Agreement Reached on High-Level Sino-Vietnamese Meeting
BEIJING (AP) _ China on Thursday announced plans to hold a high-level meeting later this year with Vietnamese leaders, part of efforts to repair relations between the estranged communist governments.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wu Jianmin said agreement on the meeting was reached during Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Manh Cam’s four-day visit to Beijing. Cam departed Thursday for Guilin, a tourist spot in southern China.
″The two sides exchanged views and reached agreement on a visit to China later this year by Vietnamese leaders,″ Wu told a weekly briefing, reading from a joint communique issued on Cam’s visit.
The communique did not say who would be in the Vietnamese delegation. But Vietnam has said Communist Party chief Do Muoi plans a trip to Beijing later this year, when formal normalization of ties between the two countries is expected to take place.
While in Beijing, Cam held separate talks with Chinese Premier Li Peng and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen.
″The two sides agreed that a relationship of good-neighborliness and friendship should be restored between China and Vietnam,″ Wu said.
The Cambodian civil war has been at the center of the split between the Chinese and Vietnamese governments. China has backed the opposition factions trying to oust the Cambodian government, while Vietnam supported the government it installed in Phnom Penh.
The two countries sharply curbed exchanges after Vietnam invaded Cambodia in late 1978 and ousted the Chinese-supported Khmer Rouge. Relations worsened when China attacked across the Vietnamese border in 1979.
The two countries also clashed briefly in 1988 over the Spratly island chain in the South China Sea, which both claim.
Progress on efforts to reach a political settlement to end the Cambodian war has been closely linked with improved relations between Hanoi and Beijing.
Wu said that during Cam’s visit, China and Vietnam reiterated their support for a U.N. peace plan for Cambodia.
″Both sides expressed their readiness to continue making positive efforts to promote the definitive comprehensive political settlement of the Cambodian question on the basis of the framework documents of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and within the context of the Paris (peace) conference,″ he said.
Regarding bilateral relations, he said both countries supported restoring economic, scientific, technological, cultural and other exchanges ″with a view to gradually normalizing Sino-Vietnamese relations.″
China was an early ally of Vietnam’s communists during their fighting against France and the United States. Once in power in a united Vietnam in 1975, the communists moved closer to the Soviet Union, which at that time was estranged from China over ideological and border disputes.