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Vietnam sends envoy to China try and smooth tensions following rig spat

Vietnam is sending a senior Communist party official to China this week to try to rebuild relations badly bit by Beijing's decision to deploy an oil rig in waters claimed by Hanoi in May.

A statement Monday said the envoy was being dispatched after an invitation from the Chinese Communist party.

The movement of the rig by China triggered a furious reaction in Hanoi and led to speculation the secretive government might be reconsidering its relationship with Beijing, perhaps favoring a tilt to the United States.

The statement said visit is aimed at ensuring there won't be a repeat of the oil rig incident and to "promote the healthy, stable and long-term development of relations between the two parties and states."

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