Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi speaks during talks with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi, Vietnam on Wednesday. Pic: AP.

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — A top Chinese envoy says 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 neighbors.

Yang Jiechi told Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, who is also the current foreign minister, that the two countries are experiencing a “difficult” relationship and that promoting bilateral relations is the “common desire” of the Communist neighbors.

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.