China’s VP to visit Hanoi

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By WANG XU in Hanoi and WANG JIAN in Bei­jing

A top Chi­nese of­fi­cial will make a rare po­lit­i­cal visit to Hanoi on Thurs­day and is sched­uled to have talks with Viet­namese lead­ers amid lin­ger­ing mar­itime ten­sions be­tween the two neigh­bors.

The visit by Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli, a mem­ber of the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the CPC Cen­tral Po­lit­i­cal Bureau, China’s top lead­er­ship, will fo­cus on in­terparty ex­changes and prac­ti­cal co­op­er­a­tion ahead of a key Viet­nam party elec­tion in Jan­uary, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Depart­ment of the CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee.

Zhang is sched­uled to land in Hanoi on Thurs­day and meet Viet­namese Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Nguyen Xuan Phuc as well as other top Viet­namese of­fi­cials from the party and gov­ern­ment.

His trip fol­lows a visit to Bei­jing in June by Viet­namese Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and For­eign Min­is­ter Pham Binh Minh to main­tain high-level con­tact with China.

The vice-premier’s agenda, which cov­ers in­fra­struc­ture, bor­der eco­nomic zones and mar­itime is­sues, may also in­clude dis­cus­sion of a ma­jor high­way to link the Viet­namese city of Liang­shan with Hanoi, which was said to be a clear in­di­ca­tion of the im­por­tance both coun­tries place on ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects.

Zhang’s visit is to re­al­ize pro­pos­als made by top lead­ers of the two coun­tries when Viet­namese Com­mu­nist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong vis­ited China in April, said Do Tien Sam, for­mer di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of China Stud­ies, Viet­nam Academy of So­cial Sciences. “I am pretty sure that this visit will fur­ther im­prove po­lit­i­cal trust be­tween the two coun­tries,” he said.

Sam said Zhang, as the vice-premier in charge of eco­nomic mat­ters, should help bridge the Viet­namese trade gap with China by work­ing to in­crease im­ports of Viet­namese farm prod­ucts.

On Mon­day, Viet­nam’s Gen­eral Sta­tis­tics Of­fice re­ported that China was still Viet­nam’s largest trad­ing part­ner in the first half of 2015, with a trade vol­ume of $32.1 bil­lion, nearly 40 per­cent of the coun­try’s GDP over that pe­riod. How­ever, it also re­ported that China’s ex­ports to Viet­nam in the first five months stood at nearly $20 bil­lion with im­ports reach­ing only slightly more than $6 bil­lion.

Qi Jian­guo, a for­mer Chi­nese am­bas­sador to Viet­nam, said that Zhang’s visit may be a prepa­ra­tion for an even high­er­rank­ing visit by China.

“It is im­por­tant for the two sides to main­tain high-level con­tact in or­der to keep prob­lems such as mar­itime dis­putes con­trolled, and Viet­nam has grad­u­ally set a good ex­am­ple as it kept the prob­lem within bi­lat­eral ne­go­ti­a­tions,” Qi said. Con­tact the writ­ers through wangjian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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