Beijing (VNA) – Vietnamese Ambassador to China Pham Sao Mai met with officials of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Chongqing city and Sichuan province during his working visits to the two Chinese localities on November 24.

He had meetings with Politburo member and Secretary of the Chongqing CPC Committee Chen Min’er, along with member of the CPC Central Committee and Secretary of the Sichuan CPC Committee Peng Qinghua.

At these events, Mai congratulated Chongqing and Sichuan on their recent achievements in socio-economic development despite numerous difficulties caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and serious floods.

He highly valued the two localities’ important role in China’s strategic plans on developing regional connectivity, voicing his belief that with their geographical, transport, and business advantages, they will strongly bring into play their role in connecting China with Southeast Asian neighbours, including Vietnam.

Noting the progress in relations between the two Parties and the two countries, the ambassador said amid the 70th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations this year, their leaders have maintained contact via flexible forms.

Connections in different areas have been fostered, especially economic, trade, and investment links which have sustained stable growth and become highlights of bilateral cooperation. 

According to Chinese statistics, bilateral trade grew 16.2 percent in the first 10 months of this year to approximate 150 billion USD. In particular, trade between Vietnamese localities and Chongqing and Sichuan has been surging. Vietnam’s exports to Chongqing soared by over 86 percent year on year in the first nine months to top 4.5 billion USD.

To further enhance Vietnam’s ties with the two Chinese localities, and the southwestern region of China as a whole, Mai suggested both sides actively organise delegation exchanges once the pandemic is under control.

They should increase transport connectivity by promoting different means of transport like road, rail, sea, and air transport. 

They also need to tap into their respective potential and advantages, optimise cooperation chances generated by important free trade agreements (FTAs) like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and facilitate bilateral trade so that more Vietnamese goods can reach China’s western region and Europe and more commodities from Chongqing and Sichuan can enter Vietnam and Southeast Asia, the diplomat recommended.

He welcomed prestigious and capable businesses of Chongqing and Sichuan expanding investment in Vietnam, especially in hi-tech manufacturing and environmentally friendly industries.

Mai also asked the two localities to increase scholarships for Vietnamese students and bolster tourism and people-to-people exchanges when possible.

For his part, Secretary of the Chongqing CPC Committee Chen Min’er said as a centrally-run city with strengths in various spheres, Chongqing is ready to contribute to the China-Vietnam comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

The city views Vietnamese localities as its leading economic partners in Southeast Asia and wishes to step up transport and logistics connectivity; trade, investment, and industrial production cooperation; tourism links; and people-to-people exchange.

Chongqing also looks to join hands to make use of cooperation opportunities brought about by China’s regional connectivity strategies and the FTAs of which both countries are members like the RCEP, Chen said.

Meanwhile, Secretary of the Sichuan CPC Committee Peng Qinghua emphasised that his province treasures and hopes to intensify its cooperation with Vietnamese localities.

He expressed his delight at the strong development of Sichuan-Vietnam trade, which grew 38 percent year on year to around 10 billion USD in the first 10 months.

As Sichuan boasts many favourable conditions for tightening economic and trade links with Vietnam, the two sides should capitalise on their potential to foster partnerships in logistics, trade, production, science-technology, culture, tourism, and locality-to-locality exchange, the official suggested./.