China diplomatically welcomes closer US-Vietnam relations

China officially welcomed the lifting of a decades-long US arms embargo on Vietnam on Monday, a move which the Foreign Ministry in Beijing said would be "conducive to regional peace, stability and development."

The US arms embargo had been "a product of the Cold War" and should not continue to exist, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a routine press briefing on Monday.

As Vietnam's neighbour, China was glad to see the country develop "normal cooperative relations" with all other countries, including the United States, Hua said.

Hua's comments come amid increased Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea, where Vietnam and other South-East Asian countries are engaged in territorial disputes with Beijing.

Unofficially, Beijing seemed unlikely to draw succour from closer relations between the US and a regional rival with whom China fought a border war in 1979.

Two years ago Beijing was forced to evacuate thousands of Chinese nationals from Vietnam when deadly riots erupted against Chinese exploratory drilling in disputed waters off Vietnam's central coastline.

China has been carrying out land reclamation and construction on islands in the South China Sea, parts of which are also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan.

US President Barack Obama's announcement of rapprochement in Hanoi enables Vietnam to import US defence technology, especially maritime capabilities and hardware.

A Chinese government bureau is planning a base station for an advanced rescue ship in disputed South China islands, state media reported on Monday.

The ship will carry drones and underwater robots and is set to be deployed in the second half of the year, said Chen Xingguang, political commissar of the ship, the official China Daily reported.

The civilian bureau has 31 ships and four helicopters conducting rescue missions and will work with the military on rescue efforts, the paper reported.

Last update: Tue, 28/06/2016 - 17:25

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