Chinese PresidentXi Jinping told his visiting Vietnamese counterpart on Wednesday that maintaining peace and stability in the contested South China Sea was vital for both countries, who should remember their traditional friendship.
Beijing‘s assertion of sovereignty over a vast stretch of the South China Sea has set it directly against Vietnam and the Philippines, while Brunei, Taiwan and Malaysia also lay claim to other parts of the sea, making it Asia’s biggest potential military troublespot.
At stake are potentially massive offshore oil reserves. The seas also lie on shipping lanes and fishing grounds.
Vietnam has accused China of harassing or attacking Vietnamese fishing boats in the South China Sea where their mutual territorial claims overlap, while China has told Vietnam to better educate their sailors to stay out of Chinese waters.
In December, Vietnam accused Chinese ships of sabotaging an exploration operation by state oil and gas company…
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