Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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President Xi Jinping Embarks on Five-Day Asian Journey


(Photo : Reuters) China's President Xi Jinping and wife Peng Liyuan arrive at Noi Bai International airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, November 5, 2015.

President Xi Jinping has embarked on a visit around Southeast Asia in a bid to improve bilateral relations with several nations after coming home from a successful European trip that included the United Kingdom.

Xi will visit Taiwan, Vietnam, and Singapore starting Thursday amid tensions brewing among claimant-countries over disputed isles and reefs in the South China Sea.

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His first stop in his Asian journey is Vietnam, the first visit to the country by a Chinese top leader in a decade, and Xi's first to the nation since assuming office in 2013.

The President's visit seeks to improve relations between Beijing and Hanoi, and is expected to run from Thursday to Friday.

President Xi will visit the country as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and President of China.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the President's visit is being made upon the invitation of Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam and Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang.

Reports said Xi will sign a number of cooperation deals with Vietnam before he flies to Singapore and Taiwan.

On Friday, Xi will leave Vietnam and make his first state visit to Singapore since becoming President of China. Reports said the visit will mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

Xi will be signing deals with his Singaporean counterpart, President Tony Tan Keng Yam, and other leaders covering business, finance, education, technology, and urban planning.

Xi will also meet with Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou on Saturday to discuss various issues, primarily the cross-Straits issue that has been affecting their bilateral relations over the years.

Political analysts maintain that Xi's visit to Vietnam will send a strong positive message to the world community, which has been closely watching developments in the South China Sea.

"Xi's visit will not only serve as a stabilizer, but more importantly as a propeller." Wei said. "Despite existing differences, getting closer with Vietnam is a way of demonstrating confidence to the international community"

Wei cited the  exchange of high-ranking officials and economic trade between the two countries in recent years as both try to grapple with the existing tensions in the South China sea.

Wei said although China usually shelves issues that it cannot solve immediately, it doesn't mean that it will stop in improving bilateral relations with other countries.

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