Hanoi: Chinese ships purposely collided with two Vietnamese vessels in disputed waters where Chinese firms started operating at the weekend, causing large scale damage, Vietnam`s foreign ministry said on Thursday.
China claims almost the entire oil- and gas-rich South China Sea, rejecting rival claims to parts of it from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei. It also has a separate maritime dispute with Japan.
"On May 4, Chinese ships intentionally rammed two Vietnamese Sea Guard vessels," said Tran Duy Hai, a foreign ministry official and deputy head of Vietnam`s national border committee.
"Chinese ships, with air support, sought to intimidate Vietnamese vessels. Water cannon was used," he told a news conference in Hanoi.
Hai said Vietnam had requested talks with high-level leadership in Beijing and was awaiting a response.
Other countries in the region were concerned, he said, adding that Vietnam would do "everything necessary" to settle the dispute peacefully.