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Beijing urges Vietnam ‘not to complicate’ S. China Sea issue

Beijing urges Vietnam ‘not to complicate’ S. China Sea issue

Beijing called on Vietnam on Friday not to “complicate” the South China Sea issue, after a senior Vietnam official said the country could explore legal action in its territorial dispute with China over the waters. Friction has grown between the two neighbors since China in July sent a ship for a months-long seismic survey to an area internationally designated as Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but also claimed by China, Reuters said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Le Hoai Trung said in Hanoi on Wednesday that Vietnam preferred negotiations, but did have other options for the disputed waterway, including arbitration and litigation.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that at the core of the South China Sea problem was Vietnam and other claimants “invading and occupying” Chinese islands.

Beijing claims almost all the energy-rich waters of the South China Sea, where it has established military outposts on artificial islands. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims to parts of the sea.