Kuala Lumpur/Hanoi — A Chinese government survey ship embroiled in a standoff with Vietnamese vessels moved south near Malaysia, shipping data showed on Thursday, amid accusations that China is using the pandemic to assert its presence in the South China Sea.

The Haiyang Dizhi 8 was spotted off Vietnam this week, returning after being closely tracked in 2019 in the resource-rich waters, a potential global flashpoint as the US challenges China’s sweeping maritime claims...

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