[ndlr] Suite de l’affaire de la Plateforme chinoise illégale HD 981. Analyse de l’expert australien Carl Thayer à lire sur The Diplomat.
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China’s Oil Rig Gambit: South China Sea Game-Changer?
China’s placement of a state-owned oil rig in the South China Sea was unexpected, provocative and illegal.
China’s placement of the giant state-owned oil rig HD-981 in Block 143 inside Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on May 2 was unexpected, provocative and illegal.
This incident marks the first time China has placed one of its oil rigs in the EEZ of another state without prior permission. This was an unexpected move because China-Vietnam relations have been on an upward trajectory since the visit to Hanoi by Premier Li Keqiang in October. At that time, both sides indicated they had reached agreement to carry forward discussions on maritime issues. China’s move was also unexpected because Vietnam has not undertaken any discernible provocative action that would justify China’s unprecedented actions.
China’s deployment of the rig was provocative because the oil rig was accompanied by as many as 80 ships, including seven People’s Liberation Army Navy warships. When Vietnam dispatched Coast Guard vessels to defend its sovereign jurisdiction, China responded by ordering its ships to use water cannons and to deliberately ram the Vietnamese vessels. These actions were not only highly dangerous, but caused injuries to the Vietnamese crew.
[ndlr] Article de Ankit Panda publié dans The Diplomat d’aujourd’hui. Analyse des raisons qui ont poussé la Chine populaire à forer dans les eaux vietnamiennes. Pourquoi maintenant et pourquoi le Vietnam ? L’article est suivi de l’analyse lucide et détaillée du Viêt-Nam sur cette question (première partie de l’émission). Rappel des faits et du contexte international particulier, offrant l’occasion pour la Chine de tenter de modifier les rapports de force dans la région et d’affirmer son autorité sur les eaux contestées.
Why Did China Set Up an Oil Rig Within Vietnamese Waters?
Why now and why Vietnam?
The who, what, where, when and how of China’s HD-981 oil rig foray into Vietnamese waters have been addressed comprehensively, both by commentators here at The Diplomat and elsewhere. The enduring question, as with many of China’s provocative actions in the Asia-Pacific, remains why? The opacity of China’s internal decision-making processes makes it rather difficult to conclusively answer that question, but a good amount of evidence suggests that the oil rig crisis with Vietnam was manufactured to test the mettle of ASEAN states and the United States. It gives Beijing an opportunity to gauge the international response to China asserting its maritime territorial claims.
As Carl Thayer points out on this blog and M. Taylor Fravel said in an interview with The New York Times, the China National Offshore Oil Company’s decision to move oil rig HD-981 was a premeditated move of territorial assertion. CNOOC may be a state-owned enterprise but the decision to move this $1 billion asset into an area with questionable hydrocarbon reserves while also inciting a diplomatic crisis speaks to the planned, political nature of this move. The fact that approximately 80 PLAN and Chinese coast guard ships accompanied the rig reinforces the notion that China was making a strategic push to assert its territorial claims in the region.