China has denounced soccer and volleyball games between Vietnamese and Philippines troops held on an island claimed by Beijing, but controlled by Hanoi.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman on Monday called the previous day's goodwill meeting "a clumsy farce," adding that “China has irrefutable sovereignty over the Spratly Islands and the seas nearby.”
The Vietnamese-held island of Southwest Cay is part of the Spratly Island chain claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam. The Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei also claim sections of the chain.
Analysts have told VOA Hanoi apparently is committed to deepening its relationship with Manila in the face of similar maritime disputes with China.
The AFP news service described Sunday’s games as “a landmark act of sports diplomacy.” It cited a joint statement by the Philippines and Vietnam, which said the two countries "deem that this activity serves as a proof that disputes do not hinder development of practical and tangible cooperation between the two navies."
Vietnamese ships continue to clash with Chinese ships near a controversial oil rig that Beijing placed in disputed waters last month.
Hanoi has accused China of firing water cannons at and ramming Vietnamese fishing boats, including one that sank last month. Beijing says that Vietnam is the aggressor and that its ships have rammed Chinese vessels more than 1,000 times.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP.