- China and Vietnam released a joint statement saying that they would work together to maintain “peace and stability” in the South China Sea.
- Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong in Hanoi after the disputed waterway was widely discussed at the ASEAN summit over the weekend.
- Both nations had clashes at sea in recent years, with China claiming ownership of almost all of the South China Sea.
China and Vietnam released a joint statement on Monday, saying that they have reached a “consensus” over disputed areas in the South China Sea.
Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong during a state visit to Hanoi on Sunday to discuss the countries bilateral relations and maritime issues. Both leaders attended the ASEAN conference over the weekend, where the issue of the South China Sea was widely discussed.
China’s version of the joint press release states that the two sides “exchanged views” on policies regarding the South China Sea, and “unanimously agreed” to continue joint efforts to create stability in the region.
“The two will take the initiative to manage differences at sea rather than complicate the situation and expand controversies. We must maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea,” the statement read.
Both sides said they would implement the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), which states that any parties with claims to areas in the South China Sea should maintain peaceful coexistence and should govern the area based on international law.
According to the statement, Vietnam also reiterated its support of the controversial “One-China policy,” and said it does not maintain relations with Taiwan.
China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, one of the world’s busiest waterways. Taiwan and four ASEAN nations — Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Brunei — have competing claims.
Vietnam and China had several clashes at sea in recent years over the disputed waters.
China had a standoff with Vietnam in 2014, after they dragged an oil rig into waters claimed by Vietnam. Beijing temporarily withdrew the vessel several months later following international outcry. China has gradually built up infrastructure in the South China Sea artificial islands and has increased its military presence there, which has ignited tensions among regional players.
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