Leaders say sea issues should not affect Vietnam-China relations

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Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao agreed that the two countries must not let East Sea issues affect their relationship, Vietnam News Agency reported Friday.

During their September 7 meeting in Vladivostok, Russia, on the occasion of the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference, the two leaders also agreed that the issues need to be solved through peaceful measures and negotiations.

Sang was quoted as saying that the two parties need to strictly conform to the ground rules on solving sea issues signed by the two countries last October.

Every dispute and newly emerged issue must be solved through peaceful negotiations, and in accordance with international laws, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the Declaration on Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea, he said.

According to the news agency, Sang and Hu also reached agreements on many key measures to improve relations between China and Vietnam in the future like more visits and meetings between their leaders, as well as cooperation in various fields like trade.

To continuously improve and fortify the friendship between Vietnam and China is a consistent, long-lasting and strategic policy of Vietnam, Sang told his counterpart.

Hu said China appreciated the relationship and that he was happy about the countries' efforts to improve it in recent years, the news agency reported.

In other related news, Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs' spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi on Friday told a press conference that Vietnam objected to several Taiwanese officials planting flags and claiming sovereignty over the Ban Than Reef, which belongs to Vietnam's Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago.

"It is a serious violation of Vietnam's sovereignty over Truong Sa, intensifying and complicating the East Sea's situation," Nghi said.

Taiwan needs to stop its wrongful actions and refrain from taking any further action that could complicate the situation at Truong Sa, according to the spokesman.

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