Strategic observation

Xinhua Insight: China, Vietnam forge closer, more fruitful ties

2017-11-13 20:47:18 (Beijing Time)         English.news.cn

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NANNING, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- Every day, merchant Nguyen Thi Huyen Trang travels from her home in the Vietnamese town of Mong Cai, across the border to Dongxing, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, to work at her rosewood furniture store.

She opened the store two years ago. Previously, she purchased lamps from China and sold them in Vietnam.

"Transportation is convenient; trade is vibrant. We benefit directly from interconnectivity. On Chinese holidays, our business is extremely busy," Trang said in her shop in Dongxing, a county-level city in Guangxi.

The two countries are set to strive for closer and more fruitful ties as their leaders agreed to continuously boost the China-Vietnam comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership to bring more benefits to the two peoples, at a meeting in Hanoi Sunday.

Both sides also pledged to implement cooperation documents related to the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Vietnam's "Two Corridors and One Economic Circle" plan, to promote regional economic links and connectivity, and push forward the construction of cross-border economic cooperation zones.

Improved infrastructure is already delivering benefits.

The new Beilun River bridge, which connects Dongxing and Mong Cai, was completed in September after a three-year construction period. Three kilometers downstream from the previous bridge, it was built to meet the growing demand of bilateral trade and personnel exchange.

Like Trang, thousands of people do business at the border area in Dongxing.

The number of people who passed through the Dongxing border crossing reached a record high of 8 million from January to early November, up 40 percent year on year, largely boosted by tourism and business.

"In the second half of this year, seafood and nuts imported from Vietnam are selling well. We are busy every day," said Tan Xiangwu, a Dongxing resident who began cross-border trade three years ago, and has since encouraged his family to join the business.

Also in September, a new freight route connected China's Friendship Pass in Pingxiang, also in Guangxi, which is China's major land port for fruit trade, with Vietnam's Huu Nghi border crossing. Some 45,000 trucks have crossed the border via the new route, up 32 percent year on year.

The Pingxiang Integrated Free Trade Zone, which began operation in 2011, has attracted 189 Chinese companies and three Vietnamese firms. In the first nine months of this year, the zone's foreign trade grew 23 percent year on year to reach 13.6 billion U.S. dollars.

Bilateral trade has seen stable growth in the past few years, reaching almost 100 billion dollars last year. China has been Vietnam's biggest trading partner for 13 years, while Vietnam is China's largest trading partner among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Last month, a trade zone opened in Jingxi, Guangxi, offering more convenient customs services for border residents.

Phung Thi Hue with the Institute of Chinese Studies of Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences said Southeast Asian countries have greatly benefited from their participation in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Vietnam-China cooperation is increasingly closer thanks to the implementation of the initiative, said the Vietnamese researcher at the 10th China-ASEAN Think Tank Strategic Dialogue Forum held in Nanning, capital of Guangxi, last week.