Vietnam-China relations at all-time high: ambassador

By Thanh Tam   October 13, 2023 | 07:43 am PT
Vietnam-China relations have reached their highest level ever in many fields of cooperation and more opportunities to develop the ties await, said Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Xiong Bo.

"After 15 years of establishing a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, relations between Vietnam and China are stable and well-developed," Bo said during a press conference in Hanoi on Friday.

"I think cooperation between the two countries has reached the highest level in history."

According to Bo, the political trust between the leaders of the two Parties clearly demonstrates his point. He said the two countries’ constant strengthening and deepening of their relationship has been steadfastly and enthusiastically supported by both sides on important political agendas.

The two countries have also increased high-level meetings, of which the visit of General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong to China last year after the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party was apparent proof.

"General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong was the first foreign leader that China invited and officially welcomed immediately after the 20th Congress. This was a visit of historical significance," Bo said.

Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Xiong Bo at a press conference in Hanoi on October 13, 2023. Photo by Chinese Embassy in Vietnam

Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Xiong Bo at a press conference in Hanoi on Oct. 13, 2023. Photo by Chinese Embassy in Vietnam

During the visit, the two sides issued a 13-point joint statement, including strategic contents that guide the continued comprehensive development of relations between the two countries in the coming time.

Since the beginning of this year, leaders of the two sides have continued to maintain regular exchanges and contacts, Bo said. President Vo Van Thuong will lead a Vietnamese delegation to China to attend the Belt and Road Forum from Oct. 17-20 at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

In addition to improving political trust, Vietnam and China have also strengthened investment, economic and trade cooperation, which Bo said has been important for the development of each country.

China maintains its position as Vietnam's largest trading partner and Vietnam is also China's largest trading partner in ASEAN. Vietnam is China's fourth-largest trading partner by single country, after the U.S., Japan, and South Korea.

In 2022, Vietnam-China import and export turnover reached $175.56 billion, an increase of 5.47%. In the first nine months of 2023, Vietnam's total import-export turnover with China reached $122 billion.

This year, China’s investment in Vietnam reached nearly $2.1 billion thanks to 478 projects, making it Vietnam’s second largest FDI investor after Singapore. Last year, China ranked third.

China has been leading the number of tourists to Vietnam for many years, of which in 2019 the number reached more than 5.8 million, accounting for one-third of the total international visitors to Vietnam. After the Covid-19 pandemic, travel between people of the two countries has been recovering rapidly.

Since the beginning of the year, the number of Chinese tourists to Vietnam has exceeded one million. Bo assessed that the development potential in this field is still very large because the number of opportunities for travel and meetings between people of the two countries has increased after Covid-19 was put under control.

Ambassador Bo said that another highlight of the Vietnam-China relationship is the constant coordination, exchange and cooperation in regional and international issues.

According to Bo, Vietnam and China are two socialist countries and two developing economies that share important interests in international issues within the framework of the United Nations and multilateral economic regimes.

"China respects and supports Vietnam in continuing to promote its important and constructive role in regional and international issues," the Chinese ambassador said.

Bo also said that the relationship between the two countries does indeed face a number of challenges as well. These challenges come mainly from other regions, as the world is experiencing many changes, including new conflicts and wars, for example, the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas.

He said that amid these conflicts, all countries want peace to develop and cooperate together. Therefore, the stable situation in Asia-Pacific can help the region become a main engine for world economic growth.

"This is a very important opportunity. Emerging economies in the region, including China and Vietnam, now wield increasing influence and stronger voices," Bo added.

He said that overall, Vietnam-China relations "have more opportunities than challenges" because the foundation of their friendship has been and is currently increasingly solidified as the trust between the leaders of both sides brings development opportunities to the two nations.

"The modernization path of the two countries can definitely become an example for developing countries," Bo said. "China is ready to walk firm with Vietnam, strengthen mutual support and move forward."

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