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China drills deep in disputed South China Sea

CommoditiesApr 08, 2021 21:40
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BEIJING, April 8 (Reuters) - China has drilled deep in the
South China Sea to retrieve sediment core from the seabed, state
media reported on Thursday, amid tensions over disputed waters
with rival claimants Taiwan and the Philippines, as well as with
the United States.
Chinese scientists on a marine research vessel used China's
home-made "Sea Bull II" drilling system to obtain a sediment
core 231 metres (253 yards)long at a depth of 2,060 metres
(6,760 feet), the official Xinhua news agency said.
The system can help explore natural gas hydrate resources in
the seabed, Xinhua added, referring to the solid ice-like
crystals formed from a mixture of methane and water that are
touted as a promising source of energy.
It was unclear exactly where the drilling took place in the
South China Sea, around 90% of which is claimed by Beijing as
its territorial waters. Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan,
Vietnam and Brunei also lay claim to parts of the sea, which has
vast oil and gas potential.
Tensions in the region have escalated since a U.S. Navy
strike group entered the South China Sea on Sunday. That came
after the president of the Philippines, a U.S. ally, voiced
concern about Chinese vessels massing in Manila's 200-mile
(320-km) exclusive economic zone. Self-ruled Taiwan, which China also claims as its own
territory, has threatened to shoot down Chinese drones spotted
circling the Taipei-controlled Pratas Islands in the South China
Sea. China's oil and gas exploration activities in the South
China Sea have stoked tensions before, notably when state-run
China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) deployed a deepwater
drilling rig in Vietnam-claimed waters in 2014.

China drills deep in disputed South China Sea
 

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