The Chinese Foreign Ministry said its neighbour had no right to comment on the annual summer prohibition on fishing, insisting the China had every right to issue such a ban. The rebuke comes after Vietnam last week resisted China’s decision to kick its fishermen out of the sea on May 1.
They will not be allowed to return until mid-August.
Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry hit out at the ban and said China should not “further complicate the situation in the South China Sea”.
On Monday Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, responded by saying the Vietnamese had no right to stage a fishing protest.
Vietnam’s protest came weeks after the country claimed one of its boats had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel.
The two countries have for years been embroiled in a bitter dispute over the stretch of water.
The area is known to the Vietnamese as the East Sea.
The stretch which is home to more than 200 specks of land is potentially rich in energy.
Last week Le Thi Thu Hang, a spokeswoman for Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry, said: “Vietnam demands that China not further complicate the situation in the South China Sea.”
The order comes after the United States accused China of taking advantage of the distraction of the coronavirus pandemic to advance its presence in the South China Sea.
Beijing hit back saying Washington was waging a smear campaign against the Communist Party.
Last week the US Navy deployed two patrol warships to the South China Sea.
The United States Navy has deployed two patrol ships to the disputed South China Sea where China and Malaysia have competing claims over a maritime region known to have valuable resources.
The littoral combat ship USS Montgomery and the replenishment ship USNS Cesar Chavez were deployed to carry out a “presence operation” US officials said.
The two ships would stay close to the drill ship West Capella, which carries a Panama flag, they said.
The move came weeks after reports suggesting Chinese vessels had repeatedly harassed the commercial ship.
About $ 4.5million (£3.6m) worth of trade passes through the route each year.
Experts believe it harbours huge oil and gas reserves.
China has accused the Americans of being aggressive in their interventions in the hotly contested stretch of water.