Vietnam has raised with Beijing instances of "incursions" of Chinese ships in Vietnamese exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the contentious south China Sea, diplomatic sources said on Monday. In the last few months, three incursions have taken place, including one at a place which is close to an oil block explored by Indian firm ONGC, they said.
The "first incursion" took place on July 3 when a Chinese survey ship escorted by a few other vessels began surveying the EEZ of Vietnam, the source said. An exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea, subject to the specific legal regime established under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
A country's EEZ typically extends up to 200 nautical miles from its coastline, according to the international UN treaty. That country has sovereign rights to exploit any natural resources within that area, according to the agreement. The second and third incursion followed in August and September respectively, the sources said.
"We have raised the issue of incursions with Beijing multiple times," a source said. ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), the overseas arm of the Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), has sought yet another two-year extension to explore a Vietnamese oil block in the contested waters of the South China Sea.
Officials early September had said OVL has applied for a sixth extension to explore Block-128, the licence for which was valid till June 15, 2019. While India wants to maintain its strategic interest in the South China Sea, Vietnam wants an Indian firm to counter China's interventions in the contested waters.
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