Hanoi (AsiaNews) – As it prepares to survey the Spratly Islands for oil and gas, China continues to chase Vietnamese fishing boats. In a few days, the Association of South East Asia Nations (ASEAN) will meet for its annual summit on security. The territorial disputes between China and other nations over the islands in the East Sea (South China Sea) will be on its agenda.
Fishermen from the Vietnamese province of Quang Ngai reported on Saturday that a Chinese naval ship, bearing the number 44861, “threatened a Vietnamese fishing boat, numbered QNG- 98868TS, with machine guns. About ten Chinese sailors boarded the vessel and beat Vietnamese fishermen and seized about a tonne of fish”.
In China, media have reported the arrival of Ocean 981, a deepwater drilling platform. It is 650 metres long, 136 metres high, and has a load of 30,000 tonnes. It can drill at depths of 1,500-3,000 metres, and ha operational costs of about a US$ 1 million a day.
By engaging in such a survey, China is staking its claim to the area. Experts believe the East Sea (South China Sea) has an estimated equivalent of around 35-50 billion tonnes in oil and gas, second only to the Persian Gulf.