Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his Chinese counterpart, Wen Jiabao, sat down on Oct. 16 to consider a plan for a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership targeting 25 billion USD in trade revenue by 2010.

Dung, who is in Chengdu city, Sichuan province, China, to attend the 10th Western China International Economic and Trade Fair, was welcomed by his host as making an important visit to contribute to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.

Wen also recognised Vietnam as a good neighbour and important partner of China.

“The Party, Government and people of China always respect the friendly and cooperative relations with Vietnam,” the Chinese leader emphasised.

His view was echoed by the Vietnamese leader, who pledged to work with China in building a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

The duo reached a consensus on a number of major measures to boost economic, trade and investment relations in an effort to maintain the current bilateral trade growth and meet high-level commitments to reaching 25 billion USD in trade revenue by 2010.

These measures include a plan to open a direct air route from Vietnam and Chengdu city to boost trade flows between the Southeast Asian country and western China .

They also pushed for the signing of agreements on rules for border and border gate management, separately, before 2009.

Other highlights were an early signing of accords on joint tourist programmes at Ban Gioc water fall and free movement of ships through the Bac Luan river gate in 2010.

The two Government leaders expressed their strong belief that sea issues would be gradually resolved along with the fine development of bilateral relations, based on international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

Such an outcome is necessary to meet the legitimate aspirations and interests of the two peoples as well as for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region, said the two leaders.

The two premiers also agreed to work together in strengthening relations between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Vietnam is a member, and China .

The two leaders met again on the day at the 10th Western China International Economic and Trade Fair and the second Western China Forum on International Cooperation, where Wen delivered the opening speech and Dung followed suit.

In his speech, Dung hailed China as a leading trade partner of Vietnam , attaining 12.5 billion USD in two-way trade in the first eight months of the year despite the global economic downturn.

The figure is expected to reach 19-20 billion USD by the end of the year as Vietnam is gradually emerging as an important partner of China , he said.

China is also a major foreign investor with over 650 projects capitalised at over 2.6 billion USD, not counting investments from Hong Kong and Macao .

He also highlighted Vietnam ’s economic growth of 4.6 percent in the first nine months of the year, which is expected to reach 5-5.2 percent by the year’s end, despite the rocky global economic landscape during the period.

Vietnam has attracted over 12.5 billion USD in foreign direct investment, helping the country gradually lift itself out of an impending economic slump.

After the opening ceremony, Dung was shown around the fair and visited 90 pavilions set up by 40 Vietnamese businesses./.