Vietnam moves to resolve sea disputes

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Vietnam is taking steps to peacefully resolve territorial disputes in areas of the East Sea, Defense Minister General Phung Quang Thanh told a defense forum.

"Currently we step-by-step are undertaking dialogue with the countries concerned in order to address the matters of dispute," Thanh said at the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore Sunday.

"We would undertake negotiations in the spirit of good-neighborliness, friendship, cooperation and brotherhood," he said.

China told some international oil and gas companies to halt exploration in offshore areas that Vietnam considers part of its territory, a US official told Congress last year.

Vietnam and China recently reached a "good solution" to demarcate their land border, Thanh said. The two countries also agreed to joint sea patrols in the Gulf of Tonkin, he said.

"We still have disputes but we must solve them completely in line with international law," Thanh said. "More or less we can maintain stability in this part of the sea."

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in Singapore Saturday that the US "object to any effort to intimidate US corporations or those of any nation engaged in legitimate economic activity."

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