Viet Nam – China Relations:
1.Since the relation normalization in 1991, the friendship and relations of mutual benefit between the two countries have been developing both in width and depth in all fields bringing about practical benefits to both sides. Until now, the 2 countries have signed 52 agreements at state level, laying legal foundation for long lasting cooperation between the two countries. Both sides have reopened airlines, railways, sea routes and roads, facilitating the transportation of goods and passengers between the two countries. The exchanges of delegations at State and local levels are increasing. Every year, more than 100 delegations at ministerial, departmental, local and grass-root levels of both sides are exchanged. These activities have contributed to enhancing mutual understanding and trust and expanding the bilateral cooperation.
Meetings of the two countries' leaders are held annually. During CPV General Secretary Le Kha Phieu's visit to China in February, 1999, the highest leaders of both sides set up a 16-word principle to promote the relations between the two countries in 21st Century, namely "long-term stability, future-oriented, good-neighborliness and comprehensive cooperation". In December, 2000 Vietnamese President Tran Duc Luong visited China, the 2 sides signed a joint declaration on comprehensive cooperation for the new century concretizing the 16 word principle in specific means to develop the relations between the 2 countries in all areas. The 2 sides also agreed to make the two countries “good neighbours, good friends, good comrades and good partners".
In 2006, General Secretary Nong Duc Manh visited China in August, General Secretary and President Hu Jin Tao visited Viet Nam in November, and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung held 2 meetings with his Chinese counterpart Wen Jia Bao, during the 6th ASEM in Finland in September and during the China - ASEAN Day in NanNing, China in October .
In 2007, there were visits to China by Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet (May 2007), National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong (April 2007) and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem (March 2007). In these visits, the leaders of the 2 countries emphasized that Viet Nam – China friendship is precious asset of the two peoples that should be preserved and fortified. They also affirmed that they would do their best to raise the relations to a higher plane with more in depth and trust. They also committed to help each other in the cause of reforms and socialist construction in each country for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world.
The bilateral cooperation in other fields such as diplomacy, national defense and public security of the 2 countries have been further promoted with the signing of cooperation agreements between the two Foreign Ministries (December 2002), Public Security Ministries (September 2003) and Defense Ministries (October 2003). The exchange of the youth between the 2 countries is often conducted with interesting agendas. The two sides also attached importance to regularly organizing workshops on theory and experience in national development, socialist construction and Party building.
Viet Nam set up its Consulate General in Guang Zhou (1993), Hong Kong (1994), Kun Ming (Yun Nan) and Nan Ning (Guang Xi) - May, 2004. China opened its Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City in 1993.
The relations between border provinces of the 2 countries have been also strongly increased. Provincial leaders often pay visits across the border to discuss ways to step up economic, trade and tourism cooperation between the two sides as well as to safeguard social order and security in the border area to contribute to accelerating the process of border demarcation and border mark planting along the border line on land between the two countries. At the beginning of June, 2007, Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry organized a delegation of representatives from seven northern border provinces and Hai Phong City to visit Yun Nan, Guang Xi and Guang Dong. These events help create opportunities for businesses of both sides to boost economic, trade, tourism and investment cooperation. During the visit, the northern border provinces of Viet Nam and Yun Nan, Guang Xi of China signed agreements for establishment of joint committees and joint working groups between border provinces of the 2 countries.
2. For the time being, China has become a leading trade partner of Viet Nam. In 2006, the bilateral trade volume was 10.42 billion US$ (Viet Nam’s export was 3.03 million US$, and import was 7.39 billion US$). In the first 3 months of 2007, the bilateral trade amount was 2.99 billion US$, 42.2% higher than the figure of the same period last year. Out of that sum, Viet Nam’s export was 722.7 million US$ (2.29% lower than the number of the same period last year), Viet Nam’s import was 2.27 billion US$ (66.3% higher than the number of same period last year).
The bilateral trade volume accounts for 0.6% of China’s total foreign trade volume and 12% of Viet Nam’s total foreign trade volume. Since 2001, Viet Nam has seen constantly increasing deficit in trade with China. The two sides have agreed to aim at the target of 15 billion US$ in the bilateral trade volume in 2010 and at the same time gradually reduce Vietnam's trade deficit.
