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Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun Talks about Vice President Xi Jinping's Visits to Vietnam and Thailand
2011/12/24

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping paid official visits to Vietnam and Thailand on invitation from Dec. 20 to 24, 2011. As the trip was drawing to a close, Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun, who accompanied Vice President Xi during the visits, joined the journalists and talked about Vice President Xi's visits and their outcome.

Zhang said Vice President Xi made this trip in the context that the international situation is undergoing profound and complex changes, the order in Asia is witnessing a new round of adjustment and the new leaderships and governments of Vietnam and Thailand were recently established. It is a major diplomatic action taken by China toward neighboring countries at the end of the year. These visits are of great significance to promoting and consolidating China-ASEAN strategic partnership and developing and solidifying good-neighborly friendship with surrounding countries.

Zhang said that Vice President Xi's visits are aimed to consolidate good-neighborly friendship, enhance strategic mutual trust and promote pragmatic cooperation with neighboring countries. During the trip, Vice President Xi had meetings and talks with the leaders of governments, parliaments, and political parties of the two countries and had a frank, friendly, and in-depth exchange of views on bilateral ties as well as international and regional issues of mutual interest. A series of important consensus was reached. He, successively with the leaders of Vietnam and Thailand, attended the signing ceremony of over 10 bilateral cooperation documents between governments and between financial institutions covering trade, finance, news, culture, health and other areas, which further deepened the pragmatic cooperation between China and the two countries in various fields. He had extensive contacts with the friends from different sectors including economy & trade, youth, culture, education, and local community. He attended a number of cultural exchange activities, which strongly consolidated social foundation for good-neighborly and friendly relations with the two countries. During the visits, Vice President Xi also met with the working staff of the Chinese embassies, working staff of Chinese-funded institutions, Chinese students studying in the two countries and representatives of Chinese nationals and overseas Chinese. At the welcome banquet hosted by Chinese nationals and overseas Chinese in Thailand, Vice President Xi delivered a speech. He briefed them on the development and reform situation in China and encouraged them to make greater contributions to promoting the friendship between China and the two countries.

Zhang said the two countries attached great importance to Vice President Xi's visits and accorded him warm and friendly reception and a high standard of courtesy. The key members of Vietnam's new leadership team turned out and had meetings and talks with Xi. The leaders of Vietnam and Thailand held welcome banquets for Xi. Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra hosted small-scale banquets for Xi. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra personally accompanied Xi to visit the exhibition of Thai local feature products in the "One Village One Product" program and a Thai school affected by the flood. The well-arranged activities and the touching scenes fully embodied the warm welcome given by the two countries to the visits of the Chinese leader and the traditional friendship between the people.

I. Consolidated good-neighborly friendship and enhanced mutual political trust between China and the two countries

Vietnam and Thailand are China's important neighbors. Since China and Vietnam established diplomatic relations 61 years ago, bilateral relations have been developing well in general. China and Thailand are close and friendly neighbors. The two countries enjoy a solid foundation for bilateral relations. During the trip, Vice President Xi had an in-depth exchange of views with the leaders of Vietnam and Thailand on strengthening strategic communication and further promoting bilateral relations. Important consensus was reached.

During the visit to Vietnam, Xi had talks with Le Hong Anh, permanent member of the Secretariat of CPV Central Committee and Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan and attended the welcome banquet hosted by them. He met with CPV General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and attended the small-scale banquet hosted by General Secretary. He had respective meetings with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, National Assembly (NA) Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung, and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

Xi said that developing China-Vietnam friendship is the strategic principle firmly pursued by the Chinese party and government. China is willing to work together with Vietnam to implement the important consensus reached by the general secretaries of the two parties in October this year. China is willing to consolidate traditional friendship, enhance mutual political trust, and properly handle marine difference so as to pass on the baton of good-neighborly friendship to future generations and ensure the long-term healthy and stable development of the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between China and Vietnam. The Vietnamese side stated that Vietnam attaches paramount importance to developing friendly cooperation with China in its foreign relations. Vietnam is also willing to work with China to earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the general secretaries. Vietnam is willing to strengthen high-level exchanges, enhance mutual political trust, deepen pragmatic cooperation, expand friendly exchanges and properly handle differences so as to promote the sustained, steady and healthy development of friendly relations between the two countries. The two sides both spoke highly of the important consensus on properly handling South China Sea disputes and the basic principles agreement signed by the two sides. Both sides agreed to make joint efforts to earnestly implement and effectively maintain the stability in the South China Sea.

