China’s President Calls for Restraint in South China Sea Dispute

Chinese President Hu Jintao told Vietnamese counterpart Truong Tan Sang that both countries should stay calm and act with restraint over territorial disputes in South China Sea.

“There have been some difficulties with China-Vietnam relations because of the dispute of the South Sea,” Hu told Truong at a meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, according to a statement from China’s Foreign Ministry. “This is what we don’t want to see.”

China has become increasingly assertive in claiming sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea, a region rich in oil and gas. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have territorial claims over parts of the area.

China and Vietnam “should avoid any unilateral actions that would expand, complicate and internationalize the dispute,” Hu was cited as saying in Vladivostok, where he and Truong are attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. He said they should “adhere to bilateral negotiations and friendly consultations.”

China’s foreign ministry said Truong told Hu that Vietnam is willing to work with China to solve the dispute as early as possible through peaceful and friendly negotiations.