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China presses territorial claims to much of the South China Sea, while India has been exploring for oil in Vietnamese waters - an agreement with Vietnam that China views with suspicion.

Vietnam’s fast-growing economy and its natural resources, including oil and gas, are an attraction for India, which, like China, is seeking energy sources to fuel its economic boom.

On Thursday, Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met in the Indian capital and decided to hold a maritime cooperation dialogue, said India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin.

PHILIPPINES

27,000 Filipino policemen don’t have official guns

MANILA | More than 27,000 Philippine police officers - about a fifth of the national force - do not have government-issued guns, prompting many of them to rely on their own guns to battle criminals and insurgents, officials said Wednesday.

Like the underfunded Philippine military, one of Asia’s weakest, the 140,000-strong police have struggled with scarce funds and weapons while dealing with widespread crimes, decades-long communist and Muslim rebellions, and attacks and threats from al Qaeda-linked militants in the country’s volatile south.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said his department has released $5.7 million to purchase 12,696 9 mm pistols, and arm less than half of the police officers and recruits without government-provided arms.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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