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CJ Perez named PBA Comm’s Cup Best PlayerFor the development of bilateral relations, the visit set the development goal with the six targets of stronger political trust, more substantial defence-security cooperation, deeper tangible collaboration, firmer social foundation, closer multilateral coordination, and better management and settlement of differences.

MANILA: CJ Perez of San Miguel Beer was the runaway winner of the Best Player of the Conference (BPC) for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Perez received the top local award for the season-opening tournament before Game 4 of the conference finals between Magnolia and San Miguel at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Friday night.

Perez topped the voting among the media and the players, which catapulted him to his first BPC award.

The San Miguel winger got all but one of first-place votes from the media for 505 points and 18 out of 28 first-place votes from the players for 86 points.

He finished with a total 1,055 points, way ahead of runner-up Christian Standhardinger.

The Ginebra big man, who was number one in the statistical points up to the semifinals, amassed 777 points.

NorthPort’s Arvin Tolentino was third with 559 points, TNT’s Calvin Oftana was fourth with 472, and Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson finished fifth with 446.

Meanwhile, in a huge shocker, Phoenix’s Johnathan Williams got the better of co
nference finalists Tyler Bey of Magnolia and Bennie Boatwright of San Miguel in a tight Best Import race.

The media votes turned out to be the deciding factors as Williams, a National Basketball Association veteran, got 30 first-place votes for 424 points.

Williams was second in the stats race and only finished third in the player votes without a first-place vote but he topped the race with 1,017 points.

Williams became the first import since Meralco’s Arinze Onuaku in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup to win Best Import honors even if his team did not make the finals.

The Fuel Masters making the semifinals behind his all-around game turned out to be enough of a narrative to sway the votes in his favor.

Bey, who topped the player votes, was second with 908 points, while Boatwright, who was number one in the stats race and number two in the player votes, was third with 878.

Ginebra’s Tony Bishop was fourth with 506.

San Miguel leads the best-of-seven series, 2-1.

Source: Philippines News Agency

The targets have comprehensive connotations, clearly defining the development direction for the China-Vietnam relations in all aspects. I believe that after this visit, the China-Vietnam relations will undoubtedly enter a new development phase, with substantive cooperation between the two countries in various fields being improved, upgraded, and further strengthened.

Reporter: Over the past few months, trade activities between Vietnam and China have been vibrant and favourable with the reopening and upgrade of several border gates. What should both countries do in the coming time to make the development of the Vietnam – China economic, trade, and investment relations to continue developing robustly and sustainably?

Ambassador Xiong Bo: We are delighted to see that, after the pandemic prevention efforts entered a new phase, China and Vietnam have fully resumed their regular economic and trade cooperation. Many border gates between the two countries have been resumed operation and upgraded. Some border gates were upgraded into international ones, facilitating the travel between the nations. The economic, trade, and investment cooperation between China and Vietnam has entered a new stage with a more vibrant development trend.

According to China’s latest statistics, the China-Vietnam trade turnover in 2023 reached nearly 230 billion USD (229.8 billion USD). Vietnam’s exports to China amounted to 92.18 billion USD, marking a 4.8% increase. China is one of the few export markets of Vietnam that maintains positive growth, proving the importance of the Chinese market as well as that of the China-Vietnam cooperative relations.

China is a market with immense potential. Vietnam’s agricultural exports to China maintain considerable growth, especially fruits and vegetables. The export revenue of Vietnamese fruits and vegetables to China has seen rapid growth, notably in the export of durians. Vietnam earned over 2 billion USD from exporting durians to China in 2023, surpassing the set target of USD 1 billion. China’s investment into Vietnam in the year surged by 77.6% to 4.47 billion USD. This indicates a significant interest from Chinese companies in the Vietnamese market and its development potential.

I believe that this trend will continue in the coming time. For instance, recently, I noticed several Chinese companies operating in the solar energy industry have plans to increase their investments in Vietnam. Some businesses have entered the second phase and are planning to build the third. All these indicate promising prospects for economic, trade, and investment cooperation between China and Vietnam. I am confident that substantial collaboration between the two countries will further develop.

