Sat. Oct 23rd, 2021

The foreign minister says the two countries must be vigilant to resist the intervention of extraterritorial forces in the South China Sea.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a top Vietnamese official that the two countries should refrain from taking unilateral action against the South China Sea, which could complicate the situation and escalate disputes.

Wang spoke to Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh during a visit to Vietnam, the foreign ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

Vietnam is the first stop on Wang’s four-nation tour of the Asia-Pacific region – a move seen as Beijing’s response to US Vice President Kamala Harris’ recent visit to Southeast Asia.

Wang said the two countries should cherish the heavy-handed peace and stability in the South China Sea, and be vigilant in resisting the intervention of extraterritorial forces, the statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

According to reports, Wang would also meet his counterpart Bui Thanh Son in Hanoi before attending a China-Vietnam bilateral cooperation meeting.

On Friday, Vietnam announced that China will donate another three million doses of COVID-19 vaccine this year, increasing China’s total vaccine donation to the Southeast Asian country to 5.7 million doses.

While China and Vietnam have maintained robust economic and diplomatic relations, tensions have also risen in recent years over their dispute over areas in the South China Sea.

Le Thi Thu Hang, spokesman for Vietnam’s foreign ministry, complained in March that Chinese vessels at the Pentecostal reef, which Hanoi calls Da Ba Dau, had infringed on its sovereignty.

China says it has historical sovereignty over most of the waterway, but its neighbors and the United States say the claim has no basis in international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, in which China is signatory.

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