The Diplomat says in its article yesterday titled “The Resurgence of China-Vietnam Ties”, “A visit to Beijing by Vietnam’s Communist Party chief underscored a major shift in Sino-Vietnamese bilateral relations…. According to Vietnamese news media, the four-day visit resulted in a joint communiqué, which among other points stressed upholding mutual political trust and both sides’ commitment to deepening their all-around strategic cooperative partnership. Trong’s trip and the sharply increased mutual trust it reflects will rehabilitate China-Vietnam ties in the near future after a few years of remarkable disruption.”
The article regards the new development as Vietnam’s response to Trump’s policies of America first and withdrawal from TPP as there is no hope for Vietnam to rely on the US to counter China whether economically or militarily. Without TPP, Vietnam cannot reduce its economic reliance on China.
However, the vital factor that has caused Vietnam to seek China’s favor is China’s control of the Mekong River, the source of freshwater for 2 million Vietnamese people. The article described Vietnam’s trouble caused by Chinese-backed mainstream dam-building projects in the river in countries close to China but hostile to Vietnam.
Anyway, Vietnam shall regard itself as lucky if China does not annex it as it did in the past when China had grown powerful.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on The Diplomat’s article, full text of which can be found at http://thediplomat.com/2017/01/the-resurgence-of-china-vietnam-ties/.
Reuters says in its report “China and Vietnam to ‘manage’ differences over South China Sea: communiqué”, “China and Vietnam pledged on Saturday to manage their differences and safeguard peace in the South China Sea, in a joint communique issued during a visit to China by Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong.”
In addition, “In the joint communique on Saturday the two sides agreed to continue to ‘fully and effectively’ implement the Declaration on the Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea and strive for the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct (COC) on the basis of consensus in the framework of the DOC.”
The DOC already signed by China and ASEAN and the COC to be finalized and signed are aimed at peaceful solution of disputes in the South China Sea. It proves China’s success in subduing the enemy with diplomacy.
It has won over the Philippines and the victory of Nguyen Phu Trong’s détente faction in Vietnamese communist party’s election over the hardline faction that caused standoff in the South China Sea over China’s drilling rig there proves peaceful solution is much more popular even in Vietnam.
That is especially true as Vietnam talked up in public statements its traditional friendship with China in spite of the fresh memory of China’s war with Vietnam in 1979. Vietnam’s military build-up mentioned in Reuters’ report proves the memory of the war is indeed fresh in Vietnamese people’s mind. Still they prefer peace and have been won over by China’s peaceful diplomacy.
Now only the US wants to subdue others with war, but as military solution is unpopular in the world, the US has failed to get ASEAN’s support for its confrontation with China in the South China Sea.
Poor United States, it goes nowhere in the South China Sea in spite of its strongest military because it has the weakest diplomacy.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Reuters’ report, full text of which is reblogged below:
China and Vietnam to ‘manage’ differences over South China Sea: communique
China and Vietnam pledged on Saturday to manage their differences and safeguard peace in the South China Sea, in a joint communique issued during a visit to China by Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong.
After “candid” discussions, the two countries agreed to “manage well their maritime difference, avoid actions that complicate the situation and escalate tensions, and safeguard the peace and stability of the South China Sea”, said the communique published in full by China’s state news agency Xinhua.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea, where about $5 trillion worth of sea-borne trade passes every year. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan, in addition to Vietnam, also have claims in the sea, believed to have rich deposits of oil and gas.
In public statements, Chinese and Vietnamese leaders regularly talk up their common interests as “traditional” friends and neighbours, but conflicting claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea have become a major source of tension in recent years.
In the joint communique on Saturday the two sides agreed to continue to “fully and effectively” implement the Declaration on the Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea and strive for the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct (COC) on the basis of consensus in the framework of the DOC.
In September, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Vietnam’s visiting prime minister their common interests far outweighed their differences, and called for their dispute in the South China Sea to be resolved through talks.
Vietnam is in the midst of a quiet military build-up which analysts say is designed as a deterrent, to secure its 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone, as China grows more assertive in staking its claims in the South China Sea.
