As relations with US deteriorate, China seeks closer ties with Vietnam

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Beijing [China], July 22 (ANI): As its relations with US worsen over a range of issues, Beijing has moved to mend fences with Vietnam and other South East Asian neighbours.

South China Morning Post reported Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi sought to placate an increasingly hostile Hanoi on Tuesday in a virtual meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh.

This came a day after his deputy, Luo Zhaohui , tried to reassure China’s neighbours that it wanted regional peace and stability.

Vietnam has been one of the most vocal nations against Chinese belligerence in the region and its vast territorial claims in South China Sea.

Beijing, as per the SCMP report, also said it finalised talks on Monday for a free-trade pact with Cambodia.

China’s state run Global Times reported that the 12th meeting of the China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation was held via video link Tuesday.

Wang was quoted as saying that since the COVID-19 outbreak, China and Vietnam have given full play to their respective institutional advantages, and effectively controlled the epidemic successively.

“Talking about the South China Sea issue, Wang Yi said that China’s policy has not changed. Due to geostrategic needs, however, the United States fanned the flames everywhere to stir up tension and turmoil in the region,” reported Global Times.

“China and Vietnam should control their differences through bilateral dialogue and consultation in accordance with the consensus reached by the top leaders of the two parties and countries,” Wang was quoted as saying by Global Times.

Relations between US and China have worsened in recent times over a range of issues – from handling of COVID-19 pandemic, to Hong Kong and to Chinese aggression in South China Sea.

According to South China Morning Post, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared last week that Beijing’s claims to nearly 90 per cent of the South China Sea were “completely unlawful”.

On Tuesday, Pompeo again blasted Beijing and urged nations to push back against the Asian giant.

“The CCP’s exploitation of this disaster to further its own interests has been disgraceful. Rather than helping the world, General Secretary Xi has shown the world the party’s true face. We talked about how we have seen Hong Kong’s freedoms crushed. We have watched the CCP bully its neighbours, militarise features in the South China Sea, and instigate a deadly confrontation with India,” said Pompeo. (ANI)