China and Vietnam will manage and properly control their maritime disputes, avoiding actions to complicate or widen them, so as to maintain peace in the East Vietnam Sea, the two nations said in a joint communique China released on Monday.
Vietnam is the Southeast Asian country most openly at odds with China over the waterway since the Philippines pulled back from confrontation under President Rodrigo Duterte.
After what China said were "positive" talks on the East Vietnam Sea last week between President Xi Jinping and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, the joint statement stressed the need to control differences.
Both countries agreed to "manage and properly control maritime disputes, not take any actions to complicate the situation or expand the dispute, and maintain peace and stability” in the East Vietnam Sea, it added.
The document, released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said both had a "candid and deep" exchange of views on maritime issues, and agreed to use an existing border talks mechanism to look for a lasting resolution.
China claims 90 percent of the potentially energy-rich East Vietnam Sea. Besides Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan lay claim to parts of the route, through which about $5 trillion of trade passes each year.
Quang arrived in Beijing last week for a state visit and to attend a two-day conference ending Monday on an ambitious scheme proposed by Xi to build a new Silk Road connecting China to Asia, Europe and beyond, through massive infrastructure investment.