Vietnam, China agree to solve sea issue with peaceful talks

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Vietnamese and Chinese leaders agreed at a meeting on Saturday that the East Sea territorial disputes will be solved through peaceful talks.

Vietnam's President Truong Tan Sang and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao met in Honolulu, Hawaii, on the sidelines of the APEC Leaders' Week.

At the meeting, Sang called on the two countries to respect the principles and international laws that guide the settlement of sea-related issues, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).

Vietnam and China last month signed an agreement setting out a basic legal framework for negotiating and solving sea disputes between the two countries.

The two countries' leaders have recently admitted that the East Sea issue is a very sensitive and complicated one as it relates to national sovereignty. However, they have stressed that it is an issue that can be "totally solved."

During their talk in Honolulu, Hu Jintao affirmed that China always attaches special importance to relations with Vietnam and is eager to move the two countries' strategic partnership to a new level, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

Sang and Hu both agreed to increase the frequency of visits by high-ranking leaders, as well as to boost economic-trade cooperation as effectively and practically as possible.

The two nations also will organize more people-to-people exchanges at both central and local levels, especially trips that involve socio-political organizations and youth initiatives, they said.

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The two leaders agreed to remain in close communication for the duration of the APEC meeting to ensure that the legitimate interests of developing countries were represented in regional and global economic policy, according to the Vietnam News Agency.

The same day, Sang met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, and the two leaders expressed joy over the solid development of the Vietnam-Russia strategic partnership in recent years.

Sang said that great potential for cooperation still exists, and he encouraged Russia to speed up progress on large-scale projects in Vietnam, especially in the energy and military sectors.

The two sides should work together to make the Ninh Thuan 1 nuclear power plant a symbol of the cooperation between the two countries, he stressed.

Sang also met with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and said he was pleased with the development of bilateral ties, especially in investment, trade, education-training and defense-security.

Trans-Pacific Partnership

On Saturday, leaders of Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam jointly issued a statement regarding the broad outlines of a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

TPP leaders endorsed the Trade Ministers' report on the TPP agreement the same day, according to the Vietnam News Agency.

"Our teams have held nine rounds of negotiations, and we are pleased to report that they have established the broad outlines of a forward-thinking, transformative agreement that will further elevate our trade and investment relationships, and create the foundation for a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific region. If pursued correctly, this agreement would support jobs, economic growth, and higher living standards in our countries," the report stated.

The agreement included comprehensive market access, regional consensus, cross-cutting trade issues, new trade challenges and living agreement. These five elements are defining features of the deal and are expected to set a new standard for trade agreements in the future.

China has voiced its opposition to the TPP, saying it was "too ambitious." An expert who requested anonymity told Thanh Nien that China wanted to maintain its position in the region and was concerned about US statements to intervene in the Asia-Pacific region.

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