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Southeast Asia's flashpoint

Vietnam's need for more energy is reviving the disputes with Beijing over the South China Sea

Oil and gas-hungry Vietnam is tweaking the lion's tail in a long-disputed part of the South China Sea that could bring to a head a simmering row with China. Hardly a month after China oversaw the development—or rather revival—of a "negotiating framework" with Vietnam and other claimant nations intended to establish a code of conduct for arguments in these waters, Vietnam began exploration in the Spratly Islands over which China has unilaterally asserted its rights. Almost immediately, China cancelled a defence meeting with Vietnam. In the process put in jeopardy the code of conduct that Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi had hailed as a solid foundation that would ensure a generally stable s

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