Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi wave as they stand for photos in Hanoi, Vietnam on Saturday, Sep.11, 2021. (Duong Van Giang/VNA via AP)
Do not be fooled by the popular optics portraying China and Vietnam as eternal enemies. They are not, as evidenced by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s weekend visit to Vietnam. Indeed, for communism, as practiced in China and Vietnam to thrive, their friendship and close cooperation are essential to ensuring that this form of governance will survive.
The non-communist world tends to forget that they are the most successful countries to have adopted a political system opposite to democratic governance. It must be emphasized that Beijing and Hanoi have registered unprecedented economic growth and social progress even during the pandemic that the Western world, with all its liberal values and individual liberties, would envy.
Wang Yi’s trip showed that the ties between these two socialist nations are solid and would move on, despite their maritime disagreements, which both sides were on the same page must be settled without external interference. Both have mutual interests to nurture and, at the same time, are trying to resolve the ongoing conflict in the South China Sea peacefully. Vietnam has raised the issue related to maritime security in the disputed areas.
At the moment, ASEAN and China are working on the conclusion of the code of conduct (COC) on the SCS. It is expected that the second reading of the COC will be completed soon. The negotiations have been delayed by the pandemic, making face-to-face negotiation impossible. But if China and Asean put their hearts into the work of the 15 months, the COC could be wrapped up
World history is not coming to an end with the triumph of liberalism as some Western scholars might have predicted. In fact, Covid-19 has upended many of the conventional wisdom and practices of the past seven decades. From now on, it would be hard to predict what will be the new paradigm to emerge as the outcome of US-China competition and cooperation. But one thing is clear: the fraternal ties between communist compatriots will not only survive but will be further strengthened.
China and Vietnam should refrain from unilateral actions regarding the South China Sea that could complicate the situation and magnify disputes, senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi told a Vietnamese official, China’s foreign ministry said. State Councillor Wang was speaking with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh during a visit to Vietnam, the ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
This kind of conviction can only be found in China and Vietnam. In the 1990s, Russia failed because it abandoned Russian-style communism and tried to emulate Western democracy but was unsuccessful. Both China and Vietnam have remade communism in their images without any stigma. They retained their unique national characters. This is in contrast with the US which, except for the rebuilding of Germany and Japan after World War II, would found it difficult to identify a country that it has successfully rebuilt.
The Biden Administration has placed a premium on Vietnam, as the only ASEAN country which is willing to do more in response to the rise of China. Washington’s overt courting of Vietnam could have a negative impact in the long run because of its high expectations. Vietnam, which fought a war with the US for nearly two decades and won, understands and knows how to deal with the American way of doing things. Vietnam has efficiently engaged the US with clearer massages within the region.
Both China and Vietnam have co-existed for thousands of years. As close neighbors sharing 1,297 kilometers of border, their national destinies are bound together. Do not expect these two successful comrades to turn against each other for the benefit of a third party.
By Kavi Chongkittavorn