Vietnam, China ‘to avoid conflicts’ in S. China Sea

Vietnam and China have agreed to back away from conflicts in the South China Sea, in a move aimed at easing tensions. On Monday, Hanoi and Beijing agreed to keep the peace in the sea, the countries said in a joint statement during a state visit to Hanoi by Chinese President Xi Jinping, AFP reports. The communist neighbors have long sparred over the sea to which Brunei, Taiwan and the Philippines also have partial claims. They agreed to “well manage disputes at sea, make no moves that may complicate or expand disputes,” the Vietnamese version of the statement said. Earlier this year, Vietnam suspended an oil-exploration project in an area off its coast that China claims as its own, reportedly in response to pressure from Beijing.