BEIJING, June 19 -- Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi's visit to Vietnam shows China's sincerity in tackling the maritime issue, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Thursday.
"The visit shows the great importance China attaches to its ties with Vietnam and the country's sincerity in addressing the current maritime issue through communication," Hua Chunying said at a daily press briefing.
Yang and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on Wednesday attended the annual China-Vietnam Steering Committee on Cooperation in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Yang also met with Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
Both sides believed the meetings were "candid and constructive," Hua said, stressing the two countries underscored their commitment to developing all-round strategic partnership.
The two countries should work together to suppress interference,overcome difficulties and push forward bilateral relations along the right track.
For the current maritime issue, the two sides agreed to stick to bilateral communications, try to find solutions through political and diplomatic efforts, and avoid blowing it out of proportion, she said.
The relationship has been strained recently due to Vietnam continuously and illegally disturbing oil rig operations around the Xisha Islands, she said, stressing the Xisha Islands were China's inherent territory, free of any dispute.
Oil exploration by a Chinese company in sea areas around the islands is a natural continuation of exploration activities that have taken place for a decade, which was completely legal, reasonable and sensible, according to her.
China would take all necessary measures to protect national sovereignty and maritime rights, as well as ensuring the safe and smooth running of the oil exploration, she said.