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Hanoi, Beijing Call Off Meeting as South China Sea Drama Brews

© AP Photo / XinhuaIn this undated photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese H-6K bomber patrols the islands and reefs in the South China Sea.
In this undated photo released by Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese H-6K bomber patrols the islands and reefs in the South China Sea. - Sputnik International
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A bilateral meeting slated to be held between Chinese and Vietnamese officials on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum over the weekend was scratched at the last minute, as tensions simmer in the South China Sea over a disputed oil field.

The diplomats “already met,” an anonymous Chinese Foreign Ministry official told the Japan Times, though Vietnamese officials have not provided a reason explaining why the meeting was canceled.

Haiyang Shiyou oil rig 981, the first deep-water drilling rig developed in China, is pictured at 320 kilometers (200 miles) southeast of Hong Kong in the South China Sea. - Sputnik International
Beijing Vowed Strike on Vietnam Targets for Drilling in South China Sea

Beijing and Hanoi recently disputed an oil field located in “Block 136-03” in the South China Sea, with Beijing reportedly vowing to attack Vietnamese bases in the Spratly Islands for sending ships to the area for oil exploration. Repsol, a Spanish-owned oil firm, leased rights to the area under dispute from Hanoi and has invested $300 million making it a commercially-viable asset.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed that it had taken “practical actions” to maintain the status quo in the South China Sea. Approximately $5 trillion worth of goods transit the waterway annually.  

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