VN, China build a stronger partnership
National flag: Red with a large yellow five-pointed star and four smaller five-pointed stars in the upper hoist-side corner. Viet Nam News spoke with Chinese Ambassador to Viet Nam Qi Jianguo on the occasion of China’s National Day today.
What is the significance to China of this year’s National Day?
Over the past half century, with the arduous work of all people in China, China has turned from a poor and backward country into an increasingly thriving and prosperous nation. In particular, after the adoption of reform and opening-up policy 27 years ago, the GDP of China has registered an average growth rate of 9.4 per cent annually while annual foreign trade volume jumped to third and foreign reserves held the position of second in the world for many years, national strength enhanced and our status in the international arena elevated. The national day this year has particular meaning to China. Currently, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China with Hu Jintao as the General Secretary, the Chinese people are going all out for the accomplishment of the first five-year plan in the new century. I believe with the joint effort of all people, China will achieve its exciting goals.
China and Viet Nam have gone quite a long way in bilateral relations in the last decades. On this occasion, could you comment on the course of that relationship?
China and Viet Nam are close neighbours connected by mountains and rivers. The tradition of friendship between the two countries dates back through a long history. At the turn of the century, the General Secretaries of the two Parties (CPC and CPV) formulated guidelines of long-term stability, orientation towards the future, good neighbourliness and friendship, and comprehensive co-operation to direct the development of relations between the two countries. The Treaty of Land Boundary, the Agreement on Demarcation of the Bac Bo (Tonkin) Gulf and the Agreement on Fisheries Co-operation in the Bac Bo (Tonkin) Gulf have been signed between the two countries, marking a new stage in bilateral relations between China and Viet Nam.
This year marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Viet Nam. We are glad to see that breakthroughs have been made in the good neighbours relationship and all-round co-operative relations between the two countries. First, the leaders of the two countries have maintained constant contact. Following the exchange of visits of the Prime Ministers of the two countries last year, President Tran Duc Luong paid a successful visit to China in July this year. President Hu Jintao, General Secretary of CPC and President of China, will pay an official friendship visit to Viet Nam shortly.
Second, co-operative relations between vital ministries and departments of the two countries are increasingly enhanced. Co-operation mechanisms have been established between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of National Defence and Ministry of State Security of both countries.
Third, the trade ties between China and Viet Nam are expanding. According to the statistics of Vietnamese Customs, trade volume between Viet Nam and China reached US$7.2 billion in 2004, and China has become the largest trade partner of Viet Nam.
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Area: 9.59 million sq.km
Fourth, the process of setting up the border stones along the land boundary has been going smoothly; the Demarcation Agreement of the Bac Bo (Tonkin) Gulf and the Fisheries Co-operation Agreement between the two countries have been incrementally implemented, and joint patrol of the two navies in the Bac Bo (Tonkin) Gulf is expected to be launched before the end of this year.
We believe with concerted efforts from both sides the friendship and good neighbours relationship, and all-round co-operative relations between China and Viet Nam, will be promoted to more and greater heights.
How do you interpret recent changes in Viet Nam? Are they the sort of issues China has faced during its reforms?
In the new century, Viet Nam has achieved remarkable accomplishments with the economy growing continuously and rapidly, political and social stability maintained, living conditions of the people improved and the position in the international arena uplifted.
As Viet Nam has done, China has also made spectacular achievements over the past five years with annual GDP growing at an average rate of over 9 per cent, trade volume ranking third last year and foreign reserves remaining second in the world.
China and Viet Nam have lots in common, sharing the same ideas and similar national conditions, as well as the same tasks of developing their economies and deepening reforms. Both have plenty to exchange and to learn from each other. With the efforts of both peoples, the two countries will realise their ultimate goals.
Viet Nam and China are striving to enhance trade and economic co-operation, aiming to achieve $10 billion in two-way trade by 2007-08 and $15 billion by 2010. Do you think we can achieve these goals?
Over the past five years, notable progress has been made in the economic and trade ties between China and Viet Nam. The trade volume between the two countries has tripled, and China has become the largest trade partner of Viet Nam. For the first seven months this year, trade volume between China and Viet Nam climbed to $4.47 billion, an increase of 24.3 per cent over the same period last year, which seems to put the target of $8 billion for the whole year within reach. We believe the target of $10 billion in trade between the two countries by the year 2007-08 and $15 billion by 2010 can be met ahead of schedule.
Is there room to enhance cultural exchanges in light of the fact that a number of Vietnamese youth are very fond of learning to speak Chinese and learn more about Chinese culture? And what in Vietnamese culture impresses you most?
China and Viet Nam share a similar culture and there is great potential for cultural co-operation between the two countries. To deepen the cultural co-operation, I suggest the two countries should co-operate in the following aspects.
First, both countries should conduct multi-level and multi-channel exchanges to strengthen diversified co-operation in the sectors of culture, education and sports.
Second, various workshops and seminars should be held to conduct in-depth exchanges and to boost the level of cultural exchange and co-operation.
Third, the exchange among universities and human resource training co-operation between the two countries should be enhanced to enrich the content of educational co-operation between the two countries.
Vietnamese culture has made a deep impression upon me. The elegant melody of the Bac Ninh folk songs, the unique water puppets and colourful ballads and folk customs are all unforgettable to me. — VNS
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