BEIJING   -     China accused the United States on Tuesday of “maliciously hyping up” the South China Sea situation and making warrantless criticism, after the Pentagon said China was carrying out “coercive interference” in waters claimed by Vietnam. A Chinese survey vessel on Saturday extended its activities to an area closer to Vietnam’s coast, ship tracking data showed, after the United States and Australia expressed concern about China’s action in the disputed waterway. The Pentagon said China had “resumed its coercive interference in Vietnam’s longstanding oil and gas activities in the South China Sea”. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, referring to the China-Vietnam issue, said the United States had again and again “made thoughtless remarks, made warrantless criticisms against China, completely distorting the facts and confusing right from wrong”. “China urges the United States to stop this kind of malicious hyping up behaviour, and play a positive and constructive role in regional and international matters,” he said.