(Reporting by John Ruwitch; Editing by Andrew Bolton)
China and Vietnam share a “common destiny”, Chinese President Xi Jinping told a visiting Vietnamese envoy, as the two continue to repair ties damaged by their competing claims in the disputed South China Sea.
The two communist-led states claims in the South China Sea came to a head in 2014 when Beijing parked an oil rig in waters off the Vietnamese coast, leading to anti-China riots.
Since then they have exchanged high-level visits, including a trip by Xi to Hanoi last year.
“China and Vietnam share a common destiny, so do the Communist Party of China and the Communist Party of Vietnam,” Xi told Hoang Binh Quan, a special envoy of Vietnam’s communist party chief Nguyen Phu Trong, state news agency Xinhua said late on Monday.
“Developing bilateral ties conforms to the fundamental interests of the two countries and their people,” Xi added.
Last month, tensions heightened between the two nations over territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea after Taiwan and U.S. officials said Beijing had placed surface-to-air missiles on Woody Island, part of the Paracel archipelago which China controls.
Vietnam called China’s actions a serious infringement of its sovereignty over the Paracels.
Xi also called for the proper handling of differences between the two nations in order for their “comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership to develop in a sustained, healthy and steady way”.
Xi added that China was willing to work with Vietnam to maintain the frequency of high-level visits and to carry on the two countries’ important tradition of the party chiefs sending special envoys to communicate with each other.
(Reporting by Jessica Macy Yu; Editing by Ben Blanchard and Joseph Radford)
Source: Reuters “China’s Xi says shares ‘common destiny’ with Vietnam, looks to repair ties”
British, French, Dutch and American military occupation respectively of Malaysia, and Singapore, Indochina, Indonesia and the Philippines has all failed. The US was clever to allow the Philippines to become independent long before colonies in the world began to fight for independence. It maintained military occupation in two large military bases there to control not only the Philippines but also the areas around it. However, it was finally driven away by the people there.
Colonization is unpopular and fails!
China, however, pursued no military occupation and was in fact too weak to do so before its sudden rise now. However, its people prospered in those former colonies of Western powers and have remained prosperous there now when all those colonies are independent.
As China has grown militarily stronger now due to its arms race with the US in order to have the capabilities to stop US intervention in its unification with Taiwan and maritime territorial disputes with Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam, there is fear that the ghost of colonialism will revive in China and military conflicts are inevitable due to such disputes.
It is natural that both the US and China’s neighbors are worried by China’s military buildup. That is why the US seeks to rally around it those who have maritime territorial disputes with China to form a military alliance to counter China’s military rise.
The US, Japan and others have certainly been affected my media reports. For example, Reuters has always repeated in pointing out in its reports on the conflicts in the South China Sea that China’s claim to the area within its nine dash line clashes with the claims by Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei. It gives the impression that there will be military conflicts between China and other claimants due to the disputes. Moreover, when China becomes militarily stronger, it may resolve the disputes by military force.
Western Europe has given up its colonialist mentality and has formed the EU to pursue peaceful development. The US, however, has maintained its preference to the use of military forces to resolve problems. That is why the transfer of 10% more of its military to Asia is the major part of its pivot to Asia.
However, in spite of much exaggerated tension in the South China Sea, there have been few countries that the US can draw to its side by exploitation of the maritime territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
First, there have been no conflicts between Beijing and Taipei over the disputed islands, reefs and sea areas as they both claim those territories in the name of China. The difference is only Beijing and Taipei each regards itself as China and the other as a part of its China.
There have been no conflicts between China and Malaysia as they have agreed to resolve the disputes through peaceful consultations. Brunei even seems to ignore such conflicts.
Why, the two ASEAN members’ economic relations with China are much more important as China has vigorously developed economic relations with them through the free trade area it has established with ASEAN.
Economic infiltration is much more powerful than military occupation!
What left are but Vietnam and the Philippines.
The Philippines believed that the US would have supported it in its conflicts with China when the US had announced its pivot to Asia. As a result, the Philippines sent its navy in an attempt to gain sole control of the Scarborough Shoal that was previously controlled by both the Philippines and China.
