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.
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 .