• Chinese President Xi Jinping holds a welcoming ceremony for Nguyen Phu Trong.

Chinese President Xi Jinping holds a welcoming ceremony for Nguyen Phu Trong. (Photo : Xinhua)

China and Vietnam issued a polite joint communiqué on the final day in China by Nguyen Phu Trong, the visiting General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee, by declaring their intent to manage their maritime differences but without addressing China's occupation of islands in the South China Sea owned by Vietnam.

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The forward-looking statement papered over vast differences under diplomatically correct language.

"A candid exchange of views" on maritime issues led both countries to promise to seek basic and long-term solutions they can accept via negotiation. They also agreed to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea, and strive for the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct on the basis of consensus in the framework of the DOC.

Trong was in China for an official visit that lasted from Jan. 12 to 16. He met with President Xi Jinping, who is also General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

During their first meeting, Xi hailed the growth of the all-round strategic cooperative partnership between Vietnam and China, citing progress in friendship, political trust, cooperation and cultural exchanges.

As for their maritime disputes, Xi said both sides must increase communication and consolidate mutual trust to lay a solid political foundation for the settlement of disputes and work together on maritime exploration and cooperation.

Describing the two countries as "comrades and brothers," Xi said China views relations with Vietnam strategically and from a long-term perspective, and hopes the two countries will properly manage and control disputes.

That diplomatic deference was reflected in the communiqué, in which both sides agreed to manage maritime differences and avoid any acts that may complicate the situation and escalate tensions so as to safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea.

Both sides believed Tropng's visit was a great success that further enhanced political mutual trust, consolidated traditional friendship, deepened strategic partnership of comprehensive cooperation and contributed to regional peace, stability and development.