China and Vietnam today pledged to manage maritime differences over the South China Sea and safeguard peace and stability as Beijing sought to scale up bilateral ties amid Hanoi's push to forge close relations with India. China and Vietnam had "a candid exchange of views" on maritime issues, a joint communique was issued at the end of General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong's visit here. Both countries pledged to seek basic and long-term solutions that both sides can accept via negotiation and discuss transitional solutions that will not affect each other's stance including the research of joint development, it said. Both sides agreed to manage maritime differences and avoid any acts that may complicate the situation and escalate tensions so as to safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea, the joint statement said. Yesterday, during his meeting with Phu, Chinese President Xi Jinping, who also heads the ruling Communist Party of China, termed China and Vietnam as "Comrades and Brothers", highlighting fraternal ties between the two countries ruled by the Communist Parties. With regards to the South China Sea dispute, Xi said both sides should increase communication and consolidate mutual trust in order to lay a solid political foundation for the settlement of disputes and work together on maritime exploration and cooperation. Phu, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), chose China as his first foreign destination this year, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission Fan Changlong who met Vietnamese Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich said thearmies of the two countries should continue to enhance mutual trust, properly manage and control disputes, and help push the China-Vietnam all-round strategic cooperative partnership to a new level. A commentary by China's state-run Xinhua news agency said China and Vietnam are looking forward to a promising future in relations during Phu's visit. About the South China Sea dispute, the commentary saidin recent years, China and Vietnam have jointly patrolled and explored for oil in the Beibu Gulf, demarcation of which set an example for the handling of South China Sea disputes. "Success stories demonstrate that both countries are committed to shelving their maritime differences through cooperation rather than confrontation, which will yield more win-win results and larger-scale cooperation," it said. Vietnam besides Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan contest China's claims almost all of the South China Sea. Ahead of Phu's visit, Chinese state-run daily Global Times took exception to reports that India plans to sell Akash surface-to-air missile system to Hanoi. Any moves by India to step up military ties with Vietnam to counter China will create "disturbance" in the region and Beijing will not "sit with its arms crossed", an oped in the paper had said.
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