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Clinton chides Vietnam on protecting human rights

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says she supports Vietnam's work to help resolve issues in the disputed South China Sea but believes the communist country needs to do more to protect human rights.

Following a meeting with Vietnam Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on Tuesday, Clinton said she remains particularly concerned about the lack of online freedom, along with the jailing of journalists, bloggers, lawyers and dissidents for peaceful expression.

Vietnam maintains only lawbreakers are imprisoned.

Clinton also said she hopes progress is made this week at a regional meeting in Cambodia toward establishing a code of conduct to help resolve disputes peacefully in the South China Sea where tensions have recently flared.

China, Vietnam, the Philippines and other neighbors have overlapping claims in the sea, including islands that straddle important shipping lanes and are believed rich in oil and natural gas reserves. The U.S. has said maintaining peace and freedom of navigation is in its national interest.