President Hu meets Vietnam leaders

Updated: 2006-11-16 22:10

HANOI - Chinese President Hu Jintao met Vietnam's leaders on Thursday ahead of an Asia-Pacific summit in Hanoi, with state media calling for more trade.

China's President Hu Jintao and Vietnam's General Secretary of the Communist Party Nong Duc Manh (L) walk past a guard of honour at the presidential palace in Hanoi November 16, 2006. Hu is attending the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Vietnam. [Reuters]

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Hu, Vietnamese Communist Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh and State President Nguyen Minh Triet launched a Web site to promote trade and witnessed the signing of a deal on a $418.18 million power plant to be funded largely by loans from the Chinese Export-Import bank, Vietnam News Agency said.

Since relations were re-established in 1991, China has become Vietnam's biggest trade partner, with trade between the two estimated to reach $10.2 billion in 2006.

Vietnamese and Chinese officials recently agreed to accelerate the installation of border markers under an agreement signed last year on completing the demarcation of the 1,350-km (830 mile) border in 2008.

China is a major importer of Vietnamese natural rubber, coal and agriculture products.

Earlier this week a subsidiary of state utility Electricity of Vietnam signed a contract with China's Yunnan Power Grid Co to build a 21.4-megawatt hydro power plant at a cost of $28 million in Vietnam's border province of Lao Cai.

Vietnam has been buying electricity from southern China to offset a shortfall at home to meet rising demand in an economy that is expected to grow 8.2 percent this year and forecast to accelerate to between 8.2 percent and 8.5 percent in 2007.

Hu arrived in Vietnam on Wednesday in the central city of Danang, home of the famed China Beach. He leaves Hanoi on Sunday for Laos, India and Pakistan.

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