President Truong Tan Sang will pay a State-level visit to China from June 19-21 at the invitation of its President, Xi Jinping. On this occasion, President Sang granted an exclusive interview to Chinese journalists based in Ha Noi on a range of issues, from the future prospects of the two nations' relations, to economic and trade potentials, as well as the way to deal with and address sea issues between Viet Nam and China.Viet Nam News would like to introduce a translated excerpt of the interview:
|President Truong Tan Sang.— VNA/VNS Photo
H.E. State President, please give your assessment on the current relationship between China and Viet Nam and prospects for ties in future? Do you have any suggestions to further strengthen the comprehensive strategic co-operation between the two countries?
Viet Nam and China are two close neighbouring countries, whose peoples have a long-standing traditional friendship. During the cause of national liberation and construction in each country, they offered the other precious and efficient support. The Party, State and people of Viet Nam consistently attaches great importance to developing a comprehensive strategic partnership with China.
Over the past years, thanks to the two sides' common efforts, the Viet Nam - China comprehensive strategic partnership has been strengthened and developed, making important contributions to progress and advancements in each country.
Political exchanges are regularly carried out with many visits, meetings and talks between the two countries' leaders. The two sides' co-operation in the fields of economics, trade, investment and tourism has seen new developments. Co-operation between their ministries and agencies, and the exchange between localities and mass organisations, as well as co-operation in the fields of culture, sports, arts, education and training are increasingly growing both in width and depth.
At present, national construction and development in both countries is facing new opportunities and challenges. More than ever, both need peaceful and stable international and regional environments so they can focus on their national development.
In March 2013, Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and Chinese Party General Secretary and President Xi Jinping held a very important talk over telephone, in which they put forth many instructions for the strengthening and intensification of relations between the two Parties and countries. At the 6th session of the Steering Committee for Viet Nam - China Bilateral Co-operation in May 2013, the two sides reached many concrete agreements that aim to boost bilateral efforts in many sectors.
To further foster friendly relations between the two countries, I think the two sides should together try to successfully fulfil the following tasks:
Firstly, increasing political trust, in which the growing exchanges and contact between the two sides' leaders, ministries, agencies and localities play a crucial role. Leaders of the two countries should carry out regular visits, meetings and exchanges under flexible and diverse forms in order to put forth timely orientations for key directions that heighten the ties between the two Parties and countries.
Secondly, strengthening and expanding mutually beneficial co-operation in every sector, especially economics, trade, investment, science and technology, education and training, as well as tourism. The two sides should increase co-ordination in economic development and strengthen mutually beneficial co-operation in all fields.
Thirdly, continuously bringing into play the traditional friendship between the two nations; diversifying people-to-people exchanges, especially among the younger generations; and intensifying the publicity of both countries' national development progress and the Viet Nam-China friendship.
Fourthly, based on the Viet Nam-China friendship, neighbourly relations and the common perception of the two sides' top leaders as well as international law, the two sides should be patient with the way they address differences and arising matters between them. They should be solved by peaceful means and friendly negotiations, aimed at maintaining the stable complexion of their relations.
We can say that Viet Nam and China have great potential and strengths that will help them further increase co-operation in the future.
Two-way trade between China and Viet Nam has continued to increase, with turnover reaching more than US$40 billion and expected to hit $60 billion by 2015. Would you please tell us about the potential for economic and trade co-operation between the two sides, limits and weaknesses facing the co-operation and measures to enhance co-operation to a new height?
Both countries consider economic and trade co-operation an important part of the comprehensive strategic partnership. Potential for economic and trade co-operation between the two countries is huge, and we should exploit advantages of each side together.
Viet Nam and China are important markets to each other. Commodities crossing the shared border are diverse and on the rise. However, Viet Nam still suffers from a large trade deficit with China, which impacts the sustainable development of bilateral trade. In the coming time, in addition to ensuring the stable growth of bilateral trade, the two sides should together take drastic and effective measures to lower this gap.
China's investment in Viet Nam does not correspond to the two sides' potentials. I think the two sides' concerned agencies should sit together and seek reasons as well as lessons. They should also find measures to increase the two sides' investment co-operation in the coming time.
Viet Nam welcomes big and prominent projects from China which use modern technology and advanced equipment, especially in the fields of infrastructure, manufacturing and the support industry. Viet Nam wants to export more goods to China, especially agricultural and seafood products.
In the time to come, we should make more efforts to seek orientations and efficient measures to boost mutually beneficial co-operation. Among others, I think firstly we should fully implement inked agreements, including the five-year plan for the Viet Nam-China economic and trade co-operation for the 2012-2016 period, in order to have more sustainable and balanced two-way trade, contributing to further developing the Viet Nam-China comprehensive strategic partnership.