Vice President Xi made an official visit to Vietnam in his dual capacities both as the leader of the party and the leader of the state. His visit to Vietnam has further strengthened the exchanges between CPC and CPV. Xi introduced to the Vietnamese leaders China's domestic situation and shared party-building experience. He pointed out that China has always attached importance to developing relations between CPC and CPV. Both sides should focus on implementing the five-year cooperation program between the two parties, deepen experience-sharing on running the party and the country, and promote cooperation between the counterparts of the two parties. Vietnam spoke highly of China's development achievements and sincerely wished the 18th National Congress of CPC a great success. Vietnam expressed the willingness to further strengthen experience exchange with China on running the party and the country and cadre training cooperation and push forward the building of socialism and the building of parties.

During the visit to Thailand, Vice President Xi met with Thai King's representative, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. He held talks with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and attended the welcome banquet and the small-scale breakfast meeting hosted by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. He met with Thai Parliament President and House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont, Thai Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda, and former Prime Minister and Chief of the Democratic Party of Thailand Abhisit Vejjajiv.

Xi said that China attaches great importance to developing friendly relations with Thailand. China is willing to expand high-level exchanges, deepen strategic mutual trust and make concerted efforts with Thailand to lift bilateral strategic cooperative relations to a higher level. Xi once again expressed condolences on the severe disaster of floods in Thailand. Thai leaders spoke highly of Thailand-China relations and thanked China for providing relief assistance and consulting in the first instance. They expressed the willingness to further strengthen communication and cooperation with China and push for greater progress of bilateral relations and cooperation in various fronts.

II. Carried on the traditional friendship and promoted cultural exchanges

China and Vietnam are comrades plus brothers having deep friendship, which was forged and developed by the leaders of elder generations. Such hard-won friendship is invaluable. China and Thailand have a long history of friendly relations. Chinese and Thais are brothers. This is a vivid portrayal of friendly relations between the two countries and the deep friendship between the people. During the visits, Vice President Xi attached great importance to inheriting the traditional friendship between the two countries and promoting mutual understanding and exchanges between the people. A series of important events were arranged for this purpose. His visits evoked strong repercussions in governments, the public and other communities of the two countries and received good results.

During his visit to Vietnam, Vice President Xi visited Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Ho Chi Minh's Residence. He was briefed on Ho Chi Minh's life and the cordial and friendly exchanges between Ho Chi Minh and the older generation of Chinese revolutionaries. Xi wrote an inscription for the residence, which reads, "The spirit of a great man will be extolled for centuries and the friendship between China and Vietnam will last from generation to generation." When Xi and Vietnamese leaders met over 500 youth representatives from the two countries, Xi encouraged young people to strive to become inheritors of the traditional friendship, new forces promoting the friendly cooperation and messengers of the generational friendship between China and Vietnam. During the meetings and talks with Vietnamese leaders, Xi stressed that the traditional friendship between China and Vietnam is the invaluable and priceless assets of the people. The young people should earnestly fulfill their historical mission, make their due contributions to the bright and exciting future of bilateral relations, and pass on the friendship between China and Vietnam from generation to generation.

During his visit to Thailand, Vice President Xi made a special arrangement to have talks with former Thai political leaders such as Anand Panyarachun, Chuan Leekpai, Banharn Silpa-Archa, and Chavalit as well as Thai friends and representatives from different communities. Accompanied by Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Xi went to see the students of Rattanakosin Sompoch Bowonniwet Salaya School in the flood-ravaged area and presented tablet computers to the students. He also visited the Confucius Institute at Chulalongkorn University, which is Thailand's most prestigious institution of higher learning. Xi said that the two sides should continue to deepen cooperation in culture, language teaching, tourism, youth exchange and other areas, expand personnel exchanges, increase mutual understanding, and expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges so that the Sino-Thai friendship can be passed onto future generations. Thailand warmly welcomed Vice President Xi and expressed their willingness to continue to increase the understanding of the Chinese culture and deepen the generational brotherhood relationship between China and Thailand.

III. Advanced pragmatic cooperation and promoted common development

Promoting pragmatic cooperation between China and the two countries is one of the top priorities of Xi's visits. China and Vietnam, China and Thailand are important trading partners of each other. In recent years, the scale of mutually beneficial economic and trade cooperation continued to grow and the areas of cooperation continued to expand, which created tangible benefits for the people. Against the backdrop that the profound impact of the current international financial crisis continued to emerge and the world economic recovery is weak, further enhancing pragmatic cooperation between China and the two countries and between China and ASEAN countries has important practical and long-term significance.

During the visits, Vice President Xi reiterated on many occasions China's positive attitude toward promoting the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the two countries in all areas. Such attitude received positive responses from the two countries. With the witnessing of the leaders, China and the two countries signed over cooperation agreements between governments and between financial institutions, covering trade, finance, justice, health, news, disaster prevention and mitigation, and other fields. The signing of these agreements will play a positive role in expanding areas of bilateral cooperation, enhancing the level of cooperation, enriching cooperation contents, and promoting common development.