According to the Plan and Investment Ministry, by the end of April 2007, China has had 437 investment projects in Viet Nam with the total capital of 1.182 billion US$, ranking 14th among 77 countries and territories investing in Viet Nam.
In the visit of President Nguyen Minh Triet to China (May 2007), the two sides signed six cooperation documents and nine economic agreements with the value of 2.6 billion US$. The two sides set up a working group on economic cooperation to build a master plan for 5 year economic and trade cooperation development between Viet Nam and China and put forth projects within the cooperation framework of “Two corridors and one economic ring” between the two countries.
3. After the normalization of relations, in 1993, the two sides signed an agreement on basic principles to settle border and territory issues and on negotiations on three issues: land border, demarcation line in Tonkin Gulf and outstanding issues in the Eastern Sea. These negotiations already started.
The issues of land border: On December 30, 1999, the two sides signed an agreement on land border. In general, the situation of the bilateral land borders is stable. The work of demarcation and landmark planting along the border line has made progress. At the 13th round of the governmental level talk (January 2007) and the 19th round of talks at the Joint Committee Chairman level (February 2007) both sides demonstrated the determination to complete the work of border demarcation and border landmark planting on the spot field in 2007, try to complete all the work of border demarcation and border landmark planting and sign a new document on “ Border Control Regulation” in 2008.
The issue of the Tonkin Gulf delineation and fishery cooperation in the Tonkin Gulf: on December 25, 2000, the two sides signed an agreement on the delineation of the Tonkin Gulf and fishery cooperation in the Tonkin Gulf. After 3 years of talk, on April 29, 2004 an additional protocol on fishery cooperation in the Tonkin Gulf was signed; two Agreements on delineation of the Tonkin Gulf and an Agreement on fishery cooperation in the Tonkin Gulf entered into effect on June 30, 2004.
Basically, the situation in the Tonkin Gulf is stable. The two Agreements on the Tonkin Gulf have been implemented more effectively. The work of fishing control and protecting maritime resources has been gradually placed in good order, considerably limiting the occurrence of conflicts. National oil and gas companies of the two countries have signed an agreement on joint survey in the area agreed in the Tonkin Gulf and it is being implemented. The work of patrol and violation control in the Tonkin Gulf has been carried out by Vietnamese maritime police and Chinese fishery control force since September, 2006; Naval forces of the two countries also have conducted two joint patrols in the Tonkin Gulf.
The two sides also have carried out three rounds of talks on delineating the area out of the mouth of the Tonkin Gulf.
Regarding issues in the East Sea, the two sides agreed to settle the issues through peaceful negotiations. Up to now, the two sides have carried out 11 rounds of talks at expert level on issues at sea to improve understanding of each other's stance. ASEAN and China also signed a Declaration of Conduct in the Eastern Sea (DOC) heading towards a Code of Conducts (COC). On March 14, 2005, three oil - gas companies of Viet Nam (PetroVietnam), China (CNOOC) and Philippines (PNOC) signed an Agreement on joint seismic surveys in some areas in the East Sea and the agreement is being implemented smoothly.
4. In the last years, the exchange and cooperation between Viet Nam and China in the areas of education and training and culture-sports have been strongly promoted. Every year, China receives a considerable number of Vietnamese students, interns and sports delegations for study and training. At the same time, Chinese experts and trainers come to Viet Nam to help train in some sport fields. The two sides have also exchanged artist performing troupes, organizing many culture and sport exchanges, contributing to strengthening the friendship between the two peoples.
The localities of both sides have also enhanced direct relations under diversified and practical forms, including delegation exchange for study tours, signing cooperation documents, organizing workshops and exhibitions. These activities have helped step up economic - social development in these localities, especially YunNan and GuangXi of China and northern border provinces of Viet Nam.
While the potential for bilateral development remains enormous, with the common efforts from both sides, the relations between Vietnam and China will be constantly strengthened and developed in the 21st Century, meeting the aspiration and interests of the two peoples and for the sake of peace, stability and development in the region and the world.
June 15, 2007