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BEIJING- China has sent four more oil rigs to the South China Sea, a move that looked set to worsen tensions with neighbors who dispute Beijing’s claim to swaths of the area. The deployments were announced last week but the last drilling platforms headed out earlier this week, according to China’s Maritime Security Administration.

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Last month, China sent an oil platform protected by a flotilla of fishing boats, patrol ships and naval vessels into territory claimed by Vietnam. The resulting bilateral dispute turned deadly when violent anti-Chinese protests erupted across Vietnam. Both countries have accused each other of firing water cannons and ship ramming in the waters. In the last year, China has more aggressively pursued its claims in the region, reportedly starting construction of an airfield on an island in the disputed territory and mulling the development of an artificial island to serve as a hub to project its military power.


- Ed Flanagan