China, Vietnam `to resolve maritime row`

China and Vietnam have pledged to reach a "peaceful resolution of the maritime dispute".

Beijing: China and Vietnam have pledged to resolve a row over competing South China Sea territorial claims "peacefully", Chinese media on Sunday quoted both sides saying after tensions spiked over the issue.

The neighbours pledged to reach a "peaceful resolution of the maritime dispute between the two countries through negotiations and friendly consultations”, a report by China`s official Xinhua news agency said.

The joint vow was made during talks in Beijing on Saturday between Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo, China`s senior foreign-policy official, and Vietnamese Vice Foreign Minister Ho Xuan Son.

They agreed to "take effective measures to jointly safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea" and speed up talks aimed at reaching an agreement on addressing bilateral maritime disputes, Xinhua said.

But no details on specific plans or timings were given.

Besides the recent Sino-Vietnamese tensions, the Philippines has also complained of increasingly aggressive actions by Beijing in waters claimed by both nations in the strategically vital and potentially resource-rich South China Sea.

The Philippines and China -- along with Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam -- claim all or part of the South China Sea, and the area has long been considered one of Asia`s potential military flashpoints.

The United States has stepped into the fray, pledging to support the defence of its longtime ally the Philippines.

Those two countries will hold 11 days of naval exercises starting on Tuesday off the southwestern Philippines in a show of unity.

Bureau Report

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