Beijing: Amid a dispute with Vietnam over
the sovereignty of the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea,
China on Friday underlined the need to properly handle contentious
issues to improve the bilateral ties during a key visit here
by a top Vietnamese commander.
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, who is expected to
succeed President Hu Jintao next year, today met visiting
Vietnamese army chief Do Ba Ty and stressed that the two
countries were bounded by socialist systems, similar ideals
and connected destinies.
"In the face of a complex and ever-changing international
situation, the two sides should join forces and work to retain
the correct direction in expanding bilateral relations,
actively bring benefits to the two peoples, and maintain
peace, stability and development in the region and the world,"
said Xi, who undertaken a fence mending visit to Hanoi in
December last year.
Vietnam claims sovereignty over the Xisha Islands. China
recently conducted a trial run of its cruise ship to the
disputed Xisha Islands, a move that has raised tension between
the two nations.
The Chinese Vice President said both the countries had
successfully conducted demarcation of land borders and
maritime borders in the Beibu Gulf, even though differences
remain on islands in the South China Sea.
Xi said the China-Vietnam friendship was created and
fostered by older generations of leaders from both countries.
Ty, who is heading a top military delegation, said the
Vietnam was ready to work with China to firmly safeguard the
bilateral friendship, properly handle disputes and make joint
efforts to promote peace, stability and development.
He is also scheduled to hold talks with Chen Bingde,
chief of the general staffs of the People`s Liberation Army of
Located south of China`s coast, SCS is connected with
narrow straits with Pacific Ocean. China claims sovereignty
over the entire SCS, even waters close to the coast of other
countries and hundreds of kilometres from its own landmass.
The Chinese claim, however, has been contested by
Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan which assert
it is part their maritime waters.
China has asked several countries, including India and
Russia, not to undertake oil exploration in the blocs claimed
by Vietnam, a move resented by Hanoi.