BEIJING - China and Vietnam agreed to properly address and control their disputes on Oct 18, a fresh pledge made during a meeting between Vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission Fan Changlong and visiting Vietnamese Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh.
“A neighboring country cannot be moved away,” Fan said. “It is in the common interest of China and Vietnam to live in amity, handle disputes properly and promote common development.”
Bilateral relations have been strained since earlier this year due to Vietnam continuously and illegally disturbing a Chinese company’s normal oil drilling activities in waters near the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea.
In mid-May, a series of riots began at foreign companies in southern and central Vietnam, leaving five Chinese nationals dead, around 20 foreign factories burned down, and some 1,100 foreign companies affected.
The violence came amid tensions between China and Vietnam over maritime disputes.
In the meeting, Fan stressed that both armed forces bear significant responsibility for safeguarding and sustaining bilateral ties. He urged the two militaries to always contribute “positive energy.”
“We should make our troops well-behaved, and not make remarks harming the feelings of both people or do things undermining the overall bilateral relations,” the vice chairman said.
He added China is willing to work with Vietnam to implement the consensus reached by both leaders and advance bilateral ties and military-to-military relations.
Thanh said that intensifying the traditional friendship between two nations and their armed forces is in accordance with the common interests of both sides. He vowed joint efforts with China to strengthen the two countries’ unity and cooperation, address and control disputes, and cement the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
He expressed hope that the two militaries would play an active role in maintaining bilateral ties and safeguarding peace and stability in the region.
On Oct 17, Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao met with Thanh and his 16-member high-ranking Vietnamese military delegation, which included six lieutenant generals and six major generals.
Also on Oct 17, Defense Minister Chang Wanquan held talks with Thanh. Both sides decided to gradually resume military ties and curb the maritime dispute.
The visit by the Vietnamese military delegation, scheduled for Oct 16-18, aims to strengthen cooperation between the two countries’ armies, according to an online newspaper of the Vietnamese People’s Army on Oct 16.