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South China Sea: Vietnam seeks talks on Paracel Islands dispute

The president of Vietnam called for talks on competing claims to the South China Sea during a call with his Chinese counterpart on Tuesday, according to Vietnamese state media.

As Beijing continued military drills near the Paracel Islands – which both countries claim – Nguyen Phu Trong suggested to Xi Jinping the two countries should “work together to address their existing problems, especially on maritime issues”, according to Vietnamese communist party newspaper Nhan Dan.

The Chinese foreign ministry said the two leaders stressed the need for cooperation over conflict. Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.

Xi said relations between the two countries, and the two ruling communist parties, had reached a “new historic starting point” this year, the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two organisations.

Xi also praised communist party leadership in the two countries, saying their mutual aid during the pandemic reflected comradely and brotherly friendship.

The Nhan Dan report quoted Trong as saying bilateral ties had been through “many ups and downs” over the 70 years.

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