Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc's ongoing six-day visit to China, the first since he entered that office in July, sends an encouraging signal that the two countries are determined to keep their relations on the track of stable and smooth development despite the maritime disputes between them in the South China Sea.
China has always insisted that the shared interests between the two countries far outweigh their differences, and has worked to seek common ground and manage disputes through dialogues and consultations in a spirit of mutual respect. Only by doing so can the two countries boost their comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
Hanoi is showing it shares this sentiment.
There have been suggestions that Vietnam was willing to be used as a pawn by the United States and Japan in their efforts to contain China, as supposedly evidenced by the US lifting its arms embargo on Vietnam in May and Japan's plan to equip the country with new patrol ships.
But during his stay in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, to attend the 13th China-Asean Expo, Phuc stressed that strengthening friendship with China is a "leading priority" for Vietnam's foreign policy.
He also expressed the wish that the two countries work together to effectively control the disputes, so as to maintain peace and stability in the region.
Dwelling on the maritime disputes serves neither side any good. Rather, it risks giving rise to the dangers of extreme nationalism in both countries.
The bilateral relationship of "good neighbours, good friends, good comrades and good partners" has been developed over decades.
And for 12 years in a row China has remained Vietnam's largest trading partner, while Vietnam overtook Malaysia to be China's largest trading nation among the members of the Asean in the first half of this year.
Bilateral trade may reach US$100 billion (S$136 billion) this year, achieving the goal set by leaders of both countries one year in advance.
As developing countries, both face the task of growing their economies and improving their people's livelihood. Vietnam, in particular, needs to invest heavily in infrastructure, which China has the experience, expertise and capital to help it with.
A foreign policy of "independence, multilateralisation and diversification", as Phuc described his country's diplomacy, will help realize the bright prospects for trade and economic cooperation that will serve as a cornerstone for further strengthening bilateral ties.
China Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 21 newspapers.