Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said on Sunday that Vietnam and China should settle their disputes in the East Sea through peaceful measures and according to international law.

"Vietnam's rights and benefits should be respected under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea," Minh told reporters after a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Hanoi.

He expressed concerns over "elements" that would risk escalating tension and instablity in the region, urging more bilateral talks to build maritime cooperation for mutual development.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also said that the two countries should work on joint exploitation in the waters, known internationally as the South China Sea.

“We have agreed that settling the maritime issues is extremely important for the healthy and sustainable development of bilateral relations,” he said.

China claims 90 percent of the potentially energy-rich maritime territory and has been building on and militarizing rocky outcrops and reefs in its waters.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also lay claim to parts of it, through which about $5 trillion of trade passes each year. Vietnam is the country most openly at odds with China over the issue.

“The two sides should better manage disputes through talks and refrain from taking unilateral actions that may further complicate and expand the disputes,” Wang said.

Wang and Minh said bilateral relations had seen positive development, with rising trade and investment as the two neighbors further opened up markets to each other. Bilateral trade exceeded $100 billion last year.

By VnExpress / Reuters - April 2, 2018

Chinese state councilor calls for steady, long-term development of China-Vietnam ties

Visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday called for steady and long-term development of relations between China and Vietnam.

Wang made the remarks when meeting with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.

China is ready to earnestly implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries so as to lift the China-Vietnam comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership to a new level, Wang said.

Both sides should maintain high-level contacts, strengthen party-to-party exchanges, and enhance cooperation in defense, law enforcement and local governments, he added.

The Chinese state councilor urged the alignment of China's Belt and Road Initiative with Vietnam's "Two Corridors and One Economic Circle" plan, advance pragmatic cooperation in various fields, especially in infrastructure, industrial capacity and cross-border cooperation zone.

Both China and Vietnam should also boost cultural and people-to-people exchanges and properly manage their differences, he said.

For his part, Minh said maintaining and strengthening the traditional friendship between Vietnam and China is in the interests of both countries, which also contributes to regional peace and stability.

The Vietnamese side is willing to closely cooperate with China in actively implementing the consensus reached between leaders of the two countries, he said.

Both countries should give full play to the Vietnam-China Steering Committee for Cooperation, promote integration of the Belt and Road Initiative with the "Two Corridors and One Economic Circle" plan, push forward cooperation in various fields, and properly handle maritime issues, Minh added.

At a joint press conference with Minh held after the meeting, Wang said, "We agreed that our two countries are now at a crucial stage of vigorously advancing the causes of reform, renewal and opening up, with ever- increasing economic complementarity."

Noting that the two-way trade between China and Vietnam topped 100 billion U.S. dollars last year, and personnel exchanges exceeded 10 million, he said these figures demonstrate the huge potential for cooperation between the two countries.

Wang called on the two sides to seize the rare opportunities brought about by the reform and development of the two countries which have now entered a new era, and upgrade the scale and quality of the bilateral practical cooperation.

The two also agreed that properly handling maritime issues is of vital importance to the smooth and healthy development of the bilateral relations.

Both sides pledged to earnestly implement all the regulations concerning the agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of maritime issues existing between the two countries.

They also highlighted the importance of managing differences through consultations and refraining from taking unilateral actions that might complicate and escalate situations.

Both sides also agreed to boost maritime cooperation including exploring feasible ways of joint development.

Through such cooperation, they believed that both countries would create favorable conditions for the final solution of the maritime issues as well as a requisite environment for comprehensively promoting bilateral practical cooperation.

Xinhua Agency - April 2, 2018