China sent its coast guard ships and fishing boats supported by its navy to seize sole control of the Shoal and even did not allow Philippine fishermen to fish there. Did the US help the Philippines in its conflicts with China due to its pivot to Asia? No.
The Philippines has to resort to arbitration now though it knows well the arbitration award will certainly be rejected by China if it is unfavorable to China.
However, the Philippines can be ignored as it is too weak. Both the US and Japan place their hope on Vietnam for exploitation of the South China Sea conflicts to contain China’s military rise.
Sorry, economic infiltration is again more powerful than military occupation!
Last May, there were serious conflicts between China and Vietnam when a Chinese oil rig conducted drilling in an area claimed by both China and Vietnam.
Both the US and Japan began to take the opportunity to draw Vietnam to their sides with great efforts. As a result, Vietnamese government allowed its people to attack Chinese enterprises in Vietnam. However, Vietnamese economy suffered. China did not have much investment in Vietnam. It seemed that there was little Chinese economic infiltration. However, there is lots of Singaporean and Taiwanese Chinese investment there very important for Vietnamese economy.
The economic strength of ethnic Chinese in other countries and regions cannot be ignored. When those Chinese are in trouble, they hope there is a powerful China to help them while when China is in trouble, they all are patriots willing to help China. Their donations constituted a major source of income for Chinese government when China was invaded by Japan.
The riots in Vietnam made its government realize its dependence on investment from and trade with not only China but also ethnic Chinese outside China.
Those ethnic Chinese will play an important role in helping China’s economic expansion abroad through Xi Jinping’s initiatives of Silk Road Economic Belt, 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and Free Trade Area Asian Pacific.
After Vietnamese officials’ visit to the US to see what it can get from the US, wise Vietnamese leaders realized that good relations with China is much more important than with the US as the US can only help Vietnam develop its military to fight China. That will make the US richer and Vietnam poorer.
Moreover, can Vietnam defeat China even if it has purchased US advanced weapons? Vietnam simply lacks the financial and human resources to win a war with China unless the US helps it. However, Vietnam knows well that the US is not powerful enough even if the US join Vietnam in the war against China as Vietnam itself has won a war against the US.
Anyway, win or lose, the war will leave Vietnam in ruins.
China’s strategy is to move labor-intensive industries to less developed countries. It will provide jobs there and improve the people’s living standards. Vietnam will be benefited from that.
US strategy is to bring jobs back to the US to deprive people in less developed countries of their job opportunities and make them poor. It will make Vietnam suffer.
That was why three months after the riots in Vietnam, Vietnamese top leader Nguyen Phu Trong sent a special envoy to mend ties with China last August.
It seems the two countries have conducted further talks for improvement of their relations since then. The two countries have now promised to resolve their maritime territorial dispute peacefully..
What Nguyen Phu Trong has been doing in China since April 7 proved that.
Will the ease of tension between China and Vietnam make the US rest at ease and give up its pivot to Asia to contain China’s rise?
Perhaps so. However, there is the theory that the US wants to contain China due to its fear that China may replace it as world leader. If so the ease of tension in the South China Sea is irrelevant. I will deal with that issue in another post.
The following is the full text of Reuters’ report on Nguyen Phu Trong’s Beijing visit:
China, Vietnam pledge peaceful resolution for sea dispute
(Reuters) – China and Vietnam have pledged to look for a peaceful resolution to their dispute in the South China Sea via talks, following a meeting between China’s president and the head of Vietnam’s Communist Party, state news agency Xinhua said on Wednesday.
A joint communique carried by Xinhua said that both countries had a “candid” exchange of views on their maritime spat.
But the two countries agreed to “use well the Sino-Vietnam government border negotiation mechanism, uphold friendly consultations and negotiations to look for a basic and lasting resolution both countries can accept”, the statement said.
China and Vietnam should also “proactively look for transitional resolution methods which do not affect either side’s position, including looking at and discussing joint development”.
Neither country should do anything to “complicate or expand” the dispute in order to ensure peace and stability in the sea, the statement added.
Communist parties rule both countries and trade has swelled to $50 billion annually, but Vietnam has long been suspicious of its giant neighbor, especially over Beijing’s increasingly assertive claims to almost the entire South China Sea.
Anti-Chinese violence flared in Vietnam last year after a $1-billion deepwater rig owned by China’s state-run CNOOC oil company was parked 240 km (150 miles) off the coast of Vietnam in the South China Sea.
Since then, however, China has sought to make amends with Vietnam, including sending senior officials to Hanoi.
Chinese President Xi Jinping told Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of Vietnam’s Communist Party, on Tuesday that the two countries must manage their dispute over the South China Sea well to maintain peace and stability.
Vietnam has strengthened its military relationship with old enemy the United States since the South China Sea dispute has heated up following Xi’s assumption of power in 2013, and Vietnam has also sought common ground with the Philippines on facing China over the spat.
China claims about 90 percent of the South China Sea, displaying its reach on official maps with a so-called nine-dash line that stretches deep into the maritime heart of Southeast Asia.
The Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims to parts of the potentially energy-rich waters that are crossed by key global shipping lanes.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)
Source: Reuters “China, Vietnam pledge peaceful resolution for sea dispute”
Just as this blogger predicted the day before yesterday in his post titled “Restoration of Chinese-Vietnamese Friendship Very Likely”, the restoration has become a reality now after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meeting with Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng’s special envoy Le Hong Anh.
Yesterday was the last day of Anh’s twe-day visit. He met Liu Yunshan, Chinese Politburo Standing Committee’s fifth-ranking member at par with Anh’s ranking. The meeting between the leaders of the same ranking proved that Anh’s initial talks with lower-ranking Chinese officials were acceptable to Chinese leaders while Xi’s meeting with Anh showed that China was satisfied with the results of the talks between Liu and Anh.
According to CCTV’s report, Anh and Liu reached the following consensus in principle to restore the two countries to the status before the incident caused by China’s deployment of an oil rig in disputed waters last May:
1. The leaders of the two parties and countries will further strengthen their direct guidance on the development of their bilateral relations;
2. Interparty contacts will continue to be deepened;
3. The important consensus previously reached shall be strictly complied with to maintain the overall situation of Sino-Vietnamese situation and peace and stability in the South China Sea.
Obviously, the pro-China faction headed by the general secretary and president has won its power struggle with the pro-US faction headed by the prime minister in Vietnam. As a result, CCTV report says Anh passed the oral message of the general secretary and president without mentioning the prime minister.
After the emergence of tension caused by the oil rig, there has been speculation that Vietnam will switch to US side, but it seems that Vietnam chooses to remain on Russian and Chinese side as Russian-Chinese alliance has been proved stronger than the US.
The restoration of friendship between China and Vietnam is Xi Jinping’s major diplomatic success in countering US pivot to Asia aimed at containing China. It will certainly lead to the restoration of good relations between China and Japan and make the Philippines isolated in its confrontation with China.
The following is the full text of Reuters report on the issue:
China says wants to mend ties with Vietnam: Xinhua
China’s President Xi Jinping told a special envoy from Vietnam on Wednesday that both countries should be “friendly to each other” to help mend ties after a flare-up over sovereignty in the South China Sea, the official Xinhua news agency said.
The visit to Beijing by Le Hongh Anh, a member of the Vietnamese Communist Party’s powerful politburo, is the first sign of a concerted effort to heal the rift between the two countries, which share annual trade worth $50 billion.
“(I) hope the Vietnamese will make joint efforts with the Chinese to put the bilateral relationship back on the right track of development,” Xinhua quoted Xi as telling Le Hong Anh.
“A neighbor cannot be moved away and it is in the common interests of both sides to be friendly to each other.”
Earlier, Liu Yunshan, a member of China’s elite Politburo Standing Committee, was quoted by Xinhua as telling the visitor that both sides should bring bilateral relations back on track.
“China-Vietnam relations for a while have been tense and difficult, which we do not want to see,” Liu said, adding that Le Hongh Anh’s visit reflected the Vietnamese government’s “political will to mend and develop bilateral relations”.
Under an agreement reached between Liu and the visitor, China and Vietnam will earnestly implement a basic guideline for the resolution of China-Vietnam maritime issues signed in October 2011, Xinhua said.
They agreed to seek lasting solutions acceptable to both sides, studying joint exploration of the South China Sea and avoiding actions that complicate disputes, it added.
