President Truong Tan Sang will pay a State-level visit to China from June 19 to 21 at the invitation of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and President Xi Jinping.

This will be the first-ever visit made by President Sang as Head of State and the first state-level visit by a high-ranking Vietnamese leader to China since its change of leadership.

The President’s visit aims to affirm the consistent policy of the Vietnamese Party and State in the relationship with the Party and State of China.

As neighbouring countries, the friendship and cooperation between Vietnam and China has developed intensively and extensive in all fields, bringing practical benefits to both sides.

The two countries have to date signed a host of Government-level agreements and cooperative documents, creating a legal foundation for their long-term cooperation.

The exchange of delegations at both central and grassroots levels has increased with over 200 delegations of leaders from ministries, branches, local governments and mass organisations visiting each other’s country each year.

The exchange of delegations and contacts at different levels continue throughout 2012 and 2013. In particular, on March 21 this year, Vietnam’s Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and China’s Party General Secretary and President Xi Jinping for the first time talked on a hotline connecting high-ranking leaders of the two countries.

Vietnam and China have strengthened cooperation between the two Parties by maintaining the exchange of delegations and establishing cooperative mechanisms between Party Central Committee’s Commissions.

Diplomacy, security and national defence links have also been consolidated with effective implementation of cooperative agreements.

The two countries’ localities have reinforced their relations through various activities such as exchanging delegations, signing cooperative agreements, organising seminars and exhibitions, and trade and investment promotions.

Exchanges between the two countries’ people and youth have been boosted with a range of activities such as the Vietnam-China Youth Festival in Guangxi province in August 2010, the Vietnam-China Border People Friendship Festival in November 2010, the first Vietnam-China People Friendship Festival in December 2010, the fourth Vietnam-China People Forum in China in September 2012, and the 13 th Vietnam-China Youth Friendship Meeting in August 2012.

On the plane of economic and trade ties, China has been Vietnam ’s leading trade partner since 2004, with two-way trade hitting 41.18 billion USD last year.

Vietnam exported nearly 12.4 billion USD worth of goods to China while importing nearly 28.8 billion USD.

Apart from traditional items such as farming, forestry and fishery products, the volume of Vietnamese industrial products exported to China has increased since 2011, reaching 30 percent of total exports at present.

Last year, rice exports to China experienced a sharp rise, earning 898 million USD.

Bilateral trade turnover in the first four months of this year exceeded 14.3 billion USD, of which Vietnam shipped nearly 3.9 billion USD worth of goods to China and imported over 10.4 billion USD.

The two countries are making all-out efforts to realise their bilateral trade target of 60 billion USD by 2015.

By the end of March 2013, China had invested in 899 projects in Vietnam with 4.7 billion USD in total registered capital, ranking 13 out of 94 countries and territories investing in Vietnam.

China has so far given 1.6 billion USD in preferential loans to Vietnam, focusing on industry, mining, railway, energy, garments and textiles, and chemicals.

Apart from preferential loans, the Chinese Government has also provided Vietnam with non-refundable aid.

Over the past time, the two countries’ cooperation in education and training, culture and sports has been fostered.

Nearly 13,500 Vietnamese students are studying in China and more than 3,500 Chinese students are pursuing their education in Vietnam.

Every year, the two sides exchange many delegations of artists and organise cultural and sports exchanges, contributing to enhancing the friendship between the two countries’ people.

Last year, Vietnam welcomed 1.42 million Chinese arrivals, up 0.9 percent against the same period last year, while around 1 million Vietnamese holiday-makers visit China each year.-VNA