HANOI, June 11 — Vietnamese President To Lam today told Chinese ambassador to Hanoi Xiong Bo it was important that maritime disputes were managed well and each country’s interests were respected, his office said in a statement.

China is Vietnam’s largest trading partner, but the two Communist-ruled neighbours have been embroiled in a years-long maritime dispute in the South China Sea.

Lam said at a meeting in Hanoi that the countries needed to respect each other’s legitimate interests, the statement said.

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The two sides need to “actively seek satisfactory solutions in accordance with international law,” Lam said in the meeting.

On Thursday, the foreign ministry had said it was deeply concerned over the presence of a Chinese survey vessel in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone.

In today’s meeting, Lam said developing friendship and cooperation with China was Vietnam’s strategic choice and a priority in its foreign policies.

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Vietnam and China signed dozens of cooperation agreements, including on railways, during a visit to Hanoi by Chinese President Xi Jinping in December.

Lam reiterated the need to boost railway connectivity between the two countries in the meeting, and asked China to further open its market for Vietnamese farm products. — Reuters