(Updates with Myanmar reaction)
DHAKA Nov 6 Myanmar stopped oil and gas
exploration in deep-sea blocks in disputed waters in the Bay of
Bengal on Thursday, a day after Bangladesh asked China for help
over the row, officials said.
"They have stopped exploration, but are yet to remove
vessels and equipment from our (sea) territory," a Bangladesh
navy official told Reuters.
In Yangon, a Foreign Ministry official said Myanmar had
only "paused" its exploration activities in the disputed
"We don't have any reason to change our stance on this
matter because it is located in our exclusive economic zone,"
said the Foreign Ministry official, who declined to be
"We will continue it soon and move somewhere else within
our zone when it's finished," he said of the exploration work.
Bangladesh sent a naval patrol to the area on Sunday after
Myanmar began exploration in the blocks, raising tensions in
the area thought to be rich in gas reserves.
Yangon summoned the Bangladesh ambassador on Sunday to
protest against the actions by Dhaka, which later sent a
diplomatic team to the former Burma this week.
The two impoverished countries have been holding talks for
years to demarcate their border in the Bay of Bengal. This week
Bangladesh said it wanted a diplomatic solution to the dispute
to avoid any confrontation.
Both sides have appealed to regional powerhouse China to
help resolve the dispute. China's Foreign Ministry on Thursday
urged both countries to take measures to resolve the dispute
"As a friend and neighbour of both countries, China hopes
to play a role through appropriate means," Foreign Ministry
spokesman Qin Gang told reporters at a regular briefing.
Technical delegations from both sides were scheduled to
meet in Dhaka on Nov. 16 and 17 to discuss maritime boundary
demarcation, officials said.
Bangladesh said last year some offshore blocks Myanmar had
been trying to explore in cooperation with India were in
(Additional reporting by Aung Hla Tun in YANGON)
(Reporting by Nizam Ahmed; Editing by Darren Schuettler and