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Vietnamese defense minister departs on first official China visit

By Xuan Hoa   August 29, 2016 | 01:45 am PT
Vietnamese defense minister departs on first official China visit
Vietnamese Defense Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich (right) welcomes his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan on his visit to Vietnam on March 28. Photo courtesy of Border Guards/Hong Pha
The trip is the first by a top official since The Hague ruled against China over maritime claims.

Defense Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich is leading a high-ranking Vietnamese defense delegation on a three-day visit to China at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Senior Lieutenant General Chang Wanquan, said the Vietnamese Defense Ministry.

This is the first visit General Lich has made to China as Minister of National Defense, and the first visit by a senior Vietnamese official after an international tribunal ruled against China’s claims in the South China Sea (Vietnam's East Sea).

Lich’s visit is expected to build bilateral relations, expand cooperation and increase high-ranking delegation exchanges between the two countries.

With a packed schedule during his stay, Lich will hold talks with Minister Chang, pay courtesy calls to leaders of the Communist Party of China, the government and the Chinese Central Military Commission, and tour several units of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

On March 28, Chang paid an official friendly visit to Vietnam at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart at the time, General Phung Quang Thanh.

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