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Partnership pivotal to stability, Vietnamese general says

Updated: 2014-03-11 23:10
By Pu Zhendong in Mong Cai, Vietnam ( China Daily)

Beijing and Hanoi have to exercise utmost restraint to guarantee the resolution of maritime disputes in a peaceful and cooperative way, a senior Vietnamese general told China Daily on Tuesday.

Vo Tien Trung, director of Vietnam's National Defense Academy, said despite occasional friction, China and Vietnam have successfully maintained overall peace and stability in related waters in the South China Sea during the past year.

"However, the friction, if not handled properly, might be excessively hyped by outside forces, undermining bilateral friendship," Trung said.

Noting the fact that several countries are claiming sovereignty in the South China Sea, including China and Vietnam, Trung said it is an issue left over by history, in which both countries have made tremendous efforts to work together.

"China and Vietnam, as well as other parties involved, should closely follow the consensus reached by our leaders, such as ASEAN's Six-Point Principles issued in July and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea," he said.

The two countries can also refer to experiences learned from the delimitation of the maritime boundary in the Beibu Gulf — a bay off the coast of northern Vietnam and southern China — to further manage differences, Trung said.

Trung's suggestions were backed by a senior Chinese general. Kan Likui, deputy chief of operations under the general staff of the People's Liberation Army, said: "The stable land border and the successful co-existence in Beibu Gulf have established good examples for resolving our maritime disagreements in the vast South China Sea."

China and Vietnam, having completed demarcation negotiations regarding the Beibu Gulf in 2004, have launched 16 joint patrols in related waters.

Kan said the patrols protected the interests of fishermen and greatly strengthened the friendship of the two countries, adding that China and Vietnam will add new elements to future patrols such as joint search-and-rescues and military exercises.

The principles of cooperation were also highlighted on Tuesday during the second half of two militaries' first high-level border talks, held in Mong Cai of Quang Ninh province in northern Vietnam.

Qi Jianguo, deputy chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army, discussed China's ties with neighboring countries and new security concepts during talks with senior Vietnamese generals.

"As neighbors, we should meet and contact each other more to understand and support each other," Qi said. "Also in the spirit of reciprocity, we hope neighboring countries can all benefit from China's development, and together contribute more positive energy to the region and the whole world."

Qi said China's view on security, centered on equal cooperation, covers various areas including military, economy and finance.

"We hope all parties can seriously consider concerns of others before fulfilling their own interests. China maintains the utmost patience in terms of resolving disputes," he said.