In 2013, the comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation between the People's Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam grew steadily with increasing practical cooperation in various fields.
The two countries witnessed frequent high-level exchanges. In March, at the invitation of General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Viet Nam (CPV) Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation with him, during which General Secretary Xi stressed the need to further consolidate and develop the relations between the two parties and two countries. In September, Premier Li Keqiang met with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung when attending the 10th China- ASEAN Expo in Nanning, Guangxi. In October, Premier Li Keqiang paid an official visit to Viet Nam, where he met with CPV General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, President Truong Tan Sang and National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung and had talks with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. The two sides agreed to have a firm grasp on the course of bilateral relations in the new era, fully promote practical cooperation in various fields along the three main lines, i.e, sea, land and finance, and set up three important mechanisms for the implementation, namely, Working Group for Consultation on Maritime Joint Development, Working Group for Cooperation in Infrastructure and Working Group for Financial Cooperation. The two sides issued the Joint Statement on Deepening the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Cooperation Between China and Viet Nam in the New Era and signed cooperation documents on building cross-border economic cooperation zones, setting up trade promotion agencies in each other's country and conducting maritime cooperation in less sensitive areas. In November, Vice President Li Yuanchao met with Nguyen Thien Nhan, member of the Political Bureau of the CPV Central Committee and Chairman of the Fatherland Front, who was in China for the Second Festival between Chinese and Viet Namese Youth. In May, State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan jointly chaired the sixth meeting of the China-Viet Nam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation and reached extensive consensus on promoting practical cooperation in various fields. In May, CPPCC Vice Chairman Edmund Ho visited Viet Nam. In December, CPPCC Vice Chairman and Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee Wang Jiarui visited Viet Nam. In November, CPPCC Vice Chairman Liu Xiaofeng visited Viet Nam. In August, Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Viet Nam and exchanged views with Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on the bilateral relations, cooperation between the two foreign ministries and issues of common interest.
In June, President Truong Tan Sang paid a state visit to China. During his visit, President Xi Jinping had talks with him, and Premier Li Keqiang and NPC Chairman Zhang Dejiang met with him respectively. The two sides issued a Joint Statement and signed the Action Plan for the Implementation of China-Viet Nam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Cooperation as well as cooperation documents covering the fields of national defense, fishery, quality inspection, culture and oil and gas. In June, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh attended the first China-South Asia Expo and the 21st China Kunming Export and Import Fair in China.
Economic and trade cooperation progressed smoothly. Bilateral trade volume grew steadily and China was Viet Nam's largest trading partner for ten consecutive years. The two countries would set up a Working Group for Cooperation in Infrastructure to make overall plans and provide guidance for implementing connectivity projects such as Lang Son-Hanoi Highway, Mong Cai-Ha Long Highway and Lao Cai-Hanoi-Hai Phong railway. The two sides were working on projects such as cross-border economic cooperation zones and cross-border bridges. The two central banks were preparing for a Working Group for Financial Cooperation to jointly tackle financial risks and provide financing support for bilateral economic and trade cooperation.
Exchanges and cooperation in other areas and at the local level continued to deepen. The two political parties kept the good momentum of exchanges and successfully held the Ninth Theory Symposium. The two militaries had close exchanges. They signed the Agreement on Cooperation in Border Defense between the Ministries of Defense of China and Viet Nam and held the seventh Defense and Security Consultation. The two navies have so far carried out 16 joint patrols in Beibu Gulf and had mutual visits by vessels and joint maritime search and rescue operations while carrying out the joint patrols. Cultural and educational departments of the two countries signed cooperation agreements. People-to-people exchanges were dynamic. The two sides successfully held the Second Festival between Chinese and Viet Namese Youth in Nanning in November. Cooperation mechanisms between China's Guangxi and Yunnan provinces and Viet Nam's northern provinces functioned well and practical cooperation in business and tourism further deepened.
Positive progress was made in boundary negotiations. The heads of boundary negotiation teams of the two governments met several times for in-depth exchange of views on ways to appropriately address the disputes over the South China Sea. The two sides established the Working Group for Consultation on Maritime Joint Development and held the first meeting between its heads. The Experts' Working Group for Maritime Cooperation in Less Sensitive Areas and the Working Group for the Open Seas of the Mouth of Beibu Gulf held two rounds of consultation respectively. The two sides agreed to carry out joint inspections on the open seas of the mouth of Beibu Gulf and signed two cooperation documents on maritime cooperation in less sensitive areas, namely, research on cooperation in the management of marine environment in Beibu Gulf and the environment of its islands, and comparative research on the evolution of sedimentation during the Holocene in the waters of Red River Delta and Yangtze River Delta. The two sides also agreed to continue to advance cooperation in areas such as marine environmental protection, marine scientific research, maritime search and rescue, disaster prevention and mitigation and maritime connectivity.