Jul 13, 2019 / 03:30

How important are Hanoi-Beijing relations?

The Hanoitimes - China is Vietnam’s biggest trade partner for the past 15 years and Hanoi has repeatedly asked Beijing to narrow the trade imbalance.

Chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan has concluded her four-day visit to China from July 8 which is said to “reinforce political trust” between the two neighboring countries.
Chinese Xinhua News Agency said the visit is made at the invitation of Li Zhanshu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China. 

In her talks with Chinese businessmen in Beijing and Jiangsu, Ngan said her visit aims to continue the implementation of high-level agreements reached by Vietnam and China as well as co-operation between their legislatures.

Vietnamese Ambassador to China Dang Minh Khoi said the visit aims to maintain high-ranking exchange visits for reinforced political trust and strengthen the comprehensive partnership for the sake of the two peoples and peace and stability in the region. The visit partly shows good diplomacy of the NA, Khoi told the Voice of Vietnam (VOV). 

Vietnamese Chairwoman of National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan. Photo: VNS
Chairwoman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan on visit to China. Photo: VNS
This is the first visit to China since Ngan took office in 2016 and the second overseas tour given by a Vietnamese leader to the giant neighbor since the Communist Party of China’s 19th National Congress in October 2017. 

The visit takes place at the time when the Communist Party of Vietnam is preparing for the 13th National Congress, which is slated for early 2021. 

During the tour, Ngan visited Nanjing, Suzhou in Jiangsu province in the east of China to witness economic models. 

The ambassador said that the visit aims at three purposes namely strengthening the comprehensive strategic partnership, boosting economic cooperation, and tightening people’s ties. 

Firstly, Hanoi and Beijing are committed to enhancing the long-lasting relations reached by the two countries’ top leaders which are based on mutual respect and interests. 

Secondly, the two sides are taking measures to boost trade and investment to make the economic ties “more substantive.” Currently, China is Vietnam’s biggest trade partner for the past 15 years (since 2004) while Hanoi is Beijing’s leading economic partner in ASEAN and eighth largest globally. 

Two-way trade expanded 12.6% to US$43.5 billion in the first five months this year. In 2018, Vietnam imported US$65.5 billion worth of goods from China and shipped US$41.36 billion worth of products to the neighboring country. 

Vietnam’s main export staples to China include seafood, fruit, coffee, tea, and cashew nut while imports from China include seafood, fruit, cooking oil, confectionery and cereals, animal feed, machinery and materials. 

In terms of investment, so far China ranks Vietnam’s 7th largest investor with US$15.45 billion committed to 2,461 projects. 

Currently, Beijing is also Vietnam’s largest tourism source market with 4.96 million visitors coming to Vietnam in 2018 and 2.48 million in the first half 2019. 

Ambassador Khoi said that the two sides are making efforts to narrow the trade gap and Chinese officials have pledged to facilitate the import of Vietnamese products, mainly fruits. 

Thirdly, people-to-people exchange is put among the pillars in the bilateral relations. As a results, the number of people coming to other country has been on the rise. There are about 90 flights between the two countries per day. 

Education is among sectors tightening the relations with more than 13,500 Vietnamese students studying in China and over 4,000 Chinese students learning in Vietnam. Chinese language becomes popular in Vietnam while Vietnamese is one of the favorite languages for Chinese people.