On a Thursday conference, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei said removal of HYSY 981 drilling rig was not influenced by any external factor.
“The HYSY 981 drilling rig has completed successfully its operation in waters off the Zhongjian Island of China’s Xisha Islands and moved on to a new operation site near Hainan Island. Everything follows relevant company’s normal plan of operation at sea and has nothing to do with any external factor,” Hong Lei said.
“While firmly upholding national territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, China stays committed to maintaining peace and stability of the South China Sea. We hope that relevant country can be objective and fair on relevant issues,” China added.
This reaction from China was an answer to US Department of State message welcoming the said move.
“We welcome China’s announcement that it is moving its oil rig from its location near the Paracels to an area closer to Hainan Island… We support relevant parties adopting a voluntary freeze on provocative unilateral actions.”
The US Department of State added that US government have expressed concerns on Asia-Pacific publicly as they have privately.