During the visit to Vietnam, Xi said that the two sides should continue to leverage China-Vietnam Steering Committee on Bilateral Cooperation and other mechanisms to deepen pragmatic cooperation and achieve mutual benefit and win-win results. He even proposed a series of specific recommendations. Vietnam expressed their full agreement, saying that Vietnam is willing to work with China to promote pragmatic and mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and achieve greater development of bilateral relations. China and Vietnam agreed to implement the five-year-plan for the development of China-Vietnam economic and trade cooperation and strive to achieve the target of bringing bilateral trade volume to $60 billion by 2015. The two sides agreed to continue to vigorously promote the cooperation in the construction of "Two Corridors One Circle" and cross-border economic cooperation zones.

During the visit to Thailand, Xi stressed the two countries should give full play to the role of the Joint Committee on Economic and Trade Cooperation at the deputy-prime-minister Level and other mechanisms and explore new ways and means for bilateral economic and trade cooperation so as to inject new impetus into bilateral relations. The Thai side expressed their willingness to make joint efforts with China to promote the substantial growth of bilateral trade, investment and tourism on a yearly basis. China and Thailand agreed to discuss and sign as soon as possible the five-year-plan for the development of China-Thailand economic and trade cooperation" and strive to achieve the target of bringing bilateral trade volume to $100 billion by 2015. The two sides also reached a series of important consensus on strengthening pragmatic cooperation in infrastructure construction including high-speed rail, water conservancy, energy, agriculture, marine matters and other fields.

IV. Expanded policy statements and promoted the development of China-ASEAN relations in general

The world is undergoing major development, big changes and significant adjustments. The role and status of East Asia and ASEAN continue to rise. Vietnam and Thailand are both important members of ASEAN. Vietnam is current coordinator for ASEAN-China relations while Thailand is the incoming coordinator for ASEAN-China relations. They are important links for China to further develop China-ASEAN relations and promote good-neighborly and friendly relations with neighboring countries.

During his visits, Xi had a broad exchange of views with the leaders of Vietnam and Thailand on the development of overall relations between China and ASEAN, East Asia cooperation and regional and international issues of common concern. Xi said that China supports Vietnam and Thailand to play a more active role in the international and regional affairs. China is willing to strengthen communication and coordination with Vietnam and Thailand within such frameworks as East Asia cooperation and Greater Mekong Sub-regional economic cooperation, jointly safeguard the national interests of developing countries and achieve regional stability and sustainable development.

In the visit to Thailand, Vice President Xi delivered an important speech. He made a comprehensive declaration of China's positive will to further develop the relationship between China and ASEAN. Xi pointed out that the important role of ASEAN in regional cooperation should be maintained. China and ASEAN should deepen practical cooperation in economy & trade, infrastructure construction and other areas and jointly safeguard regional security and stability. The two sides should actively learn from the useful experience of other regional cooperation, seize opportunities and bring advantages into play. The two sides should continue to promote China-ASEAN relations, deepen East Asia cooperation, and realize mutual benefit and win-win results. Vice President Xi's speech was highly praised and warmly welcomed by local and national governments of ASEAN countries, people from all walks of life and public opinion.

Zhang Zhijun said that the media of Vietnam and Thailand and regional and international media paid high attention to Vice President Xi's visits and positively reported and commented Xi's visits. Vietnamese media commented that cherishing and passing on the traditional friendship between the two countries is the common aspirations voiced by the top leaders of the two countries during Vice President Xi's visit. Hong Kong media said Xi's visit aimed to strengthen bilateral relations with Vietnam and the two countries had expressed their will to properly handle South China Sea disputes through consultation. Thai media commented that Xi's visit is the first visit by a top Chinese leader since the establishment of the current Thai government. Vice President Xi's visit fully demonstrated the importance attached by China to the development of China-Thailand relations and cooperation. Japanese media said that the visits aimed to strengthen relations between China and its Southeast Asian neighbors and consolidate the friendship with its neighbors. The regional and international community responded positively to the visits and considered that the visits played an active role in promoting good-neighborly friendship, developing practical cooperation and promoting regional stability and cooperation, therefore they are of great significance.

Zhang Zhijun concluded that in the five-day trip, Vice President Xi attended nearly 30 official events, had meeting and talks with over 10 leaders of Vietnam and Thailand. The trip was featured by a tight agenda, rich activities, friendly atmosphere, and productive outcome. It was a successful journey of consolidating good-neighborly friendship, inheriting traditional friendship, enhancing mutual political trust, promoting mutually beneficial cooperation and advancing regional development. It wrote a new chapter for the traditional friendship between China and Vietnam and between China and Thailand. It injected a strong impetus to the friendly, mutually beneficial and future-oriented cooperation between China and the two countries and between China and the region. We will conscientiously implement the important outcome of Vice President Xi's visits and push forward our bilateral relations with Vietnam and Thailand, our relations with ASEAN and beneficial cooperation with them in various fields.

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