China, Vietnam strive to advance ties to a new level; ‘mutual political trust withstands outside power sowing discord’
Global Times, November 1, 2022 — China and Vietnam agreed on Monday to strengthen strategic communication, enhance political mutual trust, properly manage differences in a bid to bring their comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership in the new era to a new level as Chinese top leader met Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee in Beijing.
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and Chinese president, welcomed Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the CPV Central Committee at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday. The two leaders witnessed the signing of a batch of cooperation papers in multiple fields, which analysts said reflected the high level of political trust and laid the foundation for further deepening of bilateral relations in the future amid a more complicated international environment.
During their meeting, Xi said that Nguyen was the first foreign leader he met after the conclusion of the 20th CPC National Congress, and this was also Nguyen’s first trip abroad following the 13th National Congress of the CPV, which showed that they paid great attention to the relations between the two countries and the two parties.
Xi said that as China and Vietnam face new opportunities and challenges, he is willing to work with Nguyen to deeply exchange views on the socialist building and the development of relations between the two parties and two countries.
On Monday, Xi also awarded Nguyen the Friendship Medal of the People’s Republic of China – a medal that is bestowed on foreigners who have made outstanding contributions to China’s socialist modernization, the promotion of exchange and cooperation between China and foreign countries.
Nguyen said that he has fulfilled his promise to Xi that he would visit China for his first international visit following his re-election as General Secretary of the CPV Central Committee in January 2021. Back in November 2017, Xi chose Vietnam as his first overseas destination after the 19th CPC National Congress.
Following Monday’s talks, the two leaders witnessed the signing of cooperation documents on political parties, economy and trade, environmental protection, culture and tourism, justice, customs and local affairs.
Nguyen’s visit to China is yielding fruitful achievements, with the signing of cooperation documents in various fields. This also showcases the relations of China and Vietnam as good comrades, neighbors, partners and friends, Xu Liping, director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
Xu said that it has also been a time-honored tradition that the close relations between the CPC and the CPV have led to good relations between the two countries, which means that even when the two countries face disputes or when other countries outside the region try to sow discord between them, both sides can help resolve differences and dispel misunderstandings.
In the context of the international and regional situation resulting in many complicated and unpredictable developments and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a negative and multidimensional impact on the global political and economic situation, Nguyen’s visit plays a very important role in further enhancing and deepening Vietnam-China relations, consolidating political trust between the two parties and countries, and contributing to bringing bilateral relations to a new stage of development, Vietnamese Ambassador to China Pham Sao Mai said in an interview with Nhan Dan Newspaper.
The two leaders agreed to continuously advance socialist modernization, align development strategies, and promote cooperation in various areas, such as medical and health care, green development, digital economy and climate change.
For the cause of socialism and China-Vietnam relations, adhering to the correct political direction is paramount, Xi said.
China regards the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy and a key region in high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and attaches importance to Vietnam’s role in the ASEAN, Xi said.
Nguyen said that Vietnam is willing to further synergize the “Two Corridors and One Economic Circle” and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
One focus for Nguyen’s visit to China is trade and economic cooperation, as China’s huge market provides tremendous opportunities for Vietnam industries, especially for agricultural and fishery products, Sun Xiaoying, a research fellow at the Guangxi Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
China has been Vietnam’s largest trading partner for many consecutive years and Vietnam remains China’s largest trading partner among the ASEAN members. According to the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade, China has been Vietnam’s biggest importer with a turnover of some $55.9 billion, up 37 times from the figure in 2002.
Vietnam is not only a key member of ASEAN but also an important economy that participates in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which has been greatly promoted by China and other key economies in the Asia-Pacific region, so both China and Vietnam have a strong need to strengthen bilateral ties because they see each other as key strategic partners to further boost regional economic recovery and integration, especially when the world is in a state of serious turbulence, said analysts.
Western media has been keen to compare China and Vietnam, and has seemed eager to hype topics about “Made in Vietnam” replacing “Made in China” in recent years.
Analysts said China never sees Vietnam or other countries’ development as a threat, and never has plans to contain others’ development, like what the US is doing to China at the moment, and Chinese modernization aims to have win-win relations with other countries’ modernization, so China will not contain but help partners like Vietnam to better realize their modernization and development goals.
Ahead of Nguyen’s visit, China and Vietnam held the 11th meeting of the China-Vietnam Economic and Trade Cooperation Committee in October, during which the two countries exchanged views on cooperation in trade, investment and industrial chain, while reaching consensus in a range of key regional economic and trade issues.
There are some unresolved problems between China and Vietnam, including on the South China Sea, and new ones are emerging, including those related to the geopolitical games of great powers, adjustments of the global supply chain and opening up in the post-COVID-19 era, but the two sides are also deepening communication on managing their disputes to further improve mutual trust, which will help improve bilateral relations and maintain regional peace and stability, analysts said.
Xu noted that in recent years, Vietnam has played a more important role in ASEAN, and better relations between China and Vietnam will not only benefit the two peoples, but also help economic recovery in Asia, especially amid increasing interference from the US and other external forces.
China and Vietnam are both socialist countries and have successfully explored the path that meets their national conditions, so no matter what difficulties or problems they have, they share a significant common goal – to make socialism keep up with the times and withstand the impacts from external forces that threaten their socialist political system, and this is why the two countries are “comrades, neighbors, partners and friends” that are able to handle their problems peacefully and have common faith in serving their people and safeguarding regional peace and prosperity, experts noted.