China National Offshore Oil Corp. offered foreign companies oil and gas blocks that lie near waters also claimed by Vietnam and Japan as tensions flare among the countries over rights to resources in the area.
China will establish a military garrison on a disputed island in the South China Sea, part of an increased assertiveness in the resource-rich waters that’s straining ties with nations in the region and the U.S.
In asserting its claims to the tiny islands, rocks and reefs in the South China Sea, China points to records of its ancient mariners. Today, those waters are far more important to China than in the age of the sail.
China’s first deep-water drilling rig began operations near islands in the South China Sea in a move to assert Beijing’s territorial claims as travel agencies suspended tours to the Philippines amid safety concerns.
To China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, another Saudi Arabia of oil may lie beneath the ocean to its south. Escalating regional tensions mean large-scale drilling may be slipping further into the future.