Vietnam voices concern over South China Sea tensions

Vietnam has expressed grave concern over rising tensions in the South China Sea, following the latest clash between the Philippines and China. Vietnam also has territorial claims in the strategically important waterway.

Saturday's incident took place near Second Thomas Shoal, where Manila has a military outpost. China Coast Guard ships fired water cannon at a Philippine resupply vessel, damaging it and injuring three crew.

Vietnam's foreign ministry held a news conference on Thursday and called on both sides to resolve the dispute peacefully.

The ministry's Deputy Spokesperson Nguyen Duc Thang said, "Once again, we call on related parties to exercise self-restraint and help maintain peace, stability and cooperation in the South China Sea."

Thang said the friction between Beijing and Manila will affect talks among countries in the region on establishing a code of conduct in the sea.

Hanoi also has territorial disputes with Beijing, which claims nearly all of the South China Sea.

Observers say Vietnam wants to avoid getting embroiled in a conflict with China, while at the same time upholding its sovereignty claims in the waters.