China boosts 'political trust' with Vietnam ahead of Biden visit

President Joe Biden Exits Marine One on the South Lawn After Labor Day Weekend

BEIJING (Reuters) - China sent a senior official to Vietnam to enhance "political trust" between the two countries, ahead of a scheduled visit by U.S. President Joe Biden designed to boost diplomatic ties between Washington and Hanoi.

The Chinese Communist Party's international department head Liu Jianchao met with Vietnam's ruling Communist Party leader Nguyen Phu Trong, the official Chinese Xinhua news agency reported.

During his three-day trip, which ends on Wednesday, Liu also had talks with his Vietnam counterpart and met think tanks and media in Vietnam, Xinhua said.

Both sides said they had agreed to solidify their mutual political trust and enhance cooperation in meeting challenges.

Biden is due in Vietnam on Sunday for a visit that is expected to result in an upgrade in bilateral relations, pulling Vietnam away from the orbit of its larger Asian neighbour.

China and Vietnam have long had close ties but have been at odds on maritime territorial claims in the South China Sea. The United States, already Vietnam's largest export market, is a draw due to potential access to U.S. capital and technology to bolster its economy.

Biden said his Vietnam visit aimed to elevate their relationship and make the United States a major partner.

He will meet Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong during his trip.

(Reporting by Albee Zhang and Ryan Woo; Editing by Jon Boyle)