US challenges China over 'provocative' behaviour

A senior US official has that China's actions in maritime disputes with its neighbors in the South China Sea are straining American and China relations and raise questions on whether Washington can work together with Beijing in Asia and on bilateral issues,

Ships of Chinese Coast Guard are seen near Chinese oil rig Haiyang Shi You 981 in the South China Sea. Credit: Reuters/Nguyen Min

Washington is in close contact with the Vietnamese government on "how most effectively to manage" Hanoi's standoff with Beijing after China towed an oil rig into seas claimed by both countries, the official said.

Vice President Joe Biden and other top US officials told visiting Chinese General Fang Fenghui, chief of the general staff of China's army, that Beijing's behaviour in the maritime disputes was "dangerous and provocative" and must stop, the official said.