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Vietnam accuses China of violating sovereignty

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) – Vietnam has accused China of violating its sovereignty in the latest spat between the communist neighbors over disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry says in a statement Friday that a Chinese oil company has recently opened bidding for oil exploration near the Paracel islands, while earlier this month China conducted live firing exercises near the island and planned to expand tourism there.

China has occupied the Paracels since 1974, but Vietnam claims sovereignty.

The statement quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi as saying Chinese actions “seriously violate Vietnam’s sovereignty … and international laws.”

Nghi demanded that China respect Vietnam’s sovereignty and end violations.

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