China and Vietnam have agreed to turn disputed border areas into economic growth zones and jointly explore offshore areas for oil, in a sign of improving relations between the two countries, AFP reported. The agreement was reached during a visit by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to Beijing, which ended on Sunday. Under the agreement, northern Vietnam will see new industrial projects as well as rail and road links that will connect China’s Yunnan and Guangxi provinces with Vietnam’s Haiphong seaport. These "economic corridors" will help raise annual trade between China and Vietnam to a projected US$25 billion in 2010 from US$16 billion last year. The agreement also called on the two countries to "collaborate on oceanic research, environmental protection, meteorological and hydrological forecasts, oil exploration and information exchanges by the two armed forces."