Beijing: China and Vietnam on Tuesday held
"candid" talks about who controls the islands in potentially
oil-rich waters claimed by both nations, the official Xinhua
news agency said.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and visiting Vietnamese
Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong "spoke
positively" about resolving their dispute over what China
calls the South China Sea and Vietnam calls the East Sea.
China is Vietnam`s largest trading partner but the
communist neighbours have a long-standing dispute over
sovereignty of the Paracel and Spratly island groups, which
straddle vital commercial shipping lanes.
Hu and Trong agreed to maintain direct communications
between the leaders of both countries.
Hu said neither side should take any action to "magnify
or complicate the disputes, but instead deal with problems in
a calm and constructive fashion," Xinhua reported.
Hu also called on China and Vietnam to consider common
exploration of the waters and to take concrete action as soon
Trong said the maritime issues are just one part of
Vietnam-China relations and that Vietnam would work with
Beijing to implement their joint agreement on how to handle
disputes over the waters.
Last week in Hanoi, a foreign ministry spokesman said
"settling disputes in the East Sea is a long-term, difficult
and complicated process requiring efforts and a practical and
objective approach by both sides."
The two countries` relations sank to their lowest
point in years in May and June when Vietnam said Chinese
vessels twice interfered with its oil survey ships inside the
country`s exclusive economic zone.