China: Stop ha­rass­ing oil rig in Xisha Is­lands

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YUNBI and PU ZHENDONG in Bei­jing and CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton

Bei­jing de­manded on Thurs­day that Hanoi cease its ha­rass­ing ac­tions against a Chi­nese oil rig in wa­ters off an is­land in the South China Sea and called for di­a­logue to end the con­flict.

The con­flict be­gan on May 2 in China’s ter­ri­to­rial wa­ters when state-run China Na­tional Off­shore Oil Corp placed a large deep-sea oil rig in a lo­ca­tion only 31 km away from Zhongjian Is­land, a part of China’s Xisha Is­lands. China said Hanoi then sent armed ships to ram Chi­nese ves­sels near the rig.

From May 3 un­til Wed­nes­day, Viet­nam had dis­patched more than 30 ves­sels and rammed Chi­nese ships 171 times, said Yi Xian­liang, deputy di­rec­tor of the Bor­der and Ocean Af­fairs depart­ment of For­eign Min­istry, in Bei­jing on Thurs­day.

Yi said Viet­nam has been us­ing armed ships against China’s govern­ment and civil­ian ships.

Ac­cord­ing to The As­so­ci­ated Press, a Viet­namese of­fi­cial said there were no re­ports of in­juries af­ter the ram­ming in­ci­dents.

The con­flict re­mains un­re­solved just days ahead of an As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions sum­mit. Chi­nese an­a­lysts said the dis­pute could add fuel to ten­sions be­tween the two na­tions.

Bei­jing said lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween Bei­jing and Hanoi “are work­ing well” and they have had con­tact many times over the past five days.

Li Yong, CEO of China Oil­field Ser­vices, which is con­tracted to drill on the rig, said that a ves­sel ram­ming the oil rig “would lead to dis­as­trous con­se­quences”.

Dong Manyuan, vice-pres­i­dent of the China In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies, said coun­tries such as Viet­nam have “stirred up ... an in­ci­dent that has up­set neigh­bor­ing na­tions”.

“All of the other coun­tries are watch­ing this sit­u­a­tion closely,” Dong said.

In a state­ment on Wed­nes­day, US State Depart­ment spokes­woman Jen Psaki said China’s de­ci­sion to in­tro­duce an oil rig ac­com­pa­nied by nu­mer­ous govern­ment ves­sels for the first time in wa­ters dis­puted with Viet­nam is provoca­tive and raises ten­sions.

On Thurs­day, US State Depart­ment deputy spokes­woman Marie Harf re­it­er­ated that the US doesn’t take a po­si­tion on the com­pet­ing ter­ri­to­rial claims. But she said the Chi­nese ac­tions are ex­actly what the US doesn’t want any­one to take. “We don’t want people to take provoca­tive steps that could lead to mis­cal­cu­la­tions.

Cole­man said: “it is time for young Amer­i­can stu­dents to wake up. Hard work is the key for ev­ery young per­son to achieve their aca­demic goals.”

“Ac­tu­ally, the way I look at the im­pact of work­ing with Han­ban is that I see it as such an amaz­ing self-trans­form­ing process — the spirit of hard work chang­ing Amer­i­cans, not just at school, but also in their daily lives,’’ he said.

Michelle Cloud, the man­age­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the Hous­ton, Texas, In­de­pen­dent School District, which will get one of the new Con­fu­cius In­sti­tutes, told China Daily. “We are so mo­ti­vated to en­roll in the US Col­lege Board’s net­work. We will re­ceive much more fund­ing from the Col­lege Board than be­fore to ex­e­cute the Con­fu­cius In­sti­tute.”

Qian­qian Wang, man­ager of the Con­fu­cius In­sti­tute in the Hous­ton In­de­pen­dent School District, said: “Be­fore we had a few schools that op­er­ated Chi­nese-lan­guage classes, and now the whole school district is in­volved.”

Large school districts act­ing as Con­fu­cius In­sti­tutes (CIs) will over­see sev­eral school-based Con­fu­cius Class­rooms (CCs), while smaller school districts or in­de­pen­dent schools will es­tab­lish in­di­vid­ual, school-based CCs. Each school district and in­de­pen­dent school will re­ceive sup­port to build Chi­nese-lan­guage pro­grams leading to AP Chi­nese.

The first Con­fu­cius In­sti­tute was es­tab­lished in South Korea in 2004. To­day, there are more than 440 Con­fu­cius In­sti­tutes and 650 Con­fu­cius Class­rooms in more than 120 coun­tries and re­gions, teach­ing Chi­nese lan­guage to more than 850,000 stu­dents. The US has the largest net­work of Con­fu­cius In­sti­tutes with more than 100.

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