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Top China diplomat Yang Jiechi meets Vietnam officials amid tensions over oil rig

Published on Jun 18, 2014 12:28 PM
Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi (left) speaks during a meeting with Vietnam's Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (not pictured) at the government's guesthouse in Hanoi on June 18, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

HANOI (Reuters) - China's top diplomat began a round of meetings with Vietnamese officials in Hanoi on Wednesday as the two countries try to repair a rupture in ties over China's positioning of an oil rig in disputed waters early last month.

But many obstacles remain to resolving one of the worst breakdowns in Sino-Vietnamese relations since the neighbours fought a brief border war in 1979.

Among the challenges likely to come up in talks: The continued presence of the rig in South China Sea waters claimed by both countries as well as Beijing's demand for compensation in the wake of anti-Chinese riots that erupted in Vietnam in the days after the drilling platform was deployed.

Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi, who outranks the foreign minister, first met Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.

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