- VIETNAM CANNOT ACCEPT AND STRONGLY OPPOSES CHINA RIG PLACEMENT
Some observers see the move as a careful calculation by Beijing, which believes Vietnam won’t be willing to risk war over Chinese drilling. “It's going to be one more of these small, incremental steps that individually won't lead to conflict, but collectively, over time, gradually will change the status quo,” said Admiral Mike McDevitt U.S. Navy (Ret.), according to Foreign Policy.
For its part, Vietnam is demanding that China cease drilling operations. “All foreign activities in Vietnam's seas without Vietnam's permission are illegal and invalid,” Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Vietnam resolutely protests them.”
The move may also be a response to U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent trip to Southeast Asia, which included a deal with the Philippines to allow for a greater American troop presence in the region. The U.S. and the Philippines kicked off a two-week long military exercise on May 5.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that the South China Sea holds 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, most of which is located in disputed territory. China believes the oil and gas reserves could be much larger.
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