BEIJING, (Xinhua) — China and Vietnam pledged on Monday to properly manage maritime differences and further enhance bilateral substantial cooperation.
The pledge came as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang held talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who is paying an official visit to China starting Saturday.
During the talks held at the Great Hall of the People, Li told Phuc the South China Sea issue is related to territorial sovereignty, maritime interests as well as national sentiment.
“China and Vietnam need to work together to abide by agreements reached by the leaders of the two countries, safeguard stability in the South China Sea, and build consensus to advance bilateral ties and safeguard maritime and regional peace,” Li said.
Phuc said Vietnam would like to properly resolve maritime issues with China in the spirit of equality and mutual respect and in a peaceful way.
He suggested the two sides manage their differences, conduct maritime cooperation in areas of low sensitivity and maintain a stable situation in the South China Sea to prevent the maritime issue from casting a shadow over bilateral ties.
This was Phuc’s first visit to China since he was elected prime minister in July during the first session of the 14th National Assembly of Vietnam.
It is also the first high-level visit to Beijing by Vietnamese leaders since the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) held in January.
Li said China is willing to continue the policy of promoting friendship and partnership with its neighbors on the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness, adding that China is willing to enhance strategic communication and high-level exchanges with Vietnam.
Stressing that both China and Vietnam are in a critical period of reform and development, Li said the two countries need to continue maritime, land and financial cooperation, synergize bilateral and sub-regional development strategies and strengthen cooperation on infrastructure construction, production capacity, trade and investment.
He also suggested both countries carry out cultural and people-to-people exchanges and enhance cooperation in areas including political parties, defense and law enforcement.
Phuc said friendly cooperation has always been the main trend in bilateral ties over the past 66 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties.
Vietnam will always remember China’s huge support to the cause of its national liberation and construction, said Phuc.
He said it is the consistent stance of the CPV and the Vietnamese government as well as his country’s foreign policy priority to maintain its traditional friendship with China and consolidate the steady and healthy development of bilateral ties.
Hailing the positive momentum of the relationship, Phuc said Vietnam is willing to enhance cooperation with China on political, economic and cultural fronts and further coordination in international affairs.
Prior the talks, Li held a welcoming ceremony for Phuc.
After the talks, Li and Phuc witnessed the signing of documents on the economy and trade, production capacity, infrastructure, education and other areas.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told reporters after the talks that the two leaders had a “good” conversation and the new government of Vietnam shows “positive willingness” to further develop relations with China.
According to Liu, the delegation led by Phuc, consisting of 32 ministerial officials and other delegates, is the largest Vietnamese government delegation to visit China in recent years.
Phuc arrived in Nanning, capital of south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on Saturday to attend the 13th China-ASEAN Expo and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, where he met with Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli on the sidelines of the meetings.
Phuc will leave Beijing for Hong Kong on Wednesday.