In the time to come, we need to sustain this momentum. Firstly, it is necessary to continue and intensify the policy exchanges, with the high-level strategic exchange between leaders of the two countries being the most important. In 2024, the two nations will continue high-level visits in both the channel of the China – Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation and within the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ and the ‘Two corridors, One belt’ framework.

The two sides have signed a connectivity plan, and will push for its implementation this year.

The two countries are focusing on promoting the comprehensive connection of road, sea, and air networks, and internet connection. In particular, the two sides attach great importance to the acceleration of the railway infrastructure connection and bring into full play the geographical advantages of land and sea contiguity of China and Vietnam.

China will actively support Vietnam in speeding up the construction of the Lao Cai – Hanoi – Hai Phong standard-gauge railway and conducting feasibility studies, and assist Vietnam in planning the Dong Dang – Hanoi and Mong Cai – Ha Long – Hai Phong railway lines. For the construction of other railway lines in Vietnam, China is also willing to actively cooperate and provide support in line with Vietnam’s demands.

China actively supports Vietnam in accelerating its industrialisation and modernisation, and in realising development goals set by the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV); encourages Chinese enterprises with strength, expertise, and capability which are interested in investing into Vietnam, especially in digital economy, green development, energy transition, information and communication, agricultural development, and mineral exploitation cooperation.

Furthermore, we are ready to strengthen cooperation with Vietnam in the field of new energy vehicle (NEV), and assist Vietnam in releasing its net-zero emissions goal by 2050.

Reporter: Recently, a young artist from Vietnam participated in a television game show in China, garnering positive attention, and a well-known Vietnamese coffee brand has also increased its presence in China. These activities, to some extent, have help contribute to promoting people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. Could you please say more about specific measures to increase people-to-people exchange activities and youth exchanges between the two nations?

Ambassador Xiong Bo: Mutual understanding and cultural exchanges between the two peoples form an indispensable foundation for the development of China-Vietnam relations.

To realise this objective, first of all we need to further strengthen objective and genuine mutual understanding. To do so, we need to enhance direct people-to-people exchanges and encourage more Chinese tourists to visit Vietnam and vice versa, and increase the number of Vietnamese young people studying and living in China.

In the past, the two Parties and peoples stood side by side, supporting each other throughout the years of war, as well as in the struggles for national independence and liberation. This ‘both comrades and brothers’ friendship tradition needs to be carried forward by the younger generations of both nations.

Under the leadership of the two Parties, Vietnam and China are building socialism suitable to each country’s conditions, advancing the building of a distinctive path to modernisation of each country. China has achieved remarkable successes, capturing global attention and becoming the world’s second-largest economy. Vietnam has also attained significant accomplishments too, maintaining stable and rapid economic development. It is crucial for the people of both countries to understand this, and this is also part of the mutual understanding.

Thirdly, to strengthen people-to-people connectivity. Culture, art, cinematographic products, music, and tourism, etc., also serve as effective channels to further intensify mutual understanding.

Reporter: With the joint efforts of 12 countries, including Vietnam and China, the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly for the first time passed a resolution officially designating the Lunar New Year as an annual UN holiday. How do you evaluate the event?

Ambassador Xiong Bo: The Lunar New Year is a common traditional festival for the people of China and Vietnam. Besides China and Vietnam, the festival is also a significant occasion for many countries around the world, representing an important factor of the oriental culture. The United Nations General Assembly’s recognition is a matter of course, and I am pleased about it.

On this occasion, through the Vietnam News Agency, I would like to extend my best New Year greetings to the Vietnamese people. I wish that Vietnam, under the resolute leadership of the CPV Central Committee led by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, will gain new achievements in realising the goals set forth by the 13th National Congress of the CPV, and in continuing to push up the socio-economic development across every sector. I wish Vietnam peace, prosperity, well-being and happiness.

Source: Vietnam News Agency