by Xinhua writer Wang Lei
BEIJING, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- As China and Vietnam mark the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic ties, the two close neighbors and long-time friends are expected to embrace a bright future marked by deeper mutual trust and a growing cooperative partnership.
Sharing a "comradely and brotherly" friendship and broad common interests in development, China and Vietnam have made notable strides in promoting mutual understanding between the two peoples and strengthening bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperation in many fields from economy to culture.
The two countries have also maintained frequent high-level contacts. Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, and General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong of the Communist Party of Vietnam exchanged visits in 2015 and 2017, and jointly created a blueprint for stronger relations.
Nguyen Xuan Phuc also visited China several times as Vietnamese prime minister and attended the first China International Import Expo as well as the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, showing the country's firm support for China's efforts in building a more open and connected world.
Thanks to the guidance of the leaders, the China-Vietnam relationship has been enjoying a sound momentum of growth since its normalization. China has been, for more than a decade, the largest trading partner of Vietnam, while Vietnam is China's biggest trading partner in Southeast Asia.
In 2018, the two-way trade value climbed to nearly 150 billion U.S. dollars with an increase of over 20 percent, according to China's Ministry of Commerce. China has also been Vietnam's major source of foreign tourists.
As Beijing-Hanoi ties enter a new decade and the world is undergoing profound changes, the two sides, with similar political systems and growing complementarity in economic development, are both at a critical moment of reform and development.
In this regard, China and Vietnam need to seize this opportunity and work together to follow the agreements reached by the two countries' leaders to make sure their relations stay on the right track.
In his phone conversation with Trong, who is also the Vietnamese president, ahead of the 70th anniversary of China-Vietnam ties, Xi called on the two sides to continuously consolidate political mutual trust, carry forward the long-standing friendship, and strengthen the foundation of bilateral ties.
Looking ahead, pragmatic cooperation is promising. With the better alignment of their development initiatives, namely the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Vietnam's "Two Corridors and One Economic Circle" plan, the potential in their mutually beneficial cooperation will be further unleashed.
Although the two countries have differences over some issues, they should always settle their disputes via dialogue and properly manage their differences in a peaceful way.
This year, Vietnam holds the rotating presidency of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It provides a chance for the two countries to advance all-round cooperation and boost their ties within the China-ASEAN (10+1) framework and other mechanisms.
As long as the two countries remain committed and make concerted efforts, a vibrant China-Vietnam relationship will benefit the peoples of both nations and contribute to peace and development in the region and the rest of the world.