Talks with Vietnam boost cooperation
Beijing, Hanoi agree to continue joint patrols and to implement fishery, gas and oil projects
China and Vietnam are speeding up their maritime cooperation despite some setbacks, and this will help enhance mutual trust for resolving disputes, experts said.
Chinese and Vietnamese government delegations, led by Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin and Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Hoai Trung, met on Monday in Beijing for border and maritime boundary negotiations.
During their talks, the two sides agreed to implement cooperative projects on fisheries and on oil and gas exploration in Beibu Bay and to continue conducting joint patrols by the two navies and coast guards, in order to maintain the peace and sta- bility of the sea area.
They also reaffirmed that they will continue to implement the consensus reached by the two countries — that maritime disputes should be resolved through negotiations and peaceful consultations — and steadily push forward border and maritime boundary negotiations.
The two countries conducted activities in Beibu Bay without conflict until the 1970s, when they made overlapping maritime claims.
Since then, Vietnam began to illegally occupy Chinese reefs in the South China Sea, and disputes have been constant between the two countries on land frontiers, Beibu Bay and the Nansha Islands.
The two countries started their first round of border negotiations in 1993, and more than a dozen rounds of negotiations have been held. In 2000, China demarcated its boundary with Vietnam in Beibu Bay.
Pan Jin’e, an expert on Vietnamese studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the meeting reflects the two countries’ latest effort to push forward their maritime cooperation despite differences.
According to Pan, the two countries may boost cooperation on fisheries, joint development and patrols next year.
Nie Huihui, an expert on Vietnamese studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said such cooperation will increase mutual trust, laying a foundation for resolving disputes.
“However, Vietnam should exercise restraint and avoid activities that may harm bilateral ties,” she said.
On Friday, Vietnam was reportedly dredging a new channel on a Chinese reef in the South China Sea. Since August, it has stepped up efforts to fortify several reefs that it illegally occupies
Santa Kiwi (Poon Sin-man), sitting on the shoulders of her competition partner Santa Apple (Qi Xiaojie), stacks parcels during a press conference at Park Central in Tseung Kwan O on Tuesday. The duo won the second runner-up at the Santa Winter Games in Sweden on Saturday.