, Adam Rose, and Greg Torode
'The move, announced by China's
maritime safety authorities, comes soon after the country indicated it
was close to setting up new outposts in the maritime heart of Southeast
Asia, as it nears completion of land reclamation in the South China Sea.
'China claims most of the potentially energy-rich South China
Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have
deployment of the rig last year in what Vietnam called its exclusive
economic zone and on its continental shelf, about 120 nautical miles off
its coast, led to the worst breakdown in relations since a brief border
war in 1979.'