An official welcome ceremony for the delegation was held in Hanoi on April 25 by the Vietnamese Minister of National Defense, Sen. Lt. Gen. Phan Van Giang.

Vietnamese Minister of National Defense Sen. Lt. Gen. Phan Van Giang (right) welcomes his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe.
Sen. Lt. Gen. Wei Fenghe (second from left) and Sen. Lt. Gen. Phan Van Giang review the Guard of Honor of the Vietnam People's Army.

Speaking at the talks after the welcome ceremony, General Giang lauded the Chinese minister’s visit, saying that it shows the special attention of the Chinese Party, Government and Ministry of National Defense to promoting the sound traditional friendship between the two Parties and States as well as the two Ministries of National Defense in particular, for the interest of both peoples and peace, stability, cooperation and development in each country as well as in the region and the world.

He congratulated China on the successful organisation of the meetings of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, as well as the country’s announcement of the completion of the first 100-year-goal and the launching of the first year of the 14th five-year plan, laying the foundation for the second 100-year-goal.

General Giang briefed the guest on the success of the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), underlining that the Party, State, Government and military of Vietnam always attach great importance to the reinforcement of traditional friendship and comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership with China, considering it as one of the top priorities in Vietnam’s foreign policy.

For his part, Minister Wei Fenghe affirmed that defense cooperation between the two countries is one of the important pillars, contributing to the enhancement of the friendship and partnership between the two Parties and States, for the benefits of people in both countries and for peace, cooperation and development in each country as well as in the region and the world.

The two delegations at the talks.

Both sides agreed that the year of 2020 witnessed complicated developments in the world and regional situation with great risks of instability, creating new challenges to the trend of peace, cooperation and development and greatly impacting the security and development environment of all countries.

They spoke highly of the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2020, noting that through online meetings amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the bloc gave many initiatives to strengthen cooperation and successfully organise major events for the year.

In the defense area, dialogue mechanisms were maintained, helping to promote trust building, maintaining a peaceful and stable environment in the region, with outstanding events including the ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus and the 7th ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting.

On the occasion, Giang thanked China for supporting Vietnam in performing the role of ASEAN Chair in 2020 as well as in the defense channel in particular.

Over the past 70 years since the two countries set up their diplomatic relations, despite ups and downs, the friendship and cooperation have been the mainstream in the relationship between the two Parties and countries, the minister said.

The consistent viewpoint of the Party, State and army of Vietnam is to build the long-lasting, stable and trustworthy friendship and comprehensive cooperation with China, he stated, adding that Vietnam always remembers the helpful support that the Chinese Party, Government and people have given to Vietnam during the past struggle for national liberation and reunification and the current process of national reform.

Lauding the efficient defense collaboration between Vietnam and China over the past years, the two ministers agreed that the cooperation has been expanded through diverse forms and become more practical. Despite impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides have still maintained flexible and effective exchanges, they noted.

They held that in the future, the two sides should continue to implement cooperation spheres included in the signed agreements, especially the Statement on the joint vision on defense cooperation to 2025 between the two Defense Ministries, focusing on the effective implementation of existing exchange and collaboration mechanisms, especially the defense strategy dialogue at the deputy minister level, and the Vietnam-China border defense friendship exchange, as well as Party and political activities, and collaboration among armed forces, academies and schools.

As COVID-19 has yet to be completely controlled, the two sides should actively promote the efficiency of phone talks and online conferences to maintain discussions, they said.

Both sides also frankly exchanged views on a number of existing problems in the bilateral relations. The Vietnamese minister affirmed Vietnam’s persistent stance of settling all disputes through peaceful measures on the basis of respecting each other's legitimate rights and interests in line with international law, especially the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), as well as the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), while well controlling disputes at sea and not complicating the situation, and not using force. 

Following the talks, the two ministers witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the formation of relations between friendly units in international defense cooperation between the two ministries.

* The same day, General Ngo Xuan Lich, former Deputy Secretary of the Central Military Commission, former Politburo member and former Minister of National Defense, hosted a reception for Chinese State Councillor and Minister of National Defense Sen. Lt. Gen. Wei Fenghe.

Translated by Trung Thanh and VNA