|Kerry, Minh talk on S China sea tensions
Secretary of State John Kerry has spoken with his Vietnamese counterpart about US concern over China's provocative actions in the South China Sea, a US spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Kerry spoke with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh Tuesday on regional issues, said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, AFP reports.
Tensions over disputed territory are rising in the area, which has seen ramming incidents between Chinese and Vietnamese boats and anti-China riots in Vietnam. Washington is putting particular onus on China to ease the situation.
"Kerry expressed concern over China's provocative decision to introduce an oil rig and numerous government vessels in waters disputed with Vietnam, which has raised tensions in the region and led to deplorable violence against foreign citizens and businesses inside Vietnam,'' she said.
The top US diplomat "urged both sides to exercise restraint, take steps to de-escalate tensions, ensure safe conduct by their vessels at sea, and resolve the dispute through peaceful means in accordance with international law,'' she added.
Kerry also invited Minh to Washington "for consultations on the full range of bilateral and regional issues that are part of our Comprehensive Partnership,'' the spokeswoman said.
Washington says it does not take a view on the merit of territorial claims between China and several of its allies in the South China Sea.
But it calls on all parties to resolve the disputes peacefully and in accordance with international law.
There is a history of rivalry between China and Vietnam, particularly over the contested Paracel and Spratly islands.
The two nations fought naval battles over the islands in 1974 and 1988, and a border war that left tens of thousands dead on both sides in 1979.