Tuesday, 11 Dec 2018
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New Chinese envoy envisions cooperation to narrow Vietnam-China divergences

Updated at Tuesday, 27 Nov 2018, 16:17
The Hanoitimes - The new Chinese ambassador emphasized the importance of trust in strengthening the bilateral ties, saying that once the two countries’ top leaders reach consensus in important issues, improvements would be easily made.
Hanoi and Beijing need to boost cooperation in many fields to find out solutions to disagreements between the two countries, according to newly-accredited Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Xiong Bo. 
 
Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Xiong Bo at a conference in Hanoi on Nov 14. Photo: VNS
Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Xiong Bo at a conference in Hanoi on Nov 14. Photo: VNS
The two countries should tackle problems to cooperate for mutual interests, including sea conflicts, the ambassador said in an interview with news website VnExpress. 

Priority given to leader exchange visits 

The ambassador said his priorities would be the maintenance of exchange between the two countries’ top leaders, the advanced cooperation in economic and trade, and the people-to-people ties. 

He emphasized the importance of trust in strengthening the bilateral ties, saying that once the two countries’ top leaders reach consensus in important issues, improvements would be easily made. 

Regarding conflicts in the South China Sea, which is referred to as the East Sea in Vietnam, he said that the sea dispute is an issue that has lasted for generations and the two sides should solve it objectively and effectively. 

Efforts needed to narrow trade gap 

China is Vietnam’s biggest trading partner for 14 consecutive years while Vietnam is China’s leading trading partner in the Association of South East Asia Nations (ASEAN). 

Hanoi has incurred a big trade deficit with Beijing for years. In 2017, the two-way trade was reported at US$120 billion, with Vietnam having a trade deficit of US$22.7 billion with the neighboring country. 

Ambassador Xiong Bo said that the trade deficit stems from different economic models between the two countries and China has been seeking ways to narrow the trade gap. 

 
Vietnamese, Chinese officials at the conference on Nov 14. Photo: VNS
Vietnamese, Chinese officials at the conference on Nov 14. Photo: VNS
Cooperation in infrastructure 

Vietnam and China in 2017 signed a memorandum of understanding on implementing the Belt and Road Initiative and Two Corridors and One Economic Circle initiative which would focus on infrastructure connecting the two countries. 

The ambassador said that the cooperation would be built on the basis of joint discussions, operations, and mutual profits. 

Launched in 2004, the “Two Corridors and One Economic Circle” initiative includes two economic corridors namely Kunming (China) – Lao Cai – Hanoi – Haiphong (Vietnam), and Nanning (China) – Lang Son – Hanoi – Haiphong, and Tonkin gulf economic circle focusing on trade, industry, agriculture, and tourism. 
Linh Pham
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