Please give your opinions on the way to deal with and address sea issues between Viet Nam and China?
We have shown a lot of efforts and gained precious experience in dealing with tense and complicated issues concerning the two sides' relations. Most remarkably, the two countries have fulfilled land border and Tonkin Gulf demarcation. With such spirit, leaders of the two countries have often exchanged opinions in a sincere and straightforward manner and they have reached important perceptions on how to resolve the East Sea issue. During General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong's visit to China in October 2011, the two countries signed an agreement on fundamental principles guiding how to address the Viet Nam-China sea issue. They agreed to comply strictly with the common perception of the two sides' senior leaders, patiently resolving the East Sea issue by peaceful means based on international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties on the East Sea (DOC).
Resolving the East Sea issue is of great importance as it relates to territorial sovereignty and the nation's and people's sacred sentiments. I think in the coming time, senior leaders of the two countries should maintain regular exchanges and dialogue - and from the strategic height and friendly relations between the two countries - instruct and drive the resolution of the East Sea issue by peaceful means. Only this way will it not impact on the friendly relations and political trust between the two sides as well as the two peoples' sentiments. I expect that in my upcoming visit to China, Chinese leaders and I will have straightforward and sincere exchanges of opinion, and have more solutions to address sea-related differences between the two countries, thus contributing to developing ties between the two Parties and countries in a healthy and stable manner, while contributing to maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea.
In addition, caring for fishermen and their boats, as well as properly dealing with fishing based on the two countries' friendly relations are also under the perception of the two countries' leaders. I have visited many coastal areas in Viet Nam. Meeting with many fishermen I have found that all of them are hard-working. For generations, their lives have depended on the traditional job of catching fish in the East Sea. Hence, in the coming time, we should show our full interest in fishermen, helping them have a better, stable and more sustainable livelihood. This is suitable to international law and practices.
You have visited China many times and are an old friend of the Chinese people. On your upcoming visit to the country, what message do you want to send to the people of China?
The Viet Nam-China friendship is very valuable and the common property of the two peoples, which has been cultivated by generations of leaders and peoples of both sides. All of us are responsible for preserving, inheriting and developing this friendship. During my visit to China, I will go to Guangzhou, where President Ho Chi Minh and many other Vietnamese revolutionists lived and took part in revolutionary activities. The Party, State and people of Viet Nam will never forget the precious assistance given by the Party, State and people of China during our cause of national liberation in the past, and the cause of national construction today. We really treasure the development of a friendly relationship and comprehensive co-operation with the Party, State and people of China, considering it a fundamental, consistent and long-standing policy, as well as a leading priority in Viet Nam's foreign policy. Reality shows that friendship, co-operation and development on the basis of equality, mutual respect and benefit is the only choice for the relationship between the two countries, meeting the common aspirations and interests of the two peoples.
On this occasion, through the media, I would like to convey my sincere and friendly regards to the Chinese people. I hope that the friendly relationship and comprehensive co-operation between Viet Nam and China will be everlasting.
China values President Sang's visit
In an interview granted to the Vietnamese press on the threshold of President Sang's visit, Chinese Ambassador to Viet Nam Kong Xuanyou said China valued the visit, which has an important significance to common perceptions of the China - Viet Nam comprehensive strategic co-operative partnership.
He noted this would be the first meeting between State leaders of the two countries since China elected a new leadership.
"We hope and believe the two sides will stand on the general view of the China - Viet Nam relationship and the overall prospects of the development cause of each country. The visit by President Truong Tan Sang will contribute to promoting bilateral relations and at the same time reach agreement on the reinforcement of mutual political trust, effective co-operation and satisfactory settlement of existing differences, thus lifting bilateral ties to a new height," said the ambassador.
Ambassador Kong Xuan-you stressed that regardless of any fluctuations in the international situation, China would consistently pursue its path of peaceful development and a foreign policy of being friendly with neighbours and a partner of neighbours.
According to the ambassador, the new leadership of China attached special importance to relations between the two Parties and States of China and Viet Nam.
The Chinese Ambassador also affirmed that the new government of China gave priority to ASEAN in its external policy and backed the strong development of ASEAN countries, including Viet Nam.
On the occasion of President Sang's visit, Vietnamese Ambassador to China Nguyen Van Tho also granted an interview to Vietnamese and Chinese press on the significance of the visit and the Viet Nam - China relationship. — VNS