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Li underlines Vietnam ties

By Li Xiaokun and Zhang Yunbi | China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-11 00:51

Still, the Chinese premier on Friday called Vietnam an "important and close neighbor".

"China and Vietnam see each other's development as an opportunity," Li said, calling for the two nations to view bilateral ties from "a strategic and comprehensive height".

Nguyen told Li that Vietnam is willing to properly handle the South China Sea issue and beef up the traditional friendship, economic cooperation and cultural exchanges with China.

Jia Duqiang, an expert on Southeast Asian studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Li has conveyed two messages to Vietnam — that Vietnam should stop further complicating the territorial dispute, and that Beijing and Hanoi have great potential in cooperation if they can handle the ties well.

"Though Vietnam has asked for help from the United States to counterbalance China, it is fully aware that this is not easy to achieve," Jia said.

He noted the fact that China is Vietnam's biggest trade partner, with bilateral trade exceeding $40 billion in 2012. The volume is expected to reach $60 billion by 2015.

Deals at the China-Vietnam Border Economic and Trade Fair 2012 held in November reached $347 million, up 142 percent compared with the figure for 2010.

Besides, Vietnam is in need of more foreign investment to improve its infrastructure. Hanoi is reforming its investment restrictions on private capital for transportation projects.

With more than 16,000 students in China, Vietnam is now the fourth-largest source country for China in terms of overseas students.


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