Daily Press Briefing on June 20, 2014 About Vietnam Spratly Islands Dispute with China on Reports of Oil Rig in Disputed Waters

SOURCE: U.S. State Department

QUESTION: Yeah, on China, I just wanted to see if you have a reaction to their decision to move now, it seems, multiple other oil rigs off the coast of Vietnam.

MS. PSAKI: Well, we’ve seen those reports.

QUESTION: I think two were near Taiwan. One I think is just outside Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone. And the third one – the fourth one, I can’t remember right now. But —

MS. PSAKI: Right. In our – we are of course aware of the reports that China’s towing additional oil rigs to different locations in the South China Sea. As Arshad mentioned, there’s – I think there’s not a great deal of information at this point as to where they’re headed. If a rig were placed in disputed waters, that would be a concern. And we certainly have a national interest in the maintenance of peace and stability in the region. So at this point we don’t have enough information about the intended destinations of these rigs, so we’ll hold back judgment until we know more.

QUESTION: I think they have posted the latitude and longitude locations.

MS. PSAKI: I had not seen that before I came down, and I’m happy to see if there’s more we want to convey on this issue.


MS. PSAKI: Go ahead.

QUESTION: But it’s okay with you if the oil rigs are within the Chinese continental shelf?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think our concern all along here has been when it travels into disputed waters and some of the aggressive actions that have been taken. So we will be watching closely, and if we need to speak out further about it, I’m certain that we will.

QUESTION: And I wondered, do you have any reaction, given that the Chinese Councilor State Yang Jiechi just visit Vietnam, but it seems there was – no progress has been made between China and Vietnam on the oil rig issue?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we support diplomatic means of resolving these issues, and we certainly hope they will continue until they’re resolved.

QUESTION: Jen, when the first – sorry, when you – the first Chinese oil rig was deployed off the coast of Vietnam, you said it was – I can’t remember if it was you or Marie – but you said it was a provocative and destabilizing move.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm. Yes.

QUESTION: Would you say that these most recent actions – would you use those same words to characterize these most recent actions?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I want to know more about where they are and what they’re doing, and we stand by the comments we’ve made and I think we’ve both repeated those. So we’re certainly encouraging Chinese and both sides to refrain from provocative actions.

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