China, Vietnam Discuss Oil Rig Dispute
Chinese and Vietnamese officials meeting in Hanoi are expressing a willingness to improve ties strained by a dispute over an oil rig Beijing recently placed in contested waters off Vietnam's coast.
The comments on Wednesday came as both sides held their first high-level talks since the May deployment of the state-run oil rig, which led to a maritime standoff and deadly anti-China protests in Vietnam.
Vietnam's Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh confirmed Wednesday the dispute in the South China Sea, known to Vietnam as the East Sea, will be a focus of his meeting with Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi.
Yang acknowledged that the dispute is damaging relations between the two communist-led countries, which fought a bloody, three-week border battle in 1979.
After meeting with Foreign Minister Minh, Yang is scheduled to meet Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, as well as Nguyen Phu Trong, the head of Vietnam's Communist Party.
Militants Attack Iraq's Main Oil Refinery
Sunni Islamist militants have attacked Iraq's main oil refinery, causing damage to the site in the latest stage of a surge that has included seizing territory across northern Iraq.
The militants clashed with security forces at the refinery Wednesday in Baiji, which is located about halfway between Baghdad and Mosul. Militants took control of Mosul last week.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pledged Wednesday that his majority Shi'ite country would do whatever is necessary to protect Shi'ite holy sites in Iraq from what he called "terrorists."
Also Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama is due to host congressional leaders to discuss the situation in Iraq and possible responses to the militant advances.
The White House meeting comes as Mr. Obama considers a range of possibilities including assistance to Iraqi security forces and carrying out airstrikes, while stressing the need for political unity.