BEIJING:China has called on Vietnam to avoid unilateral measures in the disputed South China Sea region which might complicate the situation and magnify disputes.
China and Vietnam should cherish the hard-won peace and stability achieved in the area and remain vigilant to resist the intervention of extraterritorial forces, said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Wang made the remarks in Vietnam during a meeting with the neighboring country's Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
China insists that it has historical sovereignty over most of the waterway, though the US and its allies in the region claim otherwise, citing “international law,” including a 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which the US is not a signatory.
On Friday, Vietnam said China will donate 3 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Vietnam this year, raising China's total vaccine donations to the Southeast Asian country to 5.7 million doses.
"Beijing continues to coerce, to intimidate, and to make claims to the vast majority of the South China Sea.
The South China Sea is a gateway to major sea routes, through which about 3.4 trillion dollars' worth of trade pasases each year, and contains huge gas fields and rich fishing grounds. China claims sovereignty over much of the strategic waterway and has since 2014 built artificial islands on reefs and installed military bases on them.
Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei have overlapping claims with China to parts of the sea.