Beijing: Stepping up diplomatic contacts with Vietnam in the backdrop of its row with India over ONGC's oil exploration bid in Vietnamese blocks in South China Sea, China proposed to Hanoi to "patch up differences" saying the bilateral ties have a "brilliant prospect".
   
Chinese Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi, who is currently in New York meeting a host of foreign leaders on the sidelines of UN General Assembly, met his Vietnamese counterpart, Pham Binh Minh.
     
"On the issue concerning the South China Sea, the two sides need to handle the relations from a strategic perspective, patch up differences, actively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and promote practical cooperation", a news agency quoted him as telling Minh.
   
DOC proposes to settle the maritime differences bilaterally.
   
The meeting took place in the backdrop of strong objections raised by China over ONGC Videsh's plan to take part in the oil exploration programme in two Vietnamese blocks, which Beijing claims as part of its maritime waters.

India rebuffed China's assertions saying that its oil exploration cooperation with Vietnam is based on international laws.

China claims the entire South China Sea as part of it which is strongly contested by a Vietnam and host of other neighbouring countries including Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines besides Taiwan.

(Agencies)