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SOUTH CHINA SEA

Lets patch up, China tells Vietnam (Asian Age)


Yang Jiechi

Stepping up diplomatic contacts with Vietnam in the backdrop of its row with India over ONGC’s oil exploration bid in Vietnamese blocks in South China Sea, China proposed to Hanoi to “patch up differences” saying the bilateral ties have a “brilliant prospect”.

Chinese Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi, who is currently in New York meeting a host of foreign leaders on the sidelines of UN General Assembly, met his Vietnamese counterpart, Pham Binh Minh.

“On the issue concerning the South China Sea, the two sides need to handle the relations from a strategic perspective, patch up differences, actively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and promote practical cooperation”, Chinese state-run new agency Xinhua quoted him as telling Minh. DOC proposes to settle the maritime differences bilaterally.

The meeting took place in the backdrop of strong objections raised by China over ONGC Videsh’s plan to take part in the oil exploration programme in two Vietnamese blocks, which Beijing claims as part of its maritime waters. India rebuffed China’s assertions saying that its oil exploration cooperation with Vietnam is based on international laws.

China claims the entire South China Sea as part of it which is strongly contested by a Vietnam and host of other neighbouring countries including Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines besides Taiwan.

Pham Binh Minh

During his meeting with Yang, Minh said Vietnam stands ready to work with China to enhance mutual trust and friendship between the two peoples, according to the report. Vietnam is willing to make efforts with China to properly handle the disputes over the South China Sea, he was quoted as saying.

Yang also met new Nepalese Prime Minister Babu Ram Bhattarai and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha.

In recent years, Nepal and China have established a comprehensive cooperative partnership that will carry on from generation to generation, he told the Nepalese leaders.

In order to further promote China-Nepal relations, the two sides need to maintain the momentum of high-level exchanges, enhance trade and economic cooperation, and increase people-to-people exchanges, Yang said.

The meeting assumed significance as Bhattarai regarded as a Maoist leader who followed a more balanced approach in furthering Nepal’s ties with India and China considering his party colleague Prachanda.

Yang told Bhattarai that China respects Nepal’s choice of development path based on its national condition and hopes for stability and development at an early date.

Bhattarai and Shrestha said that Nepal and China are friendly neighbours accommodating each other’s concerns. Nepal is willing to work with China to elevate bilateral ties to a new height, they said.

http://www.asianage.com/international/lets-patch-china-tells-vietnam-221

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Age: Bính Thìn
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