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China laid out the red carpet for the new leader of Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party saying that the two countries are “comrades and brothers” amid Chinese concerns that Vietnam, with which it has a running dispute over the South China Sea, is warming up to India.
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Vietnamese Communist Party leader Nguyen Phu Trong was welcomed in Beijing by President Xi Jinping who also heads the ruling Communist Party of China. The two leaders agreed that both countries should expand cooperation in various fields including maritime exploration and put ties on the right track.
In his talks with Trong, Xi hailed the growth of the all-round strategic cooperative partnership, citing progress in friendship, political trust, cooperation and cultural exchanges.
Likening the two countries as “comrades and brothers,” Xi said China views relations with Vietnam strategically and from a long-term perspective, and hopes that the two countries will properly manage and control disputes.
On the South China Sea dispute, Xi said that both sides should increase communication and consolidate mutual trust, in order to lay a solid political foundation for the settlement of disputes and work together on maritime exploration and cooperation, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
In his meeting with Trong, Premier Li Keqiang said “We are ready to synergise China’s Belt and Road Initiative with Vietnam’s ‘Two Corridors and One Economic Circle’ plan, boost progress in bilateral maritime, overland and financial cooperation, and achieve balanced growth of two-way trade”.
Ahead of Trong’s visit, an article in state-run Chinese daily Global Times took exception to reports that India plans to sell Akash surface-to-air missiles to Vietnam.
“If the Indian government genuinely treats its enhancement of military relations with Vietnam as a strategic arrangement or even revenge against Beijing, it will only create disturbances in the region and China will hardly sit with its arms crossed,” an oped in the paper had said.
While striking a threatening posture against India over its increasingly close ties with Vietnam, another article in the same daily warned Hanoi that it must improve ties with China notwithstanding the South China Sea dispute.
“Aside from its endeavour to improve relations with China, Hanoi must deal with rising nationalism at home intermingled with anti-China and anti-Communism sentiment at times, which is adverse to the CPV’s (Communist Party of Vietnam) leadership itself, as well as the development of China-Vietnam relations,” it said.
“Vietnam’s leaders must have realised the importance of the issue and they have spared no efforts in developing cooperation with China in politics, economy and culture,” it said referring to Trong’s visit.