Tensions sparked once again Sunday after Vietnam refused to abide by China's fishing ban on the disputed maritime area.
Since 1999, China has imposed an annual fishing ban to promote and maintain the fishing industry, however, Hanoi believes the ban violates international law and its sovereignty over the South China Sea. The area is being disputed as territorial water by several countries, including the Philippines and Taiwan.
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China's Defense Minister Chang Wanquan met with his Vietnamese counterpart Phung Quang Thanh later on Sunday and reassured both countries have “the wisdom and capability to achieve success in tackling maritime issues.”
Tensions in the region are high after the U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter requested options to “assert freedom of navigation” last week by sending aircraft and warships within 12 nautical miles of a series of Chinese-made artificial islands in the South China Sea, prompting Beijing to flag "serious concerns.”
The Chinese President Xi Jinping met with United States Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday in Beijing, and discussed the rising territorial disputes over the South China Sea.
The Chinese head of state vowed for an increase in dialogue between both countries, highlighting their bilateral ties.
The United States has decisively backed Japan and other regional allies in an effort to reduce China's influence in the Pacific. The Japanese government has launched joined military exercises with the Vietnamese and the Philippines, raising risks of a regional conflict.
Tokio and Beijing also hold a territorial row over a group of islands, known as the Senkaku islands in Japan and the Diaoyu islands in China.