(Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping told the visiting head of Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party on Tuesday that the two countries must manage their dispute over the South China Sea well to maintain peace and stability, state media reported.
Communist parties rule both countries and trade has swelled to $50 billion annually, but Vietnam has long been suspicious of its giant neighbor, especially over Beijing’s increasingly assertive claims to almost the entire South China Sea.
Anti-Chinese violence flared in Vietnam last year after a $1-billion deepwater rig owned by China’s state-run CNOOC oil company was parked 240 km (150 miles) off the coast of Vietnam in the South China Sea.
Since then, however, China has sought to make amends with Vietnam, including sending senior officials to Hanoi.
Meeting in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, Xi told Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of Vietnam’s Communist Party, that cooperation was good for the two countries, the China News Service reported.