Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Vietnam on Tuesday for the first time in six years, for a two-day state visit aimed at countering growing US influence in the Southeast Asian country.
Xi met with Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party leader Nguyen Phu Trong on the first day of his visit.
China and Vietnam said in a joint statement that they would “continue to deepen and expand their bilateral relations.” They agreed to build “a community with a common future” adding that this visit was “a historic step in bilateral relations (…) contributing to peace, stability and development in this region and in the world “.
More than 30 agreements have been signed, including a commitment to develop rail links between Vietnam and China.
One way for China to react after the September visit of the American president to Vietnam which strengthened diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Biden’s visit was part of the United States’ global campaign to contain China’s growing economic power and secure supplies of critical materials needed for its high-tech industry.
Upon his arrival at Hanoi airport, Xi said he would hold talks with Vietnamese leaders on “overall and strategic issues and the direction of the bilateral relationship, as well as international and regional issues.” of common interest, in order to take our relationship to the next level,” according to Chinese state media.
- Bamboo diplomacy –
Vietnam has long favored “bamboo diplomacy,” a flexible policy striving to stay on good terms with both powers.
It shares U.S. concerns about Beijing’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea, but it also maintains close economic ties with China, with which it shares a common border and which is also ruled by a communist party. .
Hanoi and Beijing already share a comprehensive strategic partnership, Vietnam’s highest diplomatic status. Vietnam and the United States reached this same level in September.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the visit will focus on “strengthening Sino-Vietnamese relations.”
Mr. Xi could thus push for Vietnam to join his “Community of Common Destiny,” a vaguely defined term that refers to a vision of future cooperation in economics, security and politics.
In an article published Tuesday in the Vietnamese newspaper Nhan Dan, Xi Jinping said that “Asia’s future is in the hands of no one but Asians.”
The Chinese leader’s travel agenda includes “politics, security, practical cooperation, public opinion formation, multilateral issues and maritime issues”, he said.
On Tuesday morning, Chinese and Vietnamese flags lined the route Xi will take from the airport to the presidential palace, where he will receive the 21-gun salute.
A few dozen people waving flags gathered outside the JW Marriott hotel where Xi is expected to stay.
- Tensions in the China Sea –
On Wednesday, the Chinese leader will meet with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and President Vo Van Thuong, and visit the mausoleum of revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh.
This visit comes against a backdrop of high tensions between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea, after clashes between the two countries’ ships on the reefs in recent days.
Manila said it summoned the Chinese ambassador on Monday and raised the possibility of expelling him.
Vietnam, like Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan, also has claims in the South China Sea competing with those of Beijing.
Over the past decade, China has stepped up land reclamation in the South China Sea, creating militarized islands with airstrips, ports and radar systems.
During Biden’s visit, Vietnam and the United States warned in a joint statement against “threats or use of force” in the South China Sea.
Hanoi said it was upset by the publication, in September, of a new official Chinese map showing its sovereignty over almost the entire navigation zone which constitutes an essential artery of world trade.
Like Joe Biden in September, Xi Jinping could seek closer cooperation on rare earth minerals used in the high-tech industry, according to analysts.
Vietnamese state-controlled media reported last month that Chinese company China Rare Earth Group was seeking a collaboration with Vietnamese mining giant Vinacomin.
This article is originally published on .msn.com