Li underlines Vietnam ties

Updated: 2013-05-11 00:51

By Li Xiaokun and Zhang Yunbi (China Daily)

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Li underlines Vietnam ties

Premier Li Keqiang meets visiting Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan in Beijing on Friday. Xu Jingxing / China Daily  

Talks highlight how Beijing, Hanoi have great potential in cooperation

China and Vietnam on Friday agreed to properly handle the South China Sea issue, as Premier Li Keqiang met a high-ranking Vietnamese official.

Forging good bilateral relations is the joint wish of the peoples of the two neighboring countries, but that "needs good conditions", Li told Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan at Zhongnanhai, the central government's headquarters in downtown Beijing.

Nguyen is in the Chinese capital to preside over the China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation with State Councilor Yang Jiechi.

Li said "both sides should well control and handle their disparities on the South China Sea issue, and not let it disturb the development of bilateral ties and cooperation", according to a statement released by the Foreign Ministry.

Beijing's ties with Hanoi have been overshadowed by their territorial dispute in the South China Sea.

The Vietnamese National Assembly last year passed the Law of the Sea, which puts China's Xisha and Nansha islands in Vietnam's territory.

Wu Shicun, director of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said some of Vietnam's actions have broken its promise of keeping stability in the South China Sea.

"For instance, Vietnam has encouraged illegal fishing in the area and required support from powers not involved in the South China Sea issue, only to make the situation worse and more complex."

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