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Vietnam asks world to condemn China for actions in South China Sea

vietnam-china-oil-rig.jpg

May 7, 2014: In this photo released by Vietnam Coast Guard, a Chinese ship, left, shoots water cannon at a Vietnamese vessel, right, while a Chinese Coast Guard ship, center, sails alongside in the South China Sea, off Vietnam's coast. Chinese ships were ramming and spraying water cannons at Vietnamese vessels trying to stop Beijing from setting up an oil rig in the South China Sea, according to Vietnamese officials and video evidence. (AP/Vietnam Coast Guard)

Vietnam's prime minister on Wednesday called on the world to condemn China for causing what he called an "extremely dangerous" situation in the disputed South China Sea, citing Beijing's recent deployment of an oil rig near an island that both countries claim.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, standing beside the Philippine president after they held talks in Manila, said both of their countries would strengthen defense cooperation and were determined to oppose Chinese violations of international law. He cited Beijing's May 1 deployment of an oil rig in waters near the Paracel Islands, also claimed by Vietnam.

Chinese and Vietnamese vessels have had repeated confrontations in waters near the oil rig since it was deployed. China's action also triggered angry protests in Vietnam that killed two Chinese workers and wounded more than 100 others.

The "president and I shared the deep concern over the current extremely dangerous situation caused by China's many actions that violate international law," Dung said in a news conference.

"The two sides are determined to oppose China's violations and called on countries and the international community to continue strongly condemning China and demanding China to immediately end the above said violations," he said.

China and the Philippines are also locked in a standoff over another South China Sea reef, the Second Thomas Shoal. Chinese coast guard ships have thrice attempted to block Filipino vessels delivering new batches of military personnel and food supply to Philippine marines keeping watch on the disputed area on board a long-grounded ship.

Many have feared the long-seething territorial disputes in the resource-rich South China Sea could spark Asia's next major armed conflict. Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan also have overlapping territorial claims in the strategic area, aside from China, Vietnam and the Philippines.