A video showing a large Chinese ship ramming and sinking a smaller Vietnamese fishing boat in disputed waters has been aired by Vietnam state television (VTV).

In the footage recorded on board a nearby vessel at the end of May, the Chinese boat is seen steaming as it chases down the fishing boat in waters near the Paracel Islands, in the South China Sea.

Once it eventually reaches its prey, the vessel apparently deliberately stirs into it causing the Vietnamese boat to capsize.

"The latest images recorded by Vietnamese fishermen at the time when fishing ship DNa-90152 was sunk by a Chinese ship serve as irrefutable evidence of the inhumane actions of China against Vietnamese fishermen," VTV report said.

The Vietnamese coast guard said that the ten fishermen on board the sunken vessel were rescued.

Hanoi earlier said that the fishing boat had been surrounded by some 40 Chinese vessels before it was sunk.

The Chinese government refuted the accusation and blamed the Vietnamese vessel for the incident.

"China's ships were in a defensive mode... who was it who took the initiative for the clash? Who was it who created tension on the scene? This is very clear," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

Vietnamese and Chinese vessels have been sparring in waters near the Paracel Islands since Chinese oil rig was deployed in the area, which is claimed by both courtiers.

"Since China put the rig in Vietnam's water, they have damaged 24 Vietnamese ships," Admiral Ngo Ngoc Thu, vice commander of the Vietnam Coastguard, said.

The Admiral said that up to 140 Chinese ships were sailing around the rig, including "six military vessels and many military planes".

Beijing claims virtually the entire South China Sea, overlapping with Vietnam and other countries' claims to the potentially energy-rich waters.