Photo/Illutration Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi walk into meeting room in Hanoi, Vietnam on Sep.11, 2021. (VNA via AP)

HANOI--China plans to donate 3 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine to Vietnam, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday as he wrapped up a visit to Hanoi.

Yi's pledge comes amid a virus lockdown in Vietnam to contain a COVID-19 surge. About 23 million Vietnamese students started a new school year earlier this week, most of them in virtual classrooms.

Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said Saturday that the two countries should use dialogue to work out any differences, state broadcaster VTV reported.

Vietnam has previously accused China of obstructing its gas exploration activities in the South China Sea, where Beijing has constructed several islands equipped with airstrips and military installations.

Japan’s Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi was also in Hanoi on Saturday, where he signed a deal allowing Japan to give Vietnam defense equipment and technology.

Japan and Vietnam are stepping up military cooperation amid worries about China’s growing military influence. Tokyo regularly protests the Chinese coast guard’s presence near the Japanese-controlled Senkaku islands, which China also claims and calls Diaoyu.

Wang’s visit comes two weeks after U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris travelled to Vietnam to strengthen ties. During the tour, Harris urged countries to stand up against “bullying” by China in the South China Sea.

Vietnam's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Yi and Chinh co-chaired the 13th meeting of the Steering Committee for Vietnam–China Bilateral Cooperation.

During the visit, Wang also held talks with Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh and met with Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong.