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Can ‘border guard’ diplomacy strengthen ties between Myanmar-Bangladesh?

From October 30th to November 2nd, Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam visited Chinese President Xi Jinping displayed a 21-gun salute in Beijing and a courtesy full of President Xi Jinping’s presentation of the Chinese Friendship Medal to Chu Long. Notable for many reasons, Chong’s visit was the first visit to China by a foreign leader since Xi consolidated power and secured an unprecedented third term as general secretary. While the visit showed that two of the remaining five communist-led countries would unite, signature of multiple economic agreements.

Despite its importance, the visit affected many people overdoing This visit bring up “Relations between China and Vietnam [a] new stage” or “[the trip] I confirm that their bond is stronger than ever.”I will send This is a strong signal that Vietnam does not intend to side with the United States against China. The visit is important, but what these exaggerated responses lack is that Tron’s visit to Beijing is not an anomaly in Vietnam’s China policy, and Vietnam is firmly in the Chinese camp. Instead, it represents part of Vietnam’s long-standing and complex approach to China, which includes fear and distrust, and is underpinned by an expanding security relationship with the United States. It rhetorically plays out the two countries’ shared ideologies and political systems in order to maintain a healthy relationship.

Government rooted in history

After a long history of aggression and colonization by great powers, modern Vietnam’s national politics prioritize sovereignty and independence. beginning In 111 BC, China invaded Vietnam, beginning nearly 1,000 years of Chinese rule. Vietnam achieved independence in 939 AD, but had to contend with Chinese aggression until 1883 when France established Vietnam as a protectorate. French rule lasted until the communist nationalist movement led by Ho Chi Minh expelled France after the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954.and later he after the US invasion in 1975, before unifying the country the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Similarly, the Chinese Communist Party unified China under the leadership of Mao Zedong. People’s Republic of China 1949.As expected in the ideologically driven Cold War environment, Vietnam and China rapidly evolved A close relationship built on ideological exchange and mutual trust. But when Vietnam invaded Cambodia in his 1978 to eliminate Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, bilateral relations quickly soured. China responded by invading Vietnam in her 1979, resulting in a brief and bloody border war.

The two countries normalized relations in 1991 and have since worked together, particularly in economic engagement, despite Vietnam’s unrest and great distrust of its neighbor. 2008 China and Vietnam upgrade Relations with the Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership, a position unique to China. As a result, economic relations have deepened significantly.china is vietnam top clientsone of its most important sauce It is the second largest export market and the eighth largest export market in Vietnam.maximum A source of foreign direct investment that doubled between 2011 and 2017.

Increasingly Negative Perceptions of China

Economic engagement is complicated by China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea. This is due to overlapping territorial claims with Vietnam.Made in Vietnam Claim China claims that the Spratly and Paracel Islands are within Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone. called The claim is illegal and militarized The region built artificial islands, including 3,200 acres of the Spratly Islands, to prevent Vietnam from exploiting resources there. Important examples include the 2020 quarrel When a Chinese Coast Guard ship sank a Vietnamese fishing boat near the Paracel Islands, or later agreed to pay two foreign oil companies about $1 billion Cancel Their contract under pressure from China.

As a result, negative perceptions of China and positive perceptions of the United States remain high among Vietnamese. The ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, a Singapore-based think tank, conducts an annual survey of common Southeast Asian attitudes and concerns. The latest research in 2022 found that Asked 56.9% chose the United States and only 11.8% chose China as the country where Vietnamese have the most confidence in their leadership and support the international law of rules-based order. For that matter, when asked if the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should choose which superpower it should partner with, 73.6% of her Vietnamese chose the United States. In contrast, only 26.4% chose China.

Vietnamese mistrust of Beijing was most acute after violent anti-China riots in 2014. erupted After China stationed oil rigs in territory claimed by Vietnam. In response, Vietnamese leaders dispatched a group of ships to the region to attack more than 80 Chinese ships armed with water cannons as a deterrent, and two others later armed with anti-aircraft missiles. encountered. The reaction in Vietnam, where anti-Chinese nationalism has always been smoldering, was instinctive. Vietnamese citizens targeted Chinese citizens by attacking them, burning or destroying their businesses, and driving many out of the country. Over 20 people died and hundreds were injured.

US as a hedge

While Vietnam deepens its economic engagement with Beijing, Deepening Security relations with the United States. In 2013, both countries signed A comprehensive partnership between the US and Vietnam, and three years later, President Barack Obama announced the end of the US arms embargo on Vietnam. This decision will bring about a fundamental change in relations between the United States and Vietnam.

Since then, Vietnam has participated in US Rim of the Pacific naval exercises (although missing this year) and has hosted the US Secretary of Defense every year since 2018. Meanwhile, the United States has several aircraft carriers docked in Vietnamese ports, and Vietnam has received more than $60 million in security assistance from her between 2017 and 2020. As Vietnamese Prime Minister Chin mentioned at his ASEAN-US summit in Washington DC earlier this year, he extended his stay to deepen ties with major US power brokers. Relationships are “special”.

Vietnam’s security situation calls for strong ties with the United States to serve as a counterforce to Chinese aggression in the region, particularly in the South China Sea, with a strong military presence and consistent freedom of navigation operations. Overall, Vietnam and the United States are aligned in their support for an international rules-based order, often at odds with China, which many fear has revisionist intentions.

Lip service goes a long way

Despite China’s aggression and low domestic popularity, but also because of its strong economic interdependence, Vietnam strives to maintain a healthy bilateral relationship with China, and is thus criticizing the United States. Having it as a hedge is very important.

This effort to maintain healthy relations is often manifested in Vietnam picking and choosing to fight China to prevent unnecessary escalation of tensions while paying lip service with diplomatic overtures. for Illustrationbefore Tron attended the 2nd Belt and Road Initiative Forum, officials instructed the media to refrain from negative coverage of China. Rejected Mainly because, as the Philippines has discovered, bringing China to international courts becomes an exercise in pissing off China with little return.lukewarm response In China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Security Initiative (GSI), leaders rhetorically showed support but could not practically accept it (Vietnamese infrastructure projects using Chinese funds The majority of the data goes back to 2016 or earlier, and the leaders also spoke without committing to join the GSI).

Similarly, Trong’s travels were filled with rhetoric such as: concentration On “comradeship and brotherhood” while 13 economic agreements to stabilize supply chains were signed.Not surprisingly, a week after his Trong-Xi conference, his Prime Minister of Vietnam Pham Minh Chih met Meeting with President Joe Biden at the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits, Tron invited Biden to visit Vietnam and discuss ways to strengthen the comprehensive partnership between the two countries. Meanwhile, China has made low-risk diplomatic offers to its northern neighbors to secure strong economic engagement. On the other, they used the United States as a bulwark.

Against this historical background, the Zheng Xi talks are better understood not as a deviation, but as a neat fit into established Vietnam-China policy. Vietnam is deeply concerned about China’s actions and intentions, but for economic reasons it also prioritizes a healthy bilateral relationship with China, while maintaining security ties with the United States to mitigate the consequences. Seeking relationships. Chung’s visit was significant, but it did not mark a fundamental change in Vietnam’s foreign policy, but rather affirmed a longstanding tenet of China policy since 1991.

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