The new Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam, Kong Xuanyou, has pledged to do his utmost to contribute to developing the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between China and Vietnam.

In an interview given to the Vietnam News Agency after taking up the post, the Ambassador said his first impression of Vietnam was the great changes in Hanoi from five years ago and the hard working spirit of the Vietnamese people. “Reality has proven that the choice made by the Vietnamese leaders is correct and suitable with the situation, thus receiving wide support of the Vietnamese people,” he said.

Kong said after arriving in Vietnam, he had paid courtesy visits to Vietnam’s leaders and ministries and agencies and he had perceived the determination of the Vietnamese Party and Government to promote the China-Vietnam strategic cooperative partnership.

Regarding the outcomes of the cooperation between Vietnam and China and prospects for bilateral relations, the Chinese Ambassador said under the motto of “friendly neighbourliness, comprehensive cooperation, durable stability and looking toward the future”, the China-Vietnam relations have developed in both width and depth in a comprehensive manner. High-level visits have been conducted regularly and continuously, and leaders of the two Parties and countries have regularly met and discussed bilateral relations as well as issues of mutual concern, thus further strengthening and boosting the relationship between the two countries and achieving many agreements.

He said, “Over the past years, friendship exchange and cooperation between sectors and localities of the two countries have been conducted fruitfully. The two sides also conducted in-depth sharing of experience in Party building work and state management. According to China’s statistics, the two sides last year exchanged 334 delegations at all levels, including 125 delegations at deputy ministerial level and above.

“Bilateral economic and trade ties enjoyed good results. According to China’s statistics, two-way trade turnover surpassed 30 billion USD last year. China has been Vietnam’s largest trade partner for seven consecutive years. In the first six months of this year, economic cooperation and trade between the two countries also saw encouraging results, with two way trade achieving more than 18 billion USD, up 40.9 percent year on year.

“Border and territorial issues left over from history have been step by step settled in a satisfactory way. Last year, three documents on land border between China and Vietnam officially took effect. In April this year, the China-Vietnam Joint Committee on Land Border also started working, laying a firm foundation for the stable development of the relations between the two countries.

“The two countries also saw active exchange in the field of culture. Last year, the two sides celebrated the 60th founding anniversary of their diplomatic relations and the Year of China-Vietnam Friendship with a wide range of activities, including the people’s forum and youth festivals on a large scale, which yielded good results. In the future, we should increase cultural exchange and seek new, creative forms for the exchange to help bilateral relations develop in a healthy and intensive manner.

“It should be acknowledged that between China and Vietnam there remains the difference on the sea issue, leaders of the two countries have reached important common awareness in order to solve the disagreement. The core of this issue is that both sides should base themselves on the overall friendly relations between the two countries to seek a solution acceptable to both sides through friendly consultations. If the issue cannot be solved during a certain period of time, we should not let the difference affect the normal development of the bilateral relations. We believe that the important common awareness of the two countries’ leaders is of important guiding significance in solving the outstanding disputes, differences, and is beneficial to the maintenance of the stable general situation between the two countries as well as to peace, stability and development in the region. Therefore, the two sides have set up discussion mechanisms at governmental and expert levels to settle the sea issue. At present, the two sides are conducting negotiations on an agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of the sea issue, and have achieved positive progress. What I want to stress here is that Vietnam and China are two socialist countries and both are in the key period of reform and development. The satisfactory settlement of the difference between the two countries will help further strengthen the China-Vietnam friendship, increase mutually-benefiting cooperation in line with the fundamental interests of both countries and their people, as well as benefiting peace, stability and prosperity in the region. All we have to do is to stand on this strategic stance to consider the disputes, disagreements and differences between our two countries. I think this is the fundamental, crucial point, the long-term plan to promote the healthy, stable development of bilateral relations.

In the near future, State Councillor Dai Bingguo of China will visit Vietnam and will, together with Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan, chair the fifth session of the Joint Steering Committee on Cooperation. The session takes place at a time when Vietnam has elected a new leadership of the new tenure and the China-Vietnam relationship is faced with a new situation and new tasks. The visit will be an important event in bilateral relations this year, and will also be an important contact between high-ranking leaders of the two countries. During his stay in Hanoi, Dai Bingguo will hold meetings and talks with Vietnamese Party and Governmental leaders to review the development of the China-Vietnam ties over the past year, and work out plans for furthering cooperation in all fields, between localities, agencies and branches of the two countries in the coming time, thus promoting the sustainable, healthy and stable development of China-Vietnam relations in the new situation.

On his plan to boost bilateral ties during his term of office in Vietnam, the Ambassador said he would do his utmost to create new developments in the China-Vietnam relations through implementing a number of major tasks, including increasing friendship exchanges and mutual trust in the political field.

Kong said, “We need to continue maintaining visits by the two countries’ leaders to constantly and clearly point out correct development orientations for our relations. We need to competently implement cooperative mechanisms between our ministries of foreign affairs, defence, public security, etc as well as the two Parties’ commissions for external relations and popularisation and education. In the meantime, we should constantly deepen exchanges, cooperation, and friendship among ministries, in fields and between localities of our countries.”

Regarding the expansion of trade and economic ties, he suggested the two countries actively create conditions for the early signing of a five-year trade and economics cooperation development scheme; implement the long-term cooperation in big infrastructural construction projects as well as industrial projects; promptly carry out defined cooperation projects and continue to promote cooperation in human resources training.

The two sides need to satisfactorily settle issues left over from history to ensure the healthy development of the two countries’ ties, he added.

For differences in the sea issue, Kong said he believed the two countries will certainly be able to avoid and not let differences affect the smooth development of bilateral ties provided that the two sides strictly implement their leaders’ common awareness and fully consult successful experiences in the two countries’ land border demarcation and marker planting as well as their Tonkin Gulf demarcation.

According to the Ambassador, the two sides should constantly expand their socio-cultural exchanges in depth and boost cooperation and exchanges in culture, education, science, technology, tourism, health care, press and sports and physical training and other fields. Both sides should unceasingly diversify forms of cooperation and exchanges and contents of cooperation as well as accelerate dissemination and education on the China-Vietnam friendship so as to create a good atmosphere for promoting the smooth development of the two countries’ bilateral ties.

The two sides need to boost discussion, cooperation and coordination at forums, including the United Nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum as well as the Greater Mekong sub-region, thus contributing to peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world at large.

He expressed his belief that the China-Vietnam cooperative relations will certainly experience new developments to grow further providing that both countries grasp strictly the orientations for the development of bilateral ties, constantly enhance mutual trust and understanding and bilateral exchange.

Kong said he believed that with the attention and assistance of the Party, Government and all circles of Vietnam, he will successfully fulfil his tasks assigned by the Chinese Party and Government as the Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam./.