Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced that China will donate Vietnam an additional three million Covid-19 vaccine doses when he met Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi on Friday afternoon [September 10].
|Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh in Hanoi on Sept 10. Photos: MoFA|
Vietnam is one of the destinations in Wang Yi’s Asia tour include Cambodia, Singapore, and South Korea.
The committed volume will lift the Chinese donations to 5.7 million.
In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam and China agreed to resume commerce flights when it is possible, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).
Shortly after the reception, the two senior officials attended the 13th meeting of the Vietnam-China Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation that covers a wide range of issues namely trade, upgrading border gates, investment, territorial and maritime issues, high-ranking exchange visits.
Pham Binh Minh and Wang Yi discussed issues related to trade imbalance with Vietnam’s increasing trade deficit, Vietnam’s exports being stuck at border gates, and efforts to upgrade border gates for better circulation of goods.
China is expected to invest in projects using advanced technologies and environmentally-friend fields, actively tackle problems at Cat Linh-Ha Dong railway, and speed up disbursement of Chinese refundable aid.
They agreed to hold more high-ranking exchange visits and promote multisectoral cooperation as well as people-to-people ties.
According to MoFA, the two sides “frankly and openly” exchanged views on territorial and maritime issues with utmost restraint to avoid escalating tensions and maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea (called East Sea by Vietnam), to promote the delimitation and joint fishing in the Tonkin Gulf.
Minh emphasized the need to respect the rights and interests of each other that are in line with international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.
At the meeting, they signed an agreement on Chinese refundable aid, an MoU on cooperation plan for 2021-2025 between the two countries’ trade ministries, an MoU on setting up a joint group to facilitate the bilateral trade, and launched a project on sediment studies in Red River basin and Yangtze River basin.
China has remained Vietnam’s largest trade partner. In 2020, Vietnam is China’s 4th largest trade partner.
|The two sides inked some agreements.|
Commenting on Wang Yi’s three-day visit to Vietnam, Carl Thayer, Emeritus Professor at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Canberra told The Hanoi Times that Wang Yi’s visit demonstrates Vietnam’s policy of being “a reliable partner to all” is working well. No doubt Wang Yi will receive the same message Vietnam’s leaders conveyed to Vice President Harris: Vietnam will follow a foreign policy of “independence, self-reliance, and diversification and multilateralization of relations.”
The agenda between Wang Yi and his Vietnamese counterpart is likely to include: multifaceted cooperation in combating the Covid-19 pandemic, comprising the offer of more vaccines and joint efforts to recover from the pandemic; economic issues, future development cooperation including linking Xi Jin-ping’s Belt and Road Initiative with Vietnam’s Two Corridors and One Circle, the East Sea (South China Sea) dispute and the crisis in Myanmar.
Wang Yi’s visit raises the possibility of future high-level visits between party and state leaders, Prof. Thayer noted.