China president Xi Jinping visits Vietnam as both sides seek to mend ties
Chinese President Xi Jinpings visit to Vietnam on Thursday comes as the two communist countries seek to mend ties strained over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
Bilateral relations plunged to their lowest point in years following Chineses parking of a giant oil rig near the Paracel islands in an area Vietnam claims is within its exclusive economic zone. The incident sparked deadly anti-Chinese protests in Vietnam.
The two countries have since then been trying to repair ties with high-level contacts and exchanges of visits including the visit to China by Vietnamese Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in April.
Vietnamese state media quoted Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh as saying that leaders will discuss strengthening of relations as well as differences including the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. And Chinas official Xinhua News Agency reported that more than 10 cooperation agreements covering party-to-party relations, trade, investment and infrastructure are expected to be signed.
But analysts say Xis two-day visit is unlikely to mark much progress in addressing territorial tensions.
I personally think its difficult to resolve the issue of territorial disputes when Vietnam and China still maintain their positions, said Duong Danh Dy, former Vietnamese Consular General in Guangzhou, in southern China.
Xinhua said in an editorial Thursday said that the settlement of their territorial disputes depend on the two neighbours will and ability to properly manage their differences, and that they should not allow the outside world to interfere.
Beijing and Hanoi should never shake their confidence in face of any noises pouring cold water on or even slinging mud at their partnership, it said. Nor should they allow such parochial and ill-intended views to go unchecked and mislead the public opinion toward the unfathomable abyss of confrontation.
The two countries along with the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei claim all or parts of the Spratlys islands which lies on one of the worlds busiest sea lanes and are believed to be rich in oil and gas and fish resources.