Nguyen Phu Trong visit highlights inter-party exchanges, closer cooperation: expert

Yang Sheng, Global Times, October 30, 2022 — At the invitation of Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and president of China, the visit by Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee (CPVCC), to China from Sunday to Wednesday, is expected to further deepen the China-Vietnam relations that are guided by the special ties between the two socialist ruling parties, and will boost regional economic recovery and integration while further consolidating peace and stability for the region, said experts.

The Vietnamese leader’s visit is his first foreign trip since being re-elected CPVCC general secretary in January 2021 and the first by a foreign leader to China after the conclusion of the 20th National Congress of the CPC. Chinese analysts said this reflects that Vietnam and the CPV regard China as a priority in their diplomatic policy.

Some Western media have hyped “frictions, disputes and competition” a lot between China and Vietnam, but Nguyen’s visit proves that the West fails to understand why the two communist parties of two important socialist countries can keep developing ties and also handle their frictions and disputes peacefully, said experts, noting the Western media have always made mistakes in understanding China’s ties with its neighbors.

Besides this visit, China will receive a series of important visits by other foreign leaders from different countries around the globe. According to the releases made by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will pay an official visit to China from November 1; Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan will pay a state visit to China from November 2 to 4; and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will pay an official visit to China on November 4Comrades and partners

China and Vietnam are two socialist countries and the ruling parties of the two countries have deep and long-standing relations with revolutionary tradition built in the era they fought side by side against foreign invaders and colonialists, so the bilateral ties of the two countries are always guided by the inter-party relations between the CPC and the CPV, said analysts.

Xu Liping, director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday that “China and Vietnam are comrades, neighbors, partners and friends. The two countries have many similarities – led by the communist parties with the faith to serve the people and implementing the diplomatic policy based on autonomy and independence.”

As the two socialist countries, both decided to pursue reform and opening-up in the 1970s and 1980s, and both achieved fast development and greatly improved the livelihoods of their peoples. So the CPC and the CPV have many opportunities for cooperation and exchanges, to better improve the governance of the socialist market economy and the party’s construction in the fields like anti-corruption and strengthening party’s leadership in the country’s governance in all aspects, said some experts.

The successful governance of the CPC in China and the CPV in Vietnam proves that socialism that keeps up with the times is vibrant and that communist parties are able to deliver modernization and development to their countries, said analysts. They provide more stability and certainty when compared with Western political systems.

Apart from the inter-party relations between the CPC and the CPV, the two countries are also neighbors that naturally share many common interests. According to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), the visit by the CPV’s leader is also expected to deepen trade ties.

China has remained Vietnam’s biggest trade partner, while Vietnam has continued to be the sixth largest trade partner of China, and the biggest in the Association of Southeast Asian nations (ASEAN) despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical upheavals in the world, the VNA reported.

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.

Notably, the group of processed and manufactured goods makes up 77.6 percent of Vietnam’s total export value to China. Meanwhile, machines and production materials account for up to 94.15 percent of Vietnam’s import revenue from China. Over the past two years, the bilateral trade still exceeded $100 billion despite impact from the pandemic, the VNA reported. Under the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA), China has cut tariffs for more than 8,000 items imported from Vietnam, including farm produce.

Peaceful ties despite disputes

For some time, some Western media and observers have tried to hype the disputes and competition between China and Vietnam. The US in the past few years has also tried to rope in Vietnam to join the US strategy to contain China, but the Nguyen’s visit just once again proves that the West has failed to understand and interpret the ties between China and its neighbor, said analysts.

The CPV also set ambitious “centenary goals” at its report for the 13th CPV National Congress in 2021 – to make Vietnam a developing country with a modern industry base and upper-middle income by 2030, the centenary of the CPV; to make Vietnam a high-income developed country by 2045, the centenary of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

Zhao Weihua, director of Center for China’s Relations with Neighboring Countries of the Institute of International Studies of Fudan University, said the CPV clearly understands that a peaceful and stable bilateral relationship with China will be crucial in the realization of Vietnam’s two “centenary goals.”

Unlike the US which is obsessed with containing others’ development and always makes decision based on zero-sum and Cold War mentality, China won’t treat Vietnam’s development as a threat, and won’t be jealous of the legitimate achievements of other countries, said experts, stressing that Chinese modernization will be realized together with its partners’ modernization, because China and its partners, including Vietnam, are making efforts to form a community with a shared future and without zero-sum confrontation.

Xu said China and Vietnam do have issues, such as maritime disputes in the South China Sea, but ties between the CPC and the CPV can help the two countries to better manage the differences and handle the disputes peacefully.

More importantly, the CPC and the CPV both face the ideological threats from the West, such as the “peaceful evolution” and “color revolution,” so the two parties share demand to discuss about how to better safeguard the security of socialist political systems and the political security of the ruling parties, said a Beijing-based expert on international relations who asked for anonymity.

Additionally, Vietnam in recent years is seeking to play a more important role in the ASEAN, so the development of China-Vietnam relations will also help China to further boost the economic recovery and integration for the whole region, and to further consolidate the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, to withstand the interference and interruption from external forces, said the expert.

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