Relations between the two Communist neighbors sank to their lowest level in three decades this year after China deployed a $1-billion oil rig in waters Vietnam claims as its exclusive economic zone. China moved the rig on July 16, saying its mission was complete.
Rare protests in Vietnam turned violent in several industrialized provinces in May, with bloody clashes between Vietnamese and Chinese workers in central Ha Tinh province killing at least four people and wounding at least 100. About 4,000 Chinese workers fled Vietnam.
Vietnam, which relies heavily on Chinese materials for its manufacturing sector, has good economic reasons for mending ties with its giant northern neighbor, but perceived concessions to Beijing could prove deeply unpopular at home.
The dispute has seen Vietnam forge closer alliances with other countries locked in maritime rows with China, including the Philippines and Japan.
Source: CCTV “Liu Yunshan held talks with Vietnamese Communist Party general secretary’s special envoy” and “Xi Jinping met Vietnamese Communist Party general secretary’s special envoy” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the reports in Chinese)
Source: Reuters “China says wants to mend ties with Vietnam: Xinhua”
- China Has to Ease Tension with Japan, Vietnam to Prove Its Peaceful Rise Intention dated August 27, 2014
- Restoration of Chinese-Vietnamese Friendship Very Likely dated August 26, 2014
- China Uses Fishermen to Attack Vietnamese Fishing Boats at South China Sea dated August 25, 2014
- Chinese Ships Rammed, Damaged Vietnamese Ship in Disputed Waters dated June 26, 2014
- China massive construction of surveillance fleet including world largest patrol ship dated January 22, 2014
China’s Global Times says in its report today that Vietnam will send a special envoy to China to improve relations.
Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on August 25 that Politburo member and Standing Secretary of the Secretariat Le Hong Anh will visit China as General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng’s special envoy for two days from August 26. The visit has drawn outside world’s keen interest
Associate Press says that the visit will be the second high level visit since China’s deployment of an oil rig at the South China Sea gave rise to tension between the two countries in May. The first visit was Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi’s visit to Vietnam in June.
CHANGE IN TONE
On August 25, Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokesman Le Hai Binh reiterated Vietnam’s regret for the incident against Chinese enterprises and workers in May and grief for the death and injury suffered by Chinese workers. He expressed Vietnam’s intention to provide humanitarian compensations for Chinese victims in a certain manner and send a condolation delegation to visit victims’ relatives. Vietnam will adopt various policies and measures to help and support the enterprises affected, continue its investigation of the incidents, severely punish participants in the riots and ensure the safety of Chinese workers and enterprises in Vietnam.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on August 25 that China regarded as positive Vietnam’s efforts and attitude and hoped that the Vietnamese side would do a good job in implementing the measures.
Associate Press says in its report that the deployment of China’s oil rig gave rise to a furious reactions in Vietnam including standoff between Chinese and Vietnamese ships near the rig and anti-Chinese riots in some areas, causing the death of a few Chinese. It led to speculation that Vietnam’s secretive government might readjust its relationship with Beijing and even seek closer relations with the United States.
In its report, AP also notices the recent change in tone. It says, “But several analysts have said the government was split between those favoring a strategic shift to Washington and a faction believing that China, its ideological ally, giant neighbor and vital economic partner, can be accommodated despite Beijing’s stated claims on large parts of the South China Sea that Hanoi believes are its own.” The Ministry’s “statement announcing the envoy’s visit on Tuesday and Wednesday was notably short of the angry rhetoric that Hanoi used during the crisis”
Wall Street Journal says that Vietnam says Le Hong Anh’s visit aims at ensuring no repetition of the oil rig incident and “promoting long-term development of sound and stable relations between the two parties and countries”. Le Hong Anh is ranked No. 5 in the politburo behind the general secretary, the president, the prime minister and the chairman of the national assembly. He will be the official of highest ranking who contacts China after the oil rig incident.
Associated Press, however, says, “Nguyen Trong Vinh, former Vietnamese ambassador to China and well-known for his hard line toward Beijing, was skeptical about the talks.” It quotes Vinh as saying, “There will be nothing. China will never compromise. Their removal of the oil rig was only temporary. They will never abandon their wicked ambitions of taking a monopoly over the East Sea.” East Sea is the Vietnamese term for the South China Sea.”
