Vietnam and China defence ministers shared the wish to strengthen their neighbourly friendship as the two countries share mutual interests at their talks in Beijing on October 17.

Defence Minister Gen. Phung Quang Thanh, who is on an official visit to China from October 16-18, and his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan noted with pleasure the status of cooperation between the two armies in line with a protocol signed in 2003, saying that this should continue by facilitating more visits, personnel training, and holding joint patrols on the Gulf of Tonkin for a borderline of peace, stability and development.

They agreed to enhance Party and political activities, with a focus on awareness campaigns and exchanges between young officers to raise mutual understanding between the two peoples.

Minister Thanh said sovereignty dispute in the East Sea is the only stumbling block in bilateral relationship, adding that Vietnam’s consistent stance is to settle the dispute peacefully and together with China seek a long-term solution acceptable to both sides and in accordance with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea.

He urged that the army should keep calm, exercise self-restraints and closely monitor activities at sea so as to avoid any possible misunderstanding, prevent clashes, as well as do not use or threat force when it comes to address the dispute.

The guest also called for humanitarian treatment of fishermen, including helping those in distress at sea and not confiscating fishermen’s fishing equipment.

At the end of the talks, both ministers witnessed the signing of a technical memorandum of understanding on the establishment of a direct communication line between the two ministries.

Meeting with Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao later, Thanh suggested China lift its warning against travel in Vietnam, adding that his visit is to implement the important common perception between the two countries’ leaders and bolster ties between the two Parties, countries and armies.

The host said China welcomes the visit and believes it will be beneficial to both sides.

While in China, Thanh is schedule to meet Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission Fan Changlong on October 18.-VNA