WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States told Beijing on Monday that the movement last month of a Chinese oil rig and vessels into waters disputed with Vietnam was provocative, the State Department said.
Secretary of State John Kerry delivered the message in a telephone call with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, US spokesman Jen Psaki said.
Maritime rows in the South China sea flared this month after China moved an oil drilling rig into waters also claimed by Hanoi.
Mr Kerry emphasised the United States' "strong concerns" over recent developments in the South China Sea. "He said China's introduction of an oil rig and numerous government vessels in waters disputed with Vietnam was provocative," Ms Psaki said in a statement.
"He urged both sides to de-escalate tensions, ensure safe conduct by their vessels at sea, and resolve the dispute through peaceful means in accordance with international law," Ms Psaki said.