Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, attends a grand welcome ceremony hosted by Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee, ahead of their talks in Hanoi, Vietnam, Nov. 12, 2017. (Xinhua/Li Tao)
China and Vietnam cemented their special bond of "camaraderie + brotherhood" and agreed to explore new prospects for interconnected interests during a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
This is Xi's first overseas trip on the heels of the landmark 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held in October, which reflects the irreplaceable importance of the Sino-Vietnamese relations.
"The visit is an important diplomatic activity for implementing Xi's proposition of building a community of shared future for mankind in the new era," said Zhang Yunling, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
CEMENTING BOND OF FRIENDSHIP
Xi, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, has been accorded with friendly and high-level reception during his trip to the Southeast Asian nation.
Upon his arrival at Hanoi, Xi was welcomed by a cheerful crowd wearing traditional clothes and waving the flags of the two countries.
At the Presidential Palace, he attended a grand welcome ceremony hosted by Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee, with full military honors and a 21-gun salute.
"While stepping on this beautiful and fertile land once again after two years, I feel strongly the friendly feeling of the Vietnamese people towards the Chinese people," Xi told a welcoming banquet jointly hosted by Trong and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang.
During his meetings with the Vietnamese leaders, Xi repeatedly recalled the China-Vietnam traditional friendship nurtured by previous generations of the two countries' leaders.
He said China and Vietnam are close neighbors connected by mountains and rivers, good friends sharing weal and woe, good comrades with similar ideals and beliefs, and good partners for win-win cooperation.
During their talks, Xi and Trong agreed to carry forward, preserve and promote the traditional friendship between China and Vietnam.
As a special arrangement, Xi chose the Vietnam-China Friendship Palace as the first stop of his Hanoi visit.
The Palace, a landmark project built with Chinese assistance, is a reflection of the consolidated friendship between the two peoples in the new era.
With Xi's visit this time, the top leaders of the two parties and the two countries have had mutual visits within a single year twice in just three years.
Xi's visit is of great importance to the Vietnam-China relationship in the new period, said Do Tien Sam, the former director of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) Institute of Chinese Studies.
Sam said the visit has consolidated mutual political trust between the two countries and created favorable conditions for all types of cooperation between China and Vietnam in the future.
ENHANCING TOP LEVEL DESIGN
On the second day of his state visit, Xi and Trong went for a stroll at the former residence of late chairman Ho Chi Minh and tasted Vietnamese lotus tea together.
High-level exchanges have accelerated the development of bilateral ties. China and Vietnam have both embarked on a new journey of reform and development, forging ahead toward their ambitious goals.
The CPC successfully held its 19th National Congress last month, drawing a blueprint for China's development between now and the middle of this century.
Vietnam is, in line with the guidelines set at the 12th CPV National Congress, advancing all-round renewal for early realization of the goal of a prosperous people and a strong, democratic, equitable and advanced industrialized country toward modernity.
During their talks, Xi and Trong re-doubled their commitment to deepening bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperation under new circumstances.
A stable and closer China-Vietnam relationship lies not just in their proximity -- the two share a border stretching 1,450 kilometers -- but few countries have as much in common as China and Vietnam. With similar political systems, they are both communist party-led socialist states, intertwined in advancing the cause of socialism.
The two leaders pointed out that China and Vietnam should learn from each other and seek common development, push for sustained, healthy and steady development of their partnership and jointly contribute to regional peace, stability and prosperity.
They agreed to maintain the tradition of high-level exchanges, firmly adhere to a friendly policy toward each other, enhance strategic communication and political mutual trust, and properly deal with differences, so as to lead China-Vietnam relations to move in the right direction.
Sharing a unique bond, the two sides also pledged to deepen party-to-party exchanges and step up exchanges of experience in governance of party and state.
"The top-level design has charted the future development of Vietnam-China relationship and will help to advance mutual understanding between the two parities and the two countries amid new development of the international landscape," said Ruan Zongze, vice president of China Institute of International Studies.
FOSTERING FUTURE COOPERATION
With support of both leaders, China and Vietnam have deepened and broadened practical cooperation in recent years.
Statistics illustrated the strong economic ties between the two neighbors.
China has been Vietnam's biggest trading partner for 13 years in a row, and Vietnam has become China's biggest trading partner among ASEAN countries. There are over 300 passenger flights between the two countries every week.
Bilateral trade in 2016 reached nearly 100 billion U.S. dollars. More and more Chinese companies are investing in Vietnam.
To reinforce the sound momentum of pragmatic cooperation, Xi and Trong agreed to further synergize the development strategies of their countries.
They witnessed on Sunday the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the joint implementation of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Vietnam's "Two Corridors and One Economic Circle" plan.
"We greatly appreciate China's 'One Belt and One Road' initiative, which plays an important role in international cooperation and has a significant impact on the peace and stability in the region and the world," said Don Tuan Phong, acting president of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Associations.
Leaders of both sides also pledged concerted efforts to promote regional economic links and connectivity, secure practical results in such cooperation areas as economy and trade, industrial capacity, investment, infrastructure and monetary finance, and push forward the construction of cross-border economic cooperation zones as well as cooperation in agriculture, environment, science and technology, and transportation.
"We are encouraged by the agreement reached by both leaders on expediting the construction of the cross-border economic cooperation zones," said Yang Wansheng, president of Guangxi Jingxi Full Rich Investment Co., Ltd.
The Chinese company vowed to step up cooperation with its Vietnamese partners in building the Longbang, China--Tra Linh, Vietnam Cross-border Economic Cooperation Zone Pilot Project.
The project is expected to create more than 100,000 jobs at the border areas and help 350,000 local residents get rid of poverty, according to Yang.
During Xi's visit, the two sides also vowed to expand cooperation in culture, education, media, health, youth-related affairs and tourism, and bring the Chinese Cultural Center in Hanoi and the Vietnam-China Friendship Palace into operation as early as possible, so as to further consolidate public support for China-Vietnam friendship.
Shared water, shared future. As the saying goes in China, "when water comes, a channel is formed," which means when conditions are ripe, success is achieved. The landmark visit of Xi will surely push China-Vietnam relations toward a shared future.