The upcoming visit to China of Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng from January 12 to 15 is aimed at further strengthening Việt Nam-China ties and defining the long-term direction of their healthy and stable development. The Vietnam News Agency analyses that past relationship with China and its future prospects.
Việt Nam hopes the visit, at the invitation of Party General Secretary and President of China Xi Jinping, will result in significant change and improve the efficiency of bilateral cooperation in all fields, especially in economic links, thus benefitting both nations’ development.
The visit takes place at a time of overall stability in Việt Nam-China ties, with certain progress made in several fields.
The two nations maintained high-level visits and meetings, contributing to enhancing political trust and promoting cooperation.
The two Parties and States already reached consensus on promoting the bilateral ties during the official visit to China made by Party General Secretary Trọng in April 2015, and the State-level visit to Vietnam by Chinese Party General Secretary and President Xi Jinping in November 2015.
The two parties have also expanded their exchange activities, such as high-level visits and annual theoretical conferences and personnel training courses. They signed a cooperation agreement and a training cooperation agreement for the 2016-2020 period.
The two countries are stepping up implementation of their Action Plan for Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation Partnership, including the establishment of working groups on cooperation in infrastructure, cooperation for mutual development at sea, and financial-monetary issues.
The Steering Committee for Việt Nam-China Co-operation, which was set up in November 2006, has so far convened nine times.
Ties between key ministries and sectors of the two countries recorded positive developments. A hotline between the two Ministries of Defence was established, while regular joint activities have been held by the two border forces and coast guards. Naval ships of the two countries have also made mutual visits.
The two countries are working together in UN peace-keeping activities, as well as in fighting crime and ensuring security and safety for agencies, enterprises and citizens of China in Việt Nam, and vice versa.
The Chinese side has responded positively to Việt Nam’s requests for support, such as increasing the flow of water discharged from its Jinghong dam to help Việt Nam overcome prolonged drought and saline intrusion in the Mekong Delta region, and in search and rescue efforts when a CASA-212 plane of the Vietnamese Coast Guard had an accident in the Bắc Bộ (Tonkin) Gulf.
China has always been Vietnam’s leading trade partner while Vietnam is currently the sixth largest export market and the 11th largest import market of China.
Two-way trade reached in the first ten months of 2016 grossed about $57.6 billion, representing an increases of 5 per cent compared to the same period of the previous year.
The two countries have set a goal of 100 billion USD in two-way trade value.
In terms of investment, by October 2016, China (excluding Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau) had 1,522 investment projects worth over $10 billion in Việt Nam, ranking ninth among 116 countries and territories investing in Việt Nam. Chinese projects mainly focus on processing and manufacturing industries, electricity, gas and water. The Chinese side is seeking stronger production capacity and cross-border economic cooperation.
Since 1993, China has provided approximately $800 million in non-refundable aid and preferential credit capital to Vietnam in more than 30 programmes.
Việt Nam and China have also cooperated effectively in education, culture, sport, tourism. The two sides are implementing their cultural cooperation agreement for 2016-2018 and a deal on building cultural centres in each other’s countries.
As of April 2016, over 10,000 Vietnamese students were attending schools in China while about 4,000 Chinese students were studying in Việt Nam. China also helps Việt Nam in sports training.
China ranked first in the number of tourists to Việt Nam. In 2015, about 1.78 million Chinese holiday-makers visited Việt Nam and 2.1 million Vietnamese travelled to China.
The number of Chinese arrivals in Việt Nam grew in the first 10 months of 2016 topped 2.2 million. Many direct air services have been opened between the two countries. If the number grew by 55per cent it should have been 2.7 million (This number is just the first 10 months of last year compared to the same period of previous year, not the whole year)
People-to-people exchange and cooperation are booming, contributing to enhancing mutual understanding between the two peoples. A total of 16 Việt Nam-China youth friendship meetings have been arranged so far.
East Sea issue
The two sides held the sixth session of the Việt Nam-China Land Border Joint Committee in January 2016 and a conference in May to review the five-year implementation of the protocol on border demarcation and marker planting, the agreement on border management regulations, and the agreement on border gates and land border gate management regulations.
They also organised the 12th joint fishery patrol in the Tonkin Gulf in November.
Regarding the East Sea (South China Sea) issue, high-ranking officials of the two parties and countries have held many discussions and reached important common perceptions on the resolution of differences and disputes in the East Sea on the basis of respect for each other’s legitimate interests and in line with international law.
The two sides agreed to implement agreements reached by high-ranking leaders of the two countries, especially the Việt Nam-China agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea issues”, and to make effective use of the Government-level negotiation mechanism on border and territory between the two nations.
They also agreed to pursue friendship talks and negotiations on long-term fundamental solutions acceptable to both sides, while controlling disputes at sea, avoiding actions that further complicate or expand disputes, fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties on the East Sea, working towards an early completion of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), and settling disputes by peaceful measures in line with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The two countries completed a joint field survey in the waters beyond the mouth of the Tonkin Gulf in April 2016, and conducted the 9th negotiation of the working group on cooperation in less sensitive marine issues in China in November last year.- VNS