Xi calls for closer ties with Vietnam

Updated: 2011-12-22 08:41

By Qin Zhongwei (China Daily)

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Xi calls for closer ties with Vietnam

Vice-President Xi Jinping greets the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong in Hanoi on Wednesday. Li Xueren/Xinhua

BEIJING - China and Vietnam should handle their differences properly and promote the steady development of their comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, Vice-President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday, in the first visit to Vietnam by a member of China's top leadership since the election of Vietnam's new leadership early this year.

During his meeting with Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee, in Hanoi, Xi said China and Vietnam should work together to implement the consensus and agreements reached by the two sides when Trong visited Beijing in October.

During Trong's visit to Beijing, the two sides issued a joint statement and agreed not to let maritime disputes affect relations.

Trong told Xi that developing friendship and cooperation with China is the priority of Vietnam's foreign relations.

Xi's delegation arrived in Hanoi on Tuesday. His state visit, due to conclude on Thursday, is at the invitation of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam and Nguyen Thi Doan, the country's vice-president.

Xi and Doan witnessed the signing of a series of agreements on trade, health and media cooperation.

Xi said he hoped bilateral trade could develop in a balanced way and the total annual volume could reach $60 billion by 2015.

The two countries have formed a close economic relationship, which has witnessed steady growth in recent years.

China has been Vietnam's biggest trading partner since 2004, and Vietnam is China's fifth-largest trading partner among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said Kong Xuanyou, the Chinese ambassador to Vietnam.

In the first 11 months of 2011, bilateral trade reached $35.67 billion, up 35.2 percent year-on-year, and is expected to reach a new high this year, Kong said.

Xi also paid a visit to the former residence of late Vietnamese president Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi on Wednesday.

At his meeting with Trong, Xi said the two sides should cherish the friendship established by the previous generations of the two countries' leaderships.

As both countries stick to the socialist path led by their respective Communist parties and both are adopting reform and opening-up policies, the two countries need to "further uphold the Vietnam-China traditional friendship", said Doan before Xi's visit.

Xi, in his meeting with Vietnamese leaders, called for more cooperation with Vietnam on a multilateral level, such as in East Asia and the Greater Mekong Subregion economic cooperation, to safeguard the interests of developing countries.

After his trip to Vietnam, Xi is scheduled to visit Thailand from Thursday to Saturday, which also marks the first visit by a member of China's top leadership to Thailand since the nation's new cabinet, led by Premier Yingluck Shinawatra, took office in August.

Xinhua contributed to the story.