Sat, 18 Sep 2021

Hanoi [Vietnam], September 12 (ANI): China and Vietnam should avoid taking unilateral actions that would complicate the situation or expand the dispute in the South China Sea, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi told the Vietnamese counterpart to Southeast Asian country.

Wang made the remarks during a meeting of the 13th steering Committee for Vietnam-China Bilateral Cooperation with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on Friday.

Wang Yi said China and Vietnam keep alert to external forces' interventions and attempts to sow discord between the two countries, Global Times reported.

At the meeting, Wang stressed that amid the major changes rarely seen in a century and the pandemic, the two socialist neighbours are destined to cooperate to overcome the difficulties together.

China and Vietnam have cooperated effectively on epidemic control and the bilateral trade spiked despite the pandemic, Wang noted, according to a statement on the website of the Chinese foreign ministry.

Vietnam has territorial disputes with China over the Spratly and Paracel island groups in the South China Sea, with Beijing accused of militarizing the outposts it has built.

The Indo-Pacific region is largely viewed as an area comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.

While Beijing claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean are seen to have challenged the established rules-based system.

China has also announced that it will hold a five-day military exercise from Friday in the South China Sea as tensions escalate in the region.

The exercise, which will include setting up a vast navigation restriction zone, comes as the US and other countries in the region are building pressure on Beijing by holding large-scale military drills. (ANI)

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