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Dispute is not with Asean: Beijing

The South China Sea dispute is not a problem between China and Asean and Beijing opposes certain member states trying to use it to sow discord, its foreign ministry said yesterday.

China was ready to work with Asean to continue implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, which was agreed on in 2002 to try to manage tensions, the ministry added.

Meanwhile, Vietnam accused China of dispatching fighter jets to guard an oil rig in contested waters, as protesters in Hanoi staged one of the country's largest ever anti-China demonstrations.

Over the weekend, two groups of Chinese military aircraft flew above Vietnamese ships, which were tasked with preventing the Chinese rig from drilling, a Vietnamese Coast Guard official said.

Some 1,000 people, from war veterans to students, took to the streets yesterday, waving banners against Beijing.