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Tuesday, September 13, 2016, 19:30

Xi to Vietnam PM: Talks solve issues

By Hu Yongqi

Xi to Vietnam PM: Talks solve issues
Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) shakes hands with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Beijing on Sept 13, 2016. (Xinhua)

President Xi Jinping urged Vietnam to properly manage the South China Sea issue via bilateral negotiations and to promote maritime cooperation to turn challenges into opportunities.

Xi made the remarks while meeting with visiting Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Tuesday.

Vietnam contests China's sovereignty over some islands in the South China Sea, and this is regarded as an obstacle to their relations, even though Vietnam has replaced Malaysia as China's largest trading partner of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Both countries should rely on negotiations to appropriately resolve the South China Sea issue, Xi said. The common interests of China and Vietnam far override the differences, so both countries should be able to effectively manage the differences and promote maritime cooperation, he added.

Both sides should make good use of current mechanisms for negotiations to make substantial progress in promoting joint development over larger parts of the South China Sea, transforming maritime challenges into opportunities for bilateral cooperation, Xi said.

In the meantime, Xi said, Vietnam should link its Two Corridors and One Economic Circle development with China's Belt and Road Initiative to build a new platform for cooperation in production capacity.

Phuc said Vietnam has prioritized bilateral ties and hopes to always promote political trust and practical cooperation with China. Vietnam will properly handle differences and try to achieve stable and healthy development of the traditional friendship and comprehensive strategic partnership with China, he said.

Beijing is Phuc's second stop in China. His six-day China visit is his first since becoming prime minister after a leadership reshuffle in Vietnam in July.

On Monday, when Phuc met with Premier Li Keqiang and other Chinese leaders, both countries pledged to properly manage differences over the South China Sea issue and strengthen maritime cooperation to enhance bilateral ties.

Wei Ling, director of the Institute of Asian Studies at China Foreign Affairs University, said Phuc's visit will have great significance toward resolving the South China Sea issue. If China and Vietnam can work out cooperative projects over the waters, it will set an example for China and other ASEAN countries to peacefully settle their disputes, she said.

Over the past 25 years, the dialogue between China and ASEAN has showed both sides can advance only when cooperation is based on common interests and properly handling differences, Wei said. This also applied to the China-Vietnam relations, she said.

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