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China, Vietnam settle land border issue
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China and Vietnam Monday marked the final demarcation of their land border at the Youyiguan border gate in Pingxiang City in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

The completion of the demarcation would be conducive to peace and stability of the border area, promote trade and exchanges, and push forward their comprehensive and strategic partnership of the two countries, said a statement from China's Foreign Ministry.

The 1,300-kilometer border starts at the junction of China, Vietnam and Laos and continues along the Beilun River to the coast. Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region are on Chinese side, and Cao Bang, Lang Son, Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Guang Ninh are in Vietnam.

In the late 19th Century, China's Qing Dynasty and the French colonial administration in Vietnam concluded a treaty delineating the border. The border negotiations started in the 1970s and were suspended later that decade.

In the early 1990s, China and Vietnam resumed negotiations, and agreed to discuss a new treaty based on that signed in the 19th Century. They finalized the land boundary treaty on Dec. 30, 1999. They started demarcation work in 2001 and finished late last year.

The China-Vietnam joint committee for land border demarcation was established by both governments in November 2001. The committee was in charge of border demarcation and marker planting as well as drafting a protocol on border demarcation and marker planting.

The joint committee comprised 12 joint working teams. These teams were responsible for on-site demarcation work. In December 2001, the first marker on the border was installed at the Mong Cai-Dong Xing border gate.

The two sides reached an agreement on the remaining issues related to the land boundary survey on Dec. 31, 2008. The agreement achieved the goal set by leaders of China and Vietnam to complete the survey and the erection of boundary markers this year.

During the eight-year effort, Chinese and Vietnamese officials worked almost one million days on the demarcation work and held 14 rounds of meetings between the heads of the two governmental-level delegations, 34 rounds joint committee's meetings and 15 rounds of expert group meetings, which enabled the completion of the demarcation along the entire length of China-Vietnam land border with 2,000 border markers erected.

Advanced technologies were applied in the demarcation work, such as the geography information, global positioning and remote sensing systems, which ensured the accuracy of the demarcation work and a clear borderline.

The outcome was achieved under the direction of leaders of the two countries, said the ministry statement. It was also the result of concerted efforts of government delegations, experts, departments such as ministries of foreign affairs, national defense, public security, finance, survey-cartography and provinces along both sides of the border.

Working staff from the joint survey teams also contributed to the success, working with extraordinary difficulties caused by complicated landscapes and bad weather conditions.

The two sides resolved complicated issues in a frank and friendly manner, said the statement.

By taking into account mutual concerns and trying to mitigate negative impacts on the lives and production of residents along the border, they finally achieved a mutually beneficial result.

(Xinhua News Agency February 23, 2009)

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