In addition, Associated Press says, “Nguyen Quang A, an economist who often speaks out against the government, said he welcomed the talks but was concerned Beijing might be trying to persuade Hanoi to drop its threat of taking international legal action against China’s territorial claims.”
This blogger believes there is a great possibility for easing of tension between China and Vietnam. Anh’s visit takes place after Vietnam has sent a delegation to the US. Obviously, the US is not willing to be militarily involved in the conflicts between Vietnam and China. It is not even willing to send troops to Iraq to eliminate the terrorists who have openly announced that they will conduct terrorist attack at the US.
The US is not even willing to fight a war for its homeland security. How can Vietnam expect that the US will help it militarily? What benefit will the US get by helping Vietnam fight China? There is nothing attractive Vietnam can offer the US in return for its military assistance.
There are only the following two countries strong enough that can help Vietnam counter China: the US and Russia. The US only wants Vietnam to create trouble for China mostly on its own with very limited US assistance while Russia is now China’s ally.
There is another important factor that the two US media perhaps have overlooked. They believe China and Vietnam share the communist ideology. In fact, China is entirely a capitalist country now and is pursuing a reform to make it even more capitalist. Compared with China, Vietnam is more communist but is trying to follow China’s example.
What the US media have overlooked is that both China and Vietnam are autocracies that share common autocratic values. In the long-run, if Russia succeeds in establishing a new Cold War camp, it will be an autocracy camp consisting of most autocratic countries including North Korea, Cuba, members of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, etc. Therefore, essentially, Vietnam regards the US as an adversary and China as a potential ally when the West wants a democratic reform in it.
Due to their identical autocratic values and the mediation of Russia that is also an autocracy, China and Vietnam will be able to restore their friendly relations. The conflict of interests can be overcome as China has declared since long ago its willingness to exploit the resources in disputed waters and islands jointly with other claimants.
China is now adopting a carrot-and-stick policy. It applies stick to disallow Vietnam to exploit the resources in disputed waters when Vietnam confronts it. However, when Vietnam is willing to be China’s friend, China is willing to jointly exploit the resources with Vietnam. As China has the technology and funds for the exploitation, It after all will get a larger share while Vietnam will be willing to let China take a larger share. If it wants other countries to provide technology and funds it has to allow them to take their shares.
In fact, China is not so greedy as to want to have the resources exclusively as its own. Malaysia is a good example. China allows it to exploit the resources in the waters claimed by both countries. Both Vietnam and the Philippines can follow Malaysian example but they are greedy. They want the resources exclusively as their own. They confront China as they have the illusion that their greed will be supported by the United States.
Now Vietnam has realized US inaction and inability. It will be much possible for a diplomatic solution of the dispute between China and Vietnam. With only the Philippines left, there will be little chance of a war in the South China Sea.
Source: Global Times “Vietnamese Party General Secretary sending a special envoy to China attracts great interest and rouses great concerns among hardliners” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
Source: Associate Press “Vietnam sends envoy to China to smooth tensions”
- China Uses Fishermen to Attack Vietnamese Fishing Boats at South China Sea dated August 25, 2014
- Chinese Ships Rammed, Damaged Vietnamese Ship in Disputed Waters dated June 26, 2014
- China massive construction of surveillance fleet including world largest patrol ship dated January 22, 2014
China’s top diplomat scolded Vietnamese officials during talks in Hanoi on Wednesday for “hyping up” a row over a Chinese oil rig drilling in disputed waters in the South China Sea, in tough comments that suggest relations will remain rocky.
State Councilor Yang Jiechi also told his hosts that the rig’s activities in waters that Vietnam lays claim to were “completely legal”, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily briefing in Beijing.
Yang, who outranks the country’s foreign minister, made the remarks in a meeting with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh. He later met Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party.
The lack of any breakthrough suggests China and Vietnam are far from resolving one of the worst breakdowns in their relations since they fought a brief war in 1979. Among the obstacles is Beijing’s demand for compensation for anti-Chinese riots that erupted in Vietnam after the drilling platform was deployed on May 2.
