Xi Jinping

Xi glosses over territorial rows in Hanoi talks

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 December, 2011, 12:00am


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China and Vietnam yesterday brushed aside differences over territorial disputes and vowed to further consolidate bilateral ties on the second day of Vice-President Xi Jinping's visit to Hanoi.

Xi and Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Thi Doan witnessed the signing of seven agreements pledging co-operation on financial, youth and health affairs and the media at Hanoi's presidential palace. One of the deals signed was for a US$200 million loan from the China Development Bank to the Bank of Investment and Development of Vietnam to help fund projects, including in the energy and telecoms sectors.

Ties between the two countries soured in May when Vietnam accused Chinese vessels of harassing Vietnamese ships within Vietnam's exclusive economic zone.

But President Hu Jintao, also party general secretary, and Vietnam Communist Party head Nguyen Phu Trong signed an agreement to maintain peace in the disputed waters during a visit by Trong to Beijing in October.

In yesterday's talks between Xi and top Vietnamese leaders, the two sides vowed to implement that consensus and maintain stability in the South China Sea, Xinhua reported.

Before the talks, a member of the Chinese delegation said that Xi's trip was not intended to attempt to negotiate a solution to the maritime dispute, adding that developing ties with neighbouring countries was a consistent foreign policy priority for China.

Xi and Trong hugged each other before the talks started.

In his opening remarks, Xi said his visit aimed to further develop bilateral ties and he would learn more about the achievements of the Communist Party of Vietnam during his trip. The friendship between the two countries would continue to grow if both sides stuck to the path of mutual development and sought to solve disputes with political wisdom, he said.

At a meeting with Vietnamese public security minister General Le Hong Anh and Doan, Xi said China was willing to develop ties with Vietnam through enhanced communication and mutual trust.

'China is willing to exchange views with Vietnam on issues concerning deepening Sino-Vietnam ties, strengthening mutual co-operation, and important international and regional problems, and to tackle problems relating to bilateral ties in a timely manner,' Xi said, adding both countries would attempt to boost bilateral trade to US$60 billion by 2015 and implement a five-year economic and trade co-operation plan.

Anh said co-operation between Vietnam and China was needed because the international situation was complicated and fast changing.

Professor Zhou Yongsheng , from China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing, said China was aware that any increase in tension in the South China Sea would not be conducive to resolving the disputes.

'China ... probably reached an understanding with Vietnam about not focusing on the disputes in the talks,' he said. 'Both sides are aware that the disputes cannot be resolved now, and it is more appropriate for them to seek some common ground first.'

He said focusing on the disputes would affect public sentiment in both countries and that would affect bilateral ties.

Xi started his tour by visiting the mausoleum of late Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh. He also attended a banquet hosted by Anh and Doan. He will meet Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and youth representatives before heading to Thailand today.


The amount in bilateral trade, in US dollars, between China and Vietnam in the first 11 months of this year -up 35.2 per cent year on year