Friday, September 25, 2009

Third China-Vietnam defense and security consultation

The Sino-Vietnam relationship has improved greatly the past few years. There was even talk about a “Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership” by Pham Quang Nghi, a senior Vietnamese official.(here) The language used during the recent “Third China-Vietnam defense and security consultation” is very positive. The annual Sino-Vietnam trade reached 15 billion by 2007, a 468% increase from 1991, when the two nations normalized relations (Here) and trade figures are expected to hit 25 billion a year by 2010. To accommodate this rise in trade, two more expressways are under construction connecting the Longbang Port to Guangxi. Guangxi has planned to build 24 transportation routes to Vietnam, 10 of which are already in operation (here)

Skeptics point out the historical mistrust between the two Asian nations; not everything is as rosy as trade would imply. They believe any “comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership” will be difficult to achieve. For example, Vietnam’s war hero, General Vo Ngugyen Giap spoke out against a $15 billion mining project in the Central Highlands between China’s Chinalco and Vietnam’s Vinacomin citing environmental, societal and national defense concerns. The Vietnamese government also has to deal with nationalist bloggers and periodically, anti-Chinese protesters who fear Chinese economic imperialism with trade imbalance heavily favoring the Chinese.

In addition to utilizing the “defense and security consultations” forum, other regional and international frameworks can reduce national backlash. The joint enforcement of the UN prohibition on drift net fishing in the North Pacific, which involves both the US Coast Guard and the Chinese Fisheries Law Enforcement Command, serves as an example (here)

Third China-Vietnam defense and security consultation held in Beijing

(Source: PLA Daily) 2009-09-25

   Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and Tran Quang Khue, the visiting deputy chief of general staff of the Vietnamese People's Army, co-chaired the third defense and security consultation between the Chinese and Vietnamese defense ministries in Beijing on the morning of September 24.

   During the consultation, the two sides exchanged views on regional security, relations between the two countries and the two militaries and other issues of common concern. Both sides stated to treasure the traditional friendship between the two countries, further promote the mutual trust between the two militaries, strengthen the cooperation between the two countries and the two militaries, properly handle the sensitive issues which may have negative impact on the relations between the two countries and the two militaries and together maintain the regional peace, security and stability. The two sides spoke highly of the defense and security consultation mechanism and held that it is an effective measure to boost the development of the relations between the two militaries in the new period and should make full use of this platform to further enhance mutual trust and cooperation.

  Yang Hui, director of the Intelligence Department of the General Staff Headquarters of the PLA, Xiao Xinnian, deputy chief of staff of the PLA Navy, and Nguyen Van Tho, Vietnamese ambassador to China, were present at the consultation.

  By Lu Desheng

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