“The most urgent thing is for Vietnam to stop its interference and harassment, stop hyping up the issue and stop whipping up disagreement to create new disputes, and properly deal with the aftermath of the recent serious incidents of violence,” Hua said, describing Yang’s comments.
In a later statement, China’s Foreign Ministry said Yang told General Secretary Trong that both countries should try and resolve their differences no matter how hard that seemed.
“Both sides should uphold the having of bilateral communications to stabilize the situation as soon as possible,” Yang said, adding that they owed this to both of their peoples.
Vietnam took a more conciliatory tone, releasing two similarly worded accounts of Yang’s meetings with Dung and Minh, in which it lauded the two sides’ friendship and cooperation, but gave no indication of any progress.
Dung said Vietnam was always “grateful for the support and great help from China”, according to one statement, and that the two countries “need to control the situation, not let conflict happen, continue to maintain contacts and negotiations” and handle disputes promptly.
However, Dung demanded China removed the rig, which he said was a violation of international law and Vietnam’s sovereignty.
Yang’s visit is the highest-level direct contact between the two sides since the rig was parked 240 km (150 miles) off the coast of Vietnam. Vietnam says the platform is in its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone and on its continental shelf. China has said the rig is operating completely within its waters near the Paracel Islands, which are occupied by China.
“Yang stressed that the Paracel Islands are China’s inherent territory and that there exists no dispute about this,” Hua said, adding that Vietnam was “continually illegally harassing Chinese drilling operations”.
Nevertheless, both sides believed the talks were “frank and constructive”, Hua added.
Earlier, Yang and Minh shook hands without smiling in front of reporters at a government guesthouse. Outside the building, neither country’s national flag was flying, as is customary when senior foreign visitors attend meetings in Hanoi.
Sino-Vietnamese ties have been largely frozen since early May, with both sides accusing the other of inflaming the situation. Dozens of Vietnamese and Chinese coastguard and fishing vessels have repeatedly squared off around the rig, resulting in a number of rammings and collisions.
Vietnam’s official newspaper Tuoi Tre (Youth) had quoted a senior Vietnamese naval official as saying Chinese ships had been less aggressive, suggesting an effort to dial down tension ahead of Yang’s visit.
Communist parties rule both countries and their trade has swelled to $50 billion annually, but Vietnam has long been suspicious of its giant neighbor, especially over China’s claims to almost the entire South China Sea. Ordinary Vietnamese are also quickly angered by any perceived bullying from China.
The Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have claims to parts of the potentially energy-rich waters, and China has looked on with suspicion at what it sees as U.S. moves to “provoke” tension by supporting its regional allies, notably Vietnam and the Philippines.
“The United States keeps pushing its pivot to the Asia Pacific strategy, provoking relevant countries to rely on U.S. strength and use violence to scheme at sea, which worsens the problem and increases antagonism,” state media on Wednesday quoted a Chinese military think tank as saying in a report.
Deployment of the Haiyang Shiyou 981 rig triggered rioting in Vietnam in which four people were killed and factories believed to be owned by Chinese companies were looted. Many were Taiwanese-owned. Vietnam detained several hundred people after the violence. About a dozen have been tried and jailed for up to three years.
Dung told Yang the riots were “unfortunate and unintended”.
He said last month that his government was considering legal action against China. That angered Beijing. China has said the rig will explore until mid-August. It has a good chance of finding enough gas to put the area into production, Chinese industry experts have said.
Source: Reuters “China scolds Vietnam for ‘hyping’ South China Sea oil rig row”
- War Unlikely between China and Japan but Very Likely between China and Vietnam dated June 15, 2014
- China Has Made Decision on War with Vietnam, Be on Alert dated June 13, 2014
- China Taking Offensives at South China Sea in Earnest and with Vigor dated June 7, 2014
- Design of China’s Military Base to Be Built on Reef in South China Sea dated May 25, 2014
- China’s Offensives in South China Sea: Coordinated with Russia’s in Ukraine? dated May 19, 2014
- China to Build USD5 Billion South China Sea Military Base at Fiery Cross Reef dated February 12, 2014