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China-Vietnam Relations over the South China Sea: What’s Next after Trong’s Visit?

2017-02-20 10:36:01       source:NISCSS

February 20, 2017

By Li Jianwei and Ramses Amer

"From 12 to 15 January 2017 General Secretary of Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Nguyen Phu Trong paid an official visit to China. During his stay in China, General Secretary of Communist Party of China (CPC) Xi Jinping and other four   permanent members of CPC Political Bureau met Trong and his delegation. There is no doubt that the active interactions at the top leadership at the beginning of 2017 will positively contribute to the traditional bilateral friendship relations, in particular provide an opportunity for both countries to boost their mechanisms to handle the issues in the South China Sea (SCS), the most sensitive problem left in the bilateral relations.

As usual in the high-level meetings between China and Vietnam, the sea issues relating to the SCS were discussed during Trong’s visit, the result of which is highlighted in Point 6 of the Joint Communiqué. Both sides recognised that the SCS is the major outstanding problem existed in China-Vietnam relations and the issue is very complicated and vital, hugely affecting and governing the political trust, people’s sentiments, the direction of the two countries’ relations, as well as the regional situation. Due to the sensitivity of the issues involved and the difficulty to reach the final resolution, differences exist and at the current stage effective management is vital to prevent the issues from escalation."

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China-Vietnam Relationsover the South China Sea.docx