China urges Vietnam to stop unilateral oil, gas exploration in South China Sea

China on Thursday urged Vietnam to halt unilateral oil and gas development in the two countries’ overlapping waters in the South China Sea.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the comments at a daily press briefing in response to a Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesman’s remarks made on Wednesday that criticized China for violating its sovereignty after accusing Chinese ships of cutting cables belonging to Vietnamese survey vessels.

“What the Vietnamese side said is not in accordance with the facts,”said Hong.

The waters mentioned by the Vietnamese side are situated near the Beibu Gulf in an area where China and Vietnam have made overlapping claims, he said.

Chinese ships conducted routine fishing activity in the waters but were driven away by Vietnamese military vessels, said Hong.

He said the two countries are negotiating the demarcation and joint development of the waters.

“The Vietnamese side should stop the unilateral development of oil and gas in the previously mentioned areas and stop disturbing Chinese fishing ships so as to create a favorable atmosphere for negotiation,” Hong said.


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