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China, Vietnam to develop joint sea projects
October 14, 2013, 8:26 am


The two sides have set a bilateral trade target of $60 billion by 2015 [Xinhua]

China and Vietnam have agreed to develop joint sea projects during a state visit by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Premier Li Keqiang addressed a joint press conference with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung in Hanoi on Sunday.

The two sides will set up a maritime work group to advance China-Vietnam joint development at sea.

“By doing so, China and Vietnam would demonstrate to the world that they have the capability and the wisdom to safeguard peace in the South China Sea, expand their common interests and reduce divergences,” Li noted.

The South China Sea is one of the world’s most strategically important waterways and is exceedingly rich with minerals.

Li is also pushing for joint development in waters out of the mouth of the Beibu Bay, a semi-enclosed sea whose ownership remains under negotiation between China and Vietnam.

China has been seeking stronger economic and strategic ties in the region in the backdrop of a much-hyped American Asia pivot.

Washington and Hanoi had last week signed a deal to transfer nuclear technology to Vietnam also allowing American firms to enter the nuclear market in the South-east Asian nation.

“This agreement will create numerous opportunities for our businesses. Obviously our nuclear cooperation is quite significant,” US Secretary of State John Kerry told Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in Brunei.

Meanwhile, the Chinese premier said he and Dung believed common interests and consensus between the two countries far outweigh their disputes and differences.

“We are determined and able to push forward the sound, long-term development of China-Vietnam comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership,” he said.

China and Vietnam will also fast-track economic cooperation to sign a bilateral currency swap deal and a local currency settlement agreement, said the Chinese premier.

The two sides have set a bilateral trade target of $60 billion by 2015.

The Chinese premier said a separate joint working group would look into infrastructure development in Vietnam.

According to Vietnamese government data bilateral trade between the countries stood at $41.2 billion last year.

Vietnam has been growing at an average of five per cent a year in recent times.

With inputs from Agencies