The United States commander in Pacific says that he has "serious concerns" about the ongoing dispute between China and Vietnam in the South China Sea.
Admiral Samuel Locklear III told The Straits Times that the "risk of miscalculation is high", when asked for his assessment whether the face-off - currently restricted to a war of words - could blow up into a larger conflagration.
"I have serious concerns," he said, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum.
"I believe that we should encourage both parties to exercise restraint and to deal with these types of issues through normal vehicles - international laws, international platforms - to be able to resolve this.
"Because the risk of miscalculation, I think, is high, we encourage both parties to exercise restraint."
On whether the US and Vietnam will forge a strategic alliance, he said: "We look forward to expanding our relationship with Vietnam. But Vietnam is among many."
Visit the WEF-EA site at http://www.weforum.org/events/world-economic-forum-east-asia-0