As Chinese President Xi Jinping kicks off a landmark state visit to Vietnam on Thursday, the time is ripe for the two countries to inject more practical substance into their "comradely and brotherly" friendship.
After a wave of tensions caused by their South China Sea row, China and Vietnam are walking out of the woods. Xi's trip, indicative of the strategic acumen of both Beijing and Hanoi, is set to infuse more vigor and faith into the comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.
During his two-day stay, Xi will meet with Vietnamese leaders, including General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, and National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung, and chart with them the future course of bilateral relations.
The two sides are also expected to sign over 10 cooperation agreements covering such areas as party-to-party interaction, infrastructure, production capacity, trade, investment and people-to-people exchanges.
The tight yet promising schedule reflects the positive momentum that has been building up in China-Vietnam ties of late. Given that their dispute over the sovereignty of some South China Sea islands has yet to be solved, the progress bears witness to the two neighbors' will and ability to properly manage their differences.
Therefore, Beijing and Hanoi should never shake their confidence in face of any noises pouring cold water on or even slinging mud at their partnership. Yet nor should they allow such parochial and ill-intended views to go unchecked and mislead the public opinion towards the unfathomable abyss of confrontation.
As Nguyen Phu Trong said during his visit to China this April, Vietnam, taking its partnership with China as "a priority" of its foreign policy, will work with China to "find out a solution acceptable to both sides to maintain the peace and stability."
As regards Vietnam's trade deficit with China, another excuse used by some Vietnamese to smear bilateral trade and economic cooperation, the truth is that the imbalance is due to their different industrial chains and foreign trade structures. As Vietnam's biggest trading partner for 11 years, China never intends to seek surplus.
Meanwhile, China is sparing no efforts to link its Belt and Road Initiative with Vietnam's development strategy of "Two Corridors and One Economic Circle," and the two sides have also agreed to boost cooperation simultaneously on the maritime, onshore and financial tracks. Such endeavors will not only optimize the structure of bilateral economic intertwinement but bring real benefits to the two peoples.
Thus the two countries should seize the opportunities presented by Xi's visit and, by giving full play to their political wisdom, complementary economic advantages and diplomatic expertise, boost mutual understanding and trust, promote win-win practical cooperation, and consolidate the public foundation for bilateral relations.
In so doing, they will constructively address all outstanding problems in their relations, and keep their partnership sailing forward in the right direction towards more win-win results.