18:28 GMT16 April 2021
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    Beijing and Hanoi agreed on the settlement of the South China Sea dispute through negotiations, avoiding any escalation of the conflict, during the visit of Vietnam’s leader Nguyen Phu Trong to China.

    BEIJING (Sputnik) — Japan and Vietnam also agreed to fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea [between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members, including Vietnam] and China, according to the joint communique, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

    On Thursday, Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of Vietnam's ruling Communist Party, arrived in China at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss a number of issues with the Chinese officials.

    The South China Sea dispute revolves around the the Spratly Islands, which are believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves. Beijing’s territorial claims to the Spratly Islands run counter to those of the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam. The dispute has been scaled down after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte played down the country's concerns over Chinese artificial islands amid warming relations between the countries.

    Beijing and Hanoi have a long history of relations. The two Asian nations established diplomatic ties in 1950. Despite the fact that their relations have been overshadowed by a military conflict in 1979, both China and Vietnam are now taking steps to improve ties in a number of spheres, including defense and economy.

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