Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Dec 12 (EFE).- Chinese President Xi Jinping began a two-day visit Tuesday to Vietnam in Hanoi, in which he seeks to promote “a shared future” between both countries.
The Chinese president was received at Noi Bai airport by Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and other Vietnamese officials, after which Xi delivered a short speech highlighting China’s importance towards ties with Vietnam, according to a statement by the Chinese government.
In an article published Tuesday in the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the Chinese president spoke of the geographical, economic and cultural closeness of China and Vietnam and of the importance of “expanding cooperation” and “building a shared future.”
Xi, coming to Vietnam for the first time in six years and following the visit of United States President Joe Biden in September, was invited by Vietnamese Communist Party Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong and the country’s President Vo Van Thuong with the expectation of taking bilateral relations “to a new level.”
The Chinese leader was given a ceremonial reception at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi by Thuong and Trong, during which Xi was seen conversing calmly with the latter, who as leader of the Communist Party holds the most powerful position in the country.
Xi’s visit coincides with the 15th anniversary of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the countries, the highest level of diplomatic relations for Vietnam, although most analysts agree that this visit could imply a more privileged status with China.
Chinese ambassador to Vietnam Pham Sao Mai said Xi would talk with Vietnamese leaders about “deepening and elevating the comprehensive strategic partnership” between both countries and bringing their bilateral relations “to a level of more substantial effective development.”
Beijing would distinguish itself from the other countries with which Vietnam maintains that level of relationship: India, Russia, South Korea, Japan and, especially, the United States, which signed the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreement in September during President Joe Biden’s visit to Hanoi.
Vietnam maintains this level of political relationship with India, Russia, South Korea, the United States and Japan, in an example of what some experts call bamboo diplomacy, which allows the country to strike a balance and maintain good relations with countries confronted with each other.
In addition to their political and cultural proximity and their shared border, China and Vietnam maintain strong economic ties, with trade valued at $175.6 billion in 2022.
Both countries maintain territorial tensions over two archipelagos in the South China Sea, which sometimes causes incidents between Vietnamese fishing vessels and Chinese coast guard ships. EFE