Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) called for more mutual trust and cooperation with Vietnam in a speech to young people yesterday on a visit intended to mend ties between the communist neighbors that have been strained by maritime disputes.
Speaking on the final day of his two-day visit, Xi said stronger cooperation and trust would aid both nations.
“The world and this region are undergoing profound and complex changes,” Xi said. “China and Vietnam are facing both opportunities and challenges. Both sides should strengthen friendship, mutual trust and cooperation, so as to boost common development.”
Relations plummeted when China parked an oil rig in disputed waters last year and the two have since been trying to repair ties with high-level visits.
China’s claims over most of the South China Sea and its massive land reclamation in the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands, 南沙群島) have rattled the region.
However, Xi played down the concerns, saying Beijing would not seek to impose its influence all over the region.
“Chinese advocate such belief, do not do to others what you would not have them do to you,” he said. “China rejects that a country should seek hegemony once it grows strong. China will deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, interconnection and interworking with neighboring countries, including Vietnam, [and] will always be a close comrade with socialist countries, a reliable friend to developed countries.”
In a rare address by a foreign head of state to the National Assembly, Xi said: “It is an old Chinese saying that neighbors wish each other well, just as loved ones do. It’s normal for neighbors to have rows, yet the two sides should always keep the overall interests of the relationship in mind, and properly control and manage disputes through peaceful and friendly negotiation. We should prevent our relationship from sheering off the right course.”
Xi was scheduled to travel on to Singapore later yesterday, where he is due to meet President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) today.
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