China accuses Vietnam in escalating sea tensions

June 11, 2011 02:19

BEIJING - China accused Vietnam of "gravely violating" its sovereignty and endangering Chinese sailors in the South China Sea in an escalating row over territorial claims in the resource-rich region.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry issued the condemnation of Vietnam late on Thursday after Hanoi accused China of harassing a ship doing seismic surveys in the South China Sea, contested by several nations.

China has quarreled with both Vietnam and the Philippines in recent weeks over festering maritime disputes and, though a military clash seems unlikely, the tensions could trouble regional diplomacy and possibly draw in the United States, which took up the South China Sea dispute last year.

Those tensions have been magnified by region-wide nervousness about China's naval modernization .

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