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China, Vietnam launch joint inspection on waters

Updated: Dec 20,2015 11:05 AM     Xinhua

GUANGZHOU — A ceremony was held in south China’s Guangzhou on Dec 19 for the launch of a China-Vietnam joint inspection of the waters outside the Beibu Gulf which is bordered by the two countries.

Chinese and Vietnamese experts will inspect the terrain and geological conditions outside the mouth of the Beibu Gulf. The inspection will be carried out by China’s Fendou No. 5 ocean research vessel.

The inspection area is potentially rich in resources.

China and Vietnam agreed to launch the inspection in a joint communique released in Hanoi in November, when President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Vietnam.

The inspection is an important beginning for maritime cooperation between the two countries, according to the document.

China and Vietnam have been negotiating how to demarcate and develop the waters outside the mouth of the Beibu Gulf since 2012.

The launch of the joint inspection, which is the result of bilateral negotiation, shows that both countries are committed to solving maritime differences via cooperation in an appropriate way, said a press release from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The move is conducive to building a peaceful, friendly and cooperative atmosphere and strengthening political trust in order to solve maritime issues, the press release said.

“The two sides can clarify the resources and geology around the waters through joint inspection in order to lay a sound foundation for demarcation and joint development of the waters outside the mouth of the gulf,” it said.

The Beibu Gulf is a half-closed bay surrounded by Chinese and Vietnamese territory and a traditional fishing area for the two countries.

In 2000, both countries signed agreements on the demarcation of the Beibu Gulf and fishing cooperation in the area.

Representatives from the ministries of foreign affairs, surveying and mapping, land and resources of both countries attended the ceremony.