China, Vietnam lift ties to new stage, aiming for shared future

This aerial photo taken on Sept. 9, 2023 shows a view of the port of the Friendship Pass in Pingxiang, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Pic: Xinhua/Cao Yiming.

This aerial photo taken on Sept. 9, 2023 shows a view of the port of the Friendship Pass in Pingxiang, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Pic: Xinhua/Cao Yiming.

Published Dec 21, 2023


China and Vietnam on Tuesday agreed to build a community with a shared future that carries strategic significance charting a promising path of their closer cooperation and friendship going forward.

The two Asian neighbors share a long-standing and well-established relationship. Shortly after its founding, China became the first country to establish diplomatic ties with Vietnam in 1950. In 2008, China became the first country to forge a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership with Vietnam.

Over the past 15 years, considerable advancements have been achieved between Vietnam and China across multiple domains, creating a strong base for both parties to elevate their bilateral relations to a fresh level, said Dao Ngoc Bau, deputy director in charge of the Institute of International Relations under the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics.

The announcement was made during the just-concluded state visit to Vietnam by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chinese president.

It was Xi's third visit to Vietnam since he became general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and Chinese president.

Referring to Xi's visit as one bearing landmark significance, Nguyen Hoang Anh, a member of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee, said, "High-level contact is a good tradition between Vietnam and China and promotes the continuous development of bilateral ties."

A staff member moves durians from Vietnam waiting for custom clearance at the port of the Friendship Pass in Pingxiang, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Sept. 12, 2023. Pic: Xinhua/Cao Yiming.

Quoting late Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh's well-known remarks, which defined China-Vietnam relations as a bond of "camaraderie plus brotherhood," Xi said on Tuesday when meeting General Secretary of the CPV Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong that China has, as always, viewed its relations with Vietnam from a strategic and long-term perspective.

Xi urged the CPC and the CPV, as the two largest governing communist parties in the world, to grasp the special strategic significance of China-Vietnam relations and solidly advance the building of a China-Vietnam community with a shared future from the height of building the strengths of socialism in the world and ensuring the sound and sustained development of their respective socialist causes.

Xi expressed the conviction that with the joint efforts of the two sides, the China-Vietnam relationship will enter a new stage featuring greater political mutual trust, more substantive security cooperation, deeper mutually beneficial cooperation, more solid popular foundation, closer multilateral coordination and collaboration, and more proper management of differences.

In August, Trong visited a cross-border port known as the Friendship Pass and planted a "friendship tree."

Noting that the pass is the only cross-border port in the world named after the word "friendship," Trong said then that it embodies the special traditional friendship of comrades plus brothers between the Vietnamese and Chinese people.

During talks with Xi on Tuesday, Trong thanked China for placing priority on Vietnam in its neighborhood diplomacy, and stressed that Vietnam follows an independent foreign policy and takes growing the relationship with China as a top priority and a strategic choice.

Vietnam stands ready to work with China to build a community with a shared future that carries strategic significance, he said, adding that Vietnam will bolster political, economic, trade, security and people-to-people cooperation with China, and develop a paradigm of mutually beneficial cooperation.

People visit the booth of Vietnam at the 6th China International Import Expo in east China's Shanghai, Nov. 6, 2023. Pic: Xinhua/Li Mengjiao

"Over the 70-plus years of diplomatic ties, traditional friendship has witnessed continuous development," Anh said. Friendly exchanges of this kind "have strongly boosted communication and cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, culture, tourism and education in recent years."

"The two countries have become one of the most popular tourist destinations for each other," he added.

Since the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on Belt and Road cooperation in 2017, their economic and trade relations have become ever closer. China has long been Vietnam's largest trading partner, and Vietnam is China's biggest trading partner in ASEAN and the fourth largest globally. In 2022, bilateral trade between the two sides stood at 234.92 billion U.S. dollars and is expected to hit a new high this year.

"The visit will help strengthen further the alignment between the two countries' development projects, strategies and initiatives," said Joseph Matthews, a senior professor at the BELTEI International University in Phnom Penh.

Thong Mengdavid, a research supervisor at the Phnom Penh-based independent think tank the Asian Vision Institute, believes China has always shared the fruits of its peaceful development with Vietnam and other neighboring countries through global initiatives.

He said that the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative demonstrate that China's relations with its neighboring countries are at the forefront of the efforts to build a high-quality and modern community with a shared future for humankind.

A train runs on the Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban elevated railway in Hanoi, Vietnam, Dec. 9, 2023. The railway was built by the China Railway Sixth Group as an important project of the synergy of China's Belt and Road Initiative with Vietnam's ‘Two Corridors and One Economic Circle’ plan. Pic: Xinhua/Cheng Yiheng

Beyond China-Vietnam ties, Xi's visit also reflected China's aspiration to build a peaceful, prosperous, beautiful, amicable and harmonious Asian community.

"Xi's visit will add new impetus into the stable development and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and inject more certainty and stability into a turbulent world," said Tang Zhimin, director of China ASEAN Studies at the Bangkok-based Panyapiwat Institute of Management.

Vietnam and China are both socialist countries led by communist parties, and the critical consensus reached by the high-level leaders of the two parties and countries will promote the steady growth of bilateral relations, said Nguyen Tang Nghi, an International relations scholar from Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City.

Xi's visit to Vietnam shows China's great importance to Vietnam-China relations and will inject strong impetus into the further development of bilateral relations, said the scholar.