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China’s top diplomat to visit Vietnam to mend ties
October 24, 2014, 5:53 am

People pay silent tribute during a memorial ceremony for Chinese martyrs in Gia Lam of Hanoi, Vietnam, on Sept. 30, 2014. The first Martyrs' Day was observed here to honor and remember the Chinese martyrs who sacrificed their lives for Vietnam fighting against the invasion of France and the United States in the last century [Xinhua]

People pay silent tribute during a memorial ceremony for Chinese martyrs in Gia Lam of Hanoi, Vietnam, on Sept. 30, 2014. The first Martyrs’ Day was observed here to honor and remember the Chinese martyrs who sacrificed their lives for Vietnam fighting against the invasion of France and the United States in the last century [Xinhua]

In a bid to assuage relations, Chinese top diplomat and State Councilor Yang Jiechi will pay a visit to Vietnam on Oct. 27, a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement said on Friday.

During the stay, Yang, who holds a post senior to that of Foreign Minister, will co-chair the 7th meeting of the China-Vietnam steering committee on cooperation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying announced in Beijing.

2015 will see the two countries celebrate the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.

Yang’s visit will aim at resolving one of the worst breakdowns in relations between the two Communist states.

A Chinese oil rig’s deployment set off anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam in May in which at least four people were killed. Vietnam later announced compensation for the victims of the anti-China protests. Vietnam had also detained several hundred people after the violence. About a dozen have been tried and jailed for up to three years.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Tan Dung earlier this month.

“Thanks to efforts from both sides, China-Vietnam relations have ridden out the recent rough patch and gradually recovered,” said Li.

Vietnam and China will continue to promote exchanges of all-level visits in the coming time, said Pham Thu Hang, spokesperson of Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs earlier on Thursday.

Earlier on Oct. 16-18, a high-ranking Vietnamese military delegation led by the Vietnamese Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh paid a visit to China to discuss measures to “promote bilateral defense ties for the maintenance of peace and stability between the two armies and peoples”.

China has accused Vietnam of ramming its ships more than 1,000 times in a part of the sea recently.

Vietnam says the Chinese platform was in its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone and on its continental shelf. China has said the rig was operating completely within territory occupied by China.

China claims about 90 percent of the South China Sea, although Vietnam and Philippines also lay contesting claims to parts into the maritime heart of Southeast Asia.

China has also cast aspersions on US moves to “provoke” tension by supporting its regional allies, Vietnam and the Philippines. Earlier this month, Washington partially lifted its arms embargo on Vietnam, a move intended to bolster Hanoi’s confidence in its dealings with China.

Despite the dispute, China remained the biggest trade partner of Vietnam in the first nine months of 2014, accounting for some 19.5 per cent of Vietnam’s total trade turnover.

According to statistics of Vietnam Customs, during the nine-month period, Vietnam sold over $11.094 billion worth of goods to China and spent nearly $31.27 billion for imports from China.

Trade revenue between Vietnam and China in January-September stood at $42.364 billion, said the customs office.

Phones, machinery, steel, fabric and computers were among top import items from China. Bilateral trade between the two countries has swelled to $50 billion annually.

 

TBP and Agencies

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