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Xinhua: South China Sea oil exploration is over

China's state news agency says the country has completed its exploration for oil near disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Xinhua said drilling near the Xisha Islands ended on Tuesday. The islands are also known as the Paracels and are claimed by China and Vietnam.

The news agency said the work went smoothly and that the geological samples were collected on schedule.

China had set up the oil rig in May. This led to confrontations between Chinese and Vietnamese vessels in the area.

China's Maritime Safety Administration had earlier said the drilling would conclude on August 15th.
The rig will be moved to coastal waters off the southern Chinese island of Hainan.

Jul. 16, 2014 - Updated 07:02 UTC