Hanoi - A top Chinese envoy said on Wednesday that his country and Vietnam have a common desire to solve tensions in disputed waters.
State Councilor Yang Jiechi is the most senior Chinese diplomat to visit Vietnam since China's deployment of a giant oil rig off the Vietnamese coast last month increased tensions between the neighbours.
Yang Jiechi told Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, who is also the foreign minister, that the countries are experiencing a "difficult" relationship and that promoting bilateral relations is the "common desire" of the Communist neighbours.
Minh told Yang that the meeting, the highest direct contact since the May standoff, demonstrates their desire to resolve the "complicated" situation in the South China Sea.
China and Vietnam accuse each other of ramming ships near the oil installation.