Strengthening solid foundation for comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between Vietnam and China

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and a high-ranking Vietnamese delegation arrived in Shanghai, China, on November 4 to attend the first China International Import Expo 2018 (CIIE). On the occasion, the PM granted China’s Xinhua News Agency an interview on the relations between the two countries, as well as the development prospects benefiting both the Vietnamese and Chinese people.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc

Xinhua: What do you think about the Vietnam-China relations at present?

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc: Vietnam and China have long-standing traditional relations which have been built and constantly consolidated by generations of leaders and the people of both countries. Over the past few years, thanks to the efforts of the Party, Government and people of the two countries, the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership has maintained a positive development momentum and harvested encouraging achievements. The greatest accomplishment is the constantly consolidated and enhanced political, diplomatic and economic ties between the two sides. The bilateral political relations have maintained a positive development momentum, manifested through the regular exchange of high-level visits and meetings between the two Parties and countries, which has helped the senior leaders of the two sides to gain many important common perceptions about the enhancement of the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

The attainments in political-diplomatic relations between Vietnam and China serve as a premise for the facilitation of economic, trade and investment ties between the two countries. The bilateral economic relations continue to see new developments, with both sides having signed many investment cooperation agreements and treaties about or related to economic issues. China has become one of the leading trading partners of Vietnam, with two-way trade increasing sharply and trade balance gradually improving.

The two countries have implemented many people-to-people exchange activities, especially among the younger generation and people in border localities, while organising meetings between ministries, sectors and localities, contributing to furthering the traditional friendship between the two nations. Tourism cooperation continues to be accelerated. China currently leads in the number of foreign tourists to Vietnam, with more than four million arrivals recorded in 2017, up 48.6% and accounting for more than 30% of the total international tourist arrivals to Vietnam. The number reached nearly 4.2 million arrivals in the first ten months of 2018, an increase of 28.8% compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile, there are about three million Vietnamese people travelling to China annually.

The two sides have closely coordinated in the implementation of the legal documents on the Vietnam-China land borders, while strengthening security and safety management in the border areas. They have also gained common perceptions of conflict control and the maintenance of peace and stability at sea, and are actively promoting negotiation mechanisms on maritime issues.

These results have worked significantly to further strengthening the solid foundation for the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between Vietnam and China, while contributing actively to the development cause in each country and the enhancement of their international positions. With such fine foundations as mentioned above, in the time ahead the two sides should continue to effectively implement the important common perceptions reached by their senior leaders, strengthen the exchange of high-level visits and meetings, and facilitate win-win cooperation mechanisms, thereby bringing practical benefits to the people of the two countries.

I firmly believe that, with the attention from senior leaders of the two Parties and countries, and the concerted efforts of all levels, sectors, localities and the people, the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership will further thrive in the future, contributing to peace, stability and prosperity of the region.

Xinhua: The inaugural CIIE in Shanghai is an important trade promotion event of the Chinese government, seeking to open the Chinese market to the world and offering opportunities for countries to access China’s vast market. Vietnam has been officially invited to attend this year’s fair as an “Honorary State”, so what does Vietnam expect in penetrating more deeply into the Chinese market?

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc: I would like to thank the Chinese government and President Xi Jinping for inviting Vietnam to attend the 2018 CIIE as an “Honorary State”. I highly appreciate China’s hosting of the event, which reflects an attitude of win-win cooperation and creates a new important and large-scale trade promotion channel for China and its partners, enabling Chinese and foreign firms to seek information, carry out market research, and conduct trade promotion activities.

By attending the fair, the first of its kind, as an “Honorary State”, Vietnam will have a good opportunity to promote the image of the country, while effectively facilitating trade, investment and tourism promotion. Vietnamese businesses will have the chance to meet, make transactions, and expand their business cooperation with more than 150,000 enterprises and investors from China and other countries. Through the CIIE 2018, as a connection bridge between the ASEAN Economic Community and China, Vietnam wishes to continue to effectively exploit the practical benefits provided by the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area, contributing to the comprehensive development of the economic and trade relations between ASEAN and China.

Xinhua: China is determined to persistenty reform, open the door and support trade liberalisation. In your opinion, how can Vietnam and China strengthen the connectivity between the “Belt and Road” initiative and the “Two Corridors, One Belt” framework to bring more practical benefits to the two countries’ people?

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc: Vietnam supports economic cooperation and connectivity within the framework of the “Belt and Road” initiative for the purpose of peace, development and common prosperity for the nations, on the basis of mutual respect, equality, and mutually beneficial cooperation, and respecting independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the participating countries as well as international law. In 2017, the Governments of Vietnam and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the connectivity between the “Two Corridors, One Belt” framework and the “Belt and Road” initiative. The Vietnamese side believes that both sides have the potential to cooperate in all five areas of connectivity (policy, infrastructure, finance, trade, people) mentioned in the MOU.

In that spirit, I suggest that the two countries focus on actively promoting balanced and sustainable trade development, creating favourable conditions for Vietnamese enterprises and facilitating the export of Vietnamese goods into China, especially commodities of Vietnam’s strengths and China’s demand, such as farm produce, seafood, fruit, and consumer electronics. Secondly, Chinese businesses should increase their investment in high-tech environmentally-friendly projects, and ensure their quality and progress, thereby building a positive image and prestige of Chinese investment in Vietnam. Thirdly, the two sides need to boost cooperation in the areas that are in line with the needs and strengths of each side, while creating favourable conditions for Vietnam to access preferential capital of China, as well as to effectively implement the aids.

At present, the Vietnamese Government has instructed ministries and sectors to work with the Chinese side to solidify the aforementioned cooperation contents; study and develop specific cooperation plans on the connectivity between the “Two Corridors, One Belt” framework and the “Belt and Road” initiative. I hope that the active cooperation and implementation of the cooperation contents within the framework of the MOU will bring about practical benefits for the two countries’ people, contributing to common development in each country.