China willing to help Vietnam upgrade its railways

By Nguyen Tien   December 11, 2023 | 04:51 am PT
China willing to help Vietnam upgrade its railways
Chinese ambassador to Vietnam Xiong Bo, Dec. 10, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
Chinese ambassador to Vietnam Xiong Bo said Vietnam and China have unique advantages to bolster strategic connectivity, especially regarding railway projects.

"The Vietnam visit this time by General Secretary, President Xi Jinping is a very important opportunity for the highest-ranking leaders of the two Parties to maintain and bolster strategic exchanges under new circumstances," Xiong said on Sunday.

He also said Xi and Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong were expected to have exchanges regarding the deepening of the two countries’ Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, and determining the trajectory for the development of the Vietnam-China relations.

The two sides are expected to sign dozens of important cooperation documents on fields like security and defense, communications, trade, investment, digital economy, green development and maritime cooperation.

Xiong said Vietnam and China had several unique advantages that need to be utilized to bolster cooperation in multiple fields, including strategic development connectivity, such as the planning to boost connectivity regarding the Belt and Road Initiative within the "Two Corridors, One Belt" framework.

Xiong said Vietnam would have demands for increased connectivity on land, at sea, in the air and on the Internet, specifically infrastructures for land, sea and air transport, as well as e-commerce. Among them, traffic infrastructures are the most important and prioritized, especially railways and expressways.

"Vietnam has a unique geographical position, is an important bridge to connect China and ASEAN countries, and is an important country for the Belt and Road Initiative between China and ASEAN countries," Xiong said.

Countries in the region are deploying plans to build a trans-Asia railway, including three branches in the east, the west and central area. The eastern branch, which is expected to run through Vietnam, will have the greatest demands and have advantageous conditions for its construction.

"High-ranking leaders of our two Parties, countries all value the bolstering of cooperation regarding this field," Xiong said.

"China and Vietnam are boosting progress on the Hekou, Yunnan-Lao Cai-Hanoi-Hai Phong railway project, and we have reached the stage of creating a report on the feasibility of the project."

Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport in October instructed the Railway Management Board to create a report on the feasibility of the Lao Cai-Hanoi-Hai Phong railway project, with double tracks, railway electrification and construction beginning before 2030.

In accordance with the railway network planning for 2021-2030, with vision until 2050, the Lao Cai-Hanoi-Hai Phong railway will span 380 km, connecting the Hai Phong Port with the Chinese railway in Lao Cai, ensuring that trains can directly enter the Kunming-north Hekou railway network.

In the next phase, there would be connections between Hai Phong to Quang Ninh’s Cai Lan Station.

"China is willing to use ODA to help Vietnam upgrade and innovate railways from Guangxi to Dong Dang to Hanoi, as well as hastening the planning for the railway from Mong Cai, Quang Ninh to Hai Phong," Xiong said.

They will also help Vietnam open an economic corridor from China to connect with Central Asian, even Europe, he added.

"China is willing to meet Vietnam's wish, using ODA to help Vietnam build a plan to upgrade and innovate railways from Guangxi to Dong Dang to Hanoi, as well as for the railway planning from Mong Cai, Quang Ninh to Hai Phong," Xiong said.

At the "Vietnam-China Investment and Trade Cooperation" forum on June 28, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said he wanted Chinese businesses and investors to invest in the development of strategic infrastructures, including railways and expressways.

Regarding economy-trade, Xiong said Vietnam and China were close neighbors and have similar political regimes, which make important opportunities and development space for one another, complementing each other regarding economic advantage and contributing to the creation of stable and sustainable supply and production chains.

"China and Vietnam are emerging economies and notable developing countries. Both countries in unison and cooperation can create more stability for the development of the region and the world, contributing to the maintenance of peace, stability and development of the region and the world," Xiong said.

He said China was willing to expand imports of certain agricultural products, especially Vietnamese fruits.

In the first three quarters of this year, the import turnover of agricultural products from Vietnam saw a 160% increase from the same period last year, in which the value of durian imports from Vietnam within the first 10 months of this year reaching $1.95 billion.

"Several Chinese delegations and tourists to Vietnam lately all told me that Vietnamese durians are delicious, have decent prices and are highly demanded in the Chinese market," Xiong said. "Another agricultural product of Vietnam that Chinese people like is fresh coconut. I believe fresh coconut is a big market."

Within the first 11 months of this year, Vietnam’s export turnover to China increased by 3.7%, while trade deficit reduced by 24.8% compared to the same period last year, according to China’s General Administration of Customs. Vietnam is the only country in ASEAN that maintains export growth to China. China is also one of the few countries where Vietnam maintains positive exports to.

Xiong said Vietnam and China’s socio-economic cooperation had big potential, but could not avoid impacts from outside economic environments, as conflicts were happening around the world.

Amid complex international situations, Xiong said the visit to Vietnam by Xi Jinping would create a "new direction, new potential and new drive" for the relations between Vietnam and China.

Xiong said the bilateral relations would develop based on fields with unique advantages, as Vietnam and China’s political trust is "continually increasing and deepening, with continually expanding and upgrading cooperation demands".

Xiong said that building an independent, autonomous economy was very important for Vietnam. Amid complex international circumstances, boosting industrialization and modernization will help increase Vietnam’s resilience.

"China is willing to support the industrialization and modernization of Vietnam," he said.

"Chinese businesses will positively contribute to this process of Vietnam, including bolstering cooperation in important fields like green economy, digital economy and energy transformation. I believe that cooperation from both sides on the aforementioned fields has great potential."

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