Vietnam seeks French support for ‘maritime freedom’

France and other countries should help to keep the peace in the disputed South China Sea, Vietnam’s president told AFP on August 24, as unease grows over China’s increasingly muscular approach in the key waterway. China claims most of the sea where it has built up reefs capable of hosting military equipment, sparking ire from competing claimants, including Vietnam, and raising fears of potential armed conflict. Speaking to AFP ahead of a visit by French leader Francois Hollande next month, Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang said he hopes France and others will help to diffuse regional tensions in the waterway, which it calls the East Sea.

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