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

On this occasion, President Sang granted an exclusive interview to Chinese journalists based in Hanoi on a range of issues, from prospects of the two nations’ relations in the future to economic and trade potentials, and the way to deal with and address sea issues between Vietnam and China.

Vietnam News Agency would like to introduce a translated excerpt of the interview:

Question: H.E. State President, please give your assessment on the current relationship between China and Vietnam and prospects for the ties in the future? Do you have any suggestions to further strengthen the comprehensive strategic cooperation between the two countries?

Answer: Vietnam and China are two close neighbouring countries, whose peoples have a long-standing traditional friendship. During the cause of national liberation and construction in each country, they offered each other precious and efficient support. The Party, State and people of Vietnam consistently attaches great importance to developing a comprehensive strategic partnership with China.

Over the past years, thanks to the two sides’ common efforts, the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic partnership has been strengthened and developed, making important contributions to developments and advancements in each country.

Political exchange is regularly carried out with many visits, meetings and talks between the two countries’ leaders. The two sides’ cooperation in the fields of economics, trade, investment and tourism sees new developments. Cooperation between their ministries and agencies, and the exchange between localities and mass organisations as well as cooperation in the fields of culture, sports, arts, education and training are increasingly growing both in width and depth.

At present, the cause of national construction and development in both countries is facing new opportunities and challenges. More than ever, both of them need peaceful and stable international and regional environments so they can focus on their national development.

In March 2013, Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and Chinese Party General Secretary and President Xi Jinping held a very important talk over telephone, in which they put forth many instructions for the strengthening and intensification of the relations between the two Parties and countries. At the 6th session of the Steering Committee for Vietnam-China Bilateral Cooperation in May 2013, the two sides reached many concrete agreements that aim to boost bilateral cooperation in many sectors.

In order to further foster the friendly relations between the two countries, I think the two sides should together try and successfully fulfil the following tasks:

Firstly, increase political trust, in which the growing exchanges and contact between the two sides’ leaders, ministries, agencies and localities play a crucial role. Leaders of the two countries should carry out regular visits, meetings and exchanges under flexible and diverse forms in order to put forth timely orientations for key directions that heighten the ties between the two Parties and countries.

Secondly, strengthening and expanding mutually beneficial cooperation in every sector, especially economics, trade, investment, science and technology, education and training, and tourism. The two sides should increase their coordination in economic development and strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields.

Thirdly, continuously bring into play the traditional friendship between the two peoples; diversify people-to-people exchanges, especially among the younger generations; and intensify the popularisation of the cause of both countries’ national development and the Vietnam-China friendship.

Fourthly, based on the Vietnam-China friendship, neighbourly relations and the common perception of the two sides’ senior leaders as well as international law, the two sides should be patient with the way they address differences and arising matters between the two sides. They should be by peaceful means and friendly negotiations, aimed at maintaining the stable complexion of their relations.

We can say that Vietnam and China have great potentials and strengths that will help them further increase cooperation in the future.

Question: Two-way trade between China and Vietnam has continued to increase, with turnover reaching more than 40 billion USD and expected to hit 60 billion USD by 2015. Would you please tell us about the potential for economic and trade cooperation between the two sides, limits and weaknesses facing the cooperation, and measures to enhance the cooperation to a new height?

Answer: Both countries consider economic and trade cooperation as an important part of the comprehensive strategic partnership. Potential for economic and trade cooperation between the two countries is huge, and we should exploit advantages of each side together.

Vietnam and China are important markets to each other. Commodities crossing the shared border are diverse and on the rise. However, Vietnam still suffers from a large trade deficit with China, which impacts the sustainable development of bilateral trade. In the coming time, in addition to ensuring the stable growth of bilateral trade, the two sides should together take drastic and effective measures to lower this gap.

China’s investment in Vietnam does not correspond to the two sides’ potentials. I think the two sides’ concerned agencies should sit together and seek reasons as well as lessons. They should also find measures to increase the two sides’ investment cooperation in the coming time.

Vietnam welcomes big and typical projects from China which use modern technology and advanced equipment, especially in the fields of infrastructure, manufacturing and the support industry. Vietnam wants to export more goods to China, especially agricultural and seafood products.

In the time to come, we should make more efforts to seek orientations and efficient measures to boost mutually beneficial cooperation. Among others, I think firstly we should well implement inked agreements, including the five-year plan for the Vietnam-China economic and trade cooperation for the 2012-2016 period, in order to have more sustainable and balanced two-way trade, contributing to further developing the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic partnership.

Question: Please give your opinions on the way to deal with and address sea issues between Vietnam and China?

Answer: We have shown a lot of efforts and gained precious experience in dealing with tense and complicated issues concerning the two sides’ relations. Most remarkably, the two countries have fulfilled land border and Tonkin Gulf demarcation. With such a spirit, leaders of the two countries have exchanged opinions in a sincere and straightforward manner many times and they have reached important perceptions on how to resolve the East Sea issue. During General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit to China in October 2011, the two countries signed an agreement on fundamental principles guiding how to address the Vietnam-China sea issue. They agreed to comply strictly with the common perception of the two sides’ senior leaders, patiently resolving the East Sea issue by peaceful means based on international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982) and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties on the East Sea (DOC).

Resolving the East Sea issue is of great importance as it relates to territorial sovereignty and the nation’s and people’s sacred sentiments. I think in the coming time, senior leaders of the two countries should maintain regular exchanges and dialogue, and from the strategic height and friendly relations between the two countries instruct and drive the resolution of the East Sea issue by peaceful means. Only this way will it not impact on the friendly relations and political trust between the two sides as well as the two peoples’ sentiments. I expect that in my upcoming visit to China, Chinese leaders and I will have straightforward and sincere exchanges of opinion, and have more solutions to address sea-related differences between the two countries, thus contributing to developing ties between the two Parties and countries in a healthy and stable manner, and contributing to maintaining peace and stability in the East Sea.

In addition, caring for fishermen and their boats, and properly dealing with fishing based on the two countries’ friendly relations are also under the perception of the two countries’ leaders. I have visited many coastal areas in Vietnam. Meeting with many fishermen I have found that all of them are hard-working. For generations, their lives have depended on the traditional job of catching fish in the East Sea. Hence, in the coming time, we should show our full interest in fishermen, helping them have better, stable and a more sustainable livelihood. This is suitable to international law and practices.

Question: You have visited China many times and are an old friend of the Chinese people. Upon your upcoming visit to the country, what message do you want to send to the people of China?

Answer: The Vietnam-China friendship is very valuable and the common property of the two peoples, which has been cultivated by generations of leaders and peoples of the two sides. All of us are responsible for preserving, inheriting and developing this friendship. During my visit to China, I will go to Guangzhou, where President Ho Chi Minh and many other Vietnamese revolutionists lived and took part in revolutionary activities. The Party, State and people of Vietnam will never forget the precious assistance given by the Party, State and people of China during our cause of national liberation before, and the cause of national construction today. We really treasure the development of a friendly relationship and comprehensive cooperation with the Party, State and people of China, considering it a fundamental, consistent and long-standing policy, and a leading priority in Vietnam’s foreign policy. Reality shows that friendship, cooperation and development on the basis of equality, mutual respect and benefit are the only choice for the relationship between the two countries, meeting the common aspirations and interests of the two peoples.

On the occasion, through the media, I would like to convey my sincere and friendly regards to the Chinese people. I hope that the friendly relationship and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and China will be everlasting.-VNA