13/08/2013

Thoughts On President Truong Tan Sang’s Trip to China

Nguyễn Trọng Vĩnh

A friend of mine came to visit me after I was just back from my vacation. After exchanging a few courtesy words, he asked:

- Did you pay attention to President Truong Tan Sang’s visit to China?

- Yes.

- Did you read the joint statement? Any comments?

- Well, I did and below are my comments:

After the 11thCongress of the communist party, almost highest leaders have visited China. Meanwhile, President Truong Tan Sang has only visited the Philippines, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Russia, Brunei. He hadn’t traveled to China yet.

Having felt that President Truong Tan Sang might have unfavorable thoughts of China, Xi Jinping decided to invite President Truong Tan Sang to pay an official visit to China, with hope that Xi’s silver-tongued words and a warmly welcome could persuade and enlist President Sang’s sympathy and then President Sang might act in favor of China.

President Truong Tan Sang could not help but accept the invitation.

I have feeling that the"Vietnam – China Joint Statement" was prepared byChina and therefore mostly in their favor.

Right at the beginning of point 2, an obsolete foolish statement was mentioned: "..The motto of 16 words, spirit of 4 good pointsand the Vietnam - China friendship are a precious asset of the two countries" ...

As a matter of fact, the Chinese have so far never followed those guidelines seriously. In contrast,all of their actions have in deed always aimed at implementing their malicious conspiracy which is to control over Vietnam. In fact, they have held control over Vietnam militarily, politically and economically.

Militarily:

Apart from the invasion of Paracelislands in 1974 and the military offensives of 600 thousand troops on our border provinces in February 1979, since they launched the “16-word motto, 4 good spirits ", relying on stronger military, the Chinese have allowed themselves to act freely and spontaneously on the East Sea while we Vietnamese could not do anything.

The Global Times, an English Language daily under the Chinese communist party, reviles and intimidates Vietnam several times. Most notably, once this newspaper said aggressively “..killthe Vietnamese to celebrate the opening of the fight for Nansha (Spratly islands or Truong Sa in Vietnamese), we had to keep silence.

Politically:

China always hinders us from mentioning their invasion in February 1979 and prevents us from honoring those combatants fallen in that battle as well as our 64 naval seamen who lost their lives in the fight against Chinese offensive at Gac Ma reef of our Spratly islands. They also create strong pressure over Vietnamese leaders so that the expected activities to commemorate the fallen soldiers are prohibited.

China arbitrarily interferes in the interior issues, typically the personnel arrangement of Vietnam’s communist party and government. They prevent us from internationalizing the East Sea disputes or hinder us in our efforts to open multilateral negotiations. They press Vietnamese authorities to crack down people’s demonstrations and to forbid the media in denouncing their violation of Vietnam's sovereignty. Also, they do whatever possible to prevent Vietnam from improving relationship with the United States.

Recently, in our internal competition of writings on the thesis of “Learning and following President Ho Chi Minh”, any contestant mentioning negatively, though subtly, about China and the East Sea issue would not be considered. It looks like the Chinese can achieve whatever they want.

Economically

China almost rules over our domestic market which is rife with their harmful merchandise that unhealthily competes against domestically made goods. More viciously, through trading channel, the Chinese intentionally jeopardize our economy. Due to their tricky intrigues, our hundreds of tons of fruits such as watermelon and lychee are rottenright at Lang Son border gate. They also order a large amount of other agricultural produce at attractive offered prices then suddenly cancel those orders that push our farmers into extremely difficult situation.

As such, they dominate us on all three most important aspects.

So, is it true that our country’s independence is only formal?

In Section 3 of the joint statement, point IIIread: "... to enhance cooperation in the field of training for officials of the communist parties and the states...".

Does Vietnam help China in training their officials? Or Vietnam just sends officials to China for education and training in order for them to become indoctrinated in "allegiance to China"?

Point IV then read: "... to promote exchanges of communication at departmental level between the two foreign ministries".

Normally, diplomatic relations between nationsare maintained via talks and visits at highlevel, ministerial and deputy ministerial levels, but not lower than assistant ministerial level. So, what is China’s real intentionwhen they want to communicate at departmental level? Whether or not they want to invite Vietnamese officials at departmental level to China so that they have chance to entertain them in a way that they can bribe them to make them pro-China?

Point VII read: "...to encourage businesses of one country to invest in other country, to create favorable and safe conditions for such investments".

This is mostly in favor of Chinese businesses and not in favor of Vietnamese ones. Why? Becauseby nature, China is not a promising market for Vietnamese companies to invest in.China creates several barriers and obstacles that make it very tough for Vietnamese businesses to compete with their ones.

Point XI read: "... to strengthen cooperation between the provinces and autonomous regions at the border of the two countries, especially between 7 provinces of Vietnam - Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, Ha Giang, Cao Bang, Lang Son, QuangNinhand 4 autonomous regions of China - Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan and Hainan ... ".

Dien Bien province’s location is deep inside Vietnam. It has no borders with China at all, why China wants to involve it?Obviously there are bad intentions. What are the benefits of our provinces apart from some cheap and poor merchandise and easier tours to places like Kunming, Guilin. And what the Chinese benefit from? Once cooperation has been established, their spies, disguised as traders, are free to go about everywhere in our provinces and get to know all the terrain, road access, natural resources, minerals etc... and when necessary, those knowledge will become their weapon.

Point XII read: "... improve conditions as well as efficiency of the flow of people, goods and means of transport through border gates to serve travelling and socio-economic development…”

Again, this point is largely favorable to China. So far, it has always been difficult for us to control trafficking and poor quality goods (discarded poultry, animal viscera…). Now those stuffs would be brought into our country directly by the Chinese, so our control and quarantine over them would be even more difficult. At present, there are already about ten thousands Chinese people in our country to work for projects that they won bids including Tay Nguyen bauxite project and those who travel to our country then stay illegally. Now that the Chinese can enter our country more easily, that number will increase terribly and that could be considered as part of their army if military conflict occurs.

Regarding the East Sea related issues, the joint statement should have read: “to pursue negotiation on the basis of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982, to avoid any actions that cause further tensions, to finalize the Code of Conduct (COC)…”.

In fact, the statement read: “…make good use of such mechanisms as border and territory negotiations at the governmental level, persistently seek fundamental and long-term solutions acceptable to both sides through consultations and friendly negotiations...”

On the East Sea, both the Paracel and Spratly islands belong to Vietnam. Our territorial waters, continental shelf, exclusive economic zone have been defined and certified according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982. In this regard, China has absolutely nothing. The U-shaped map drawn by the Chinese Kuomintang government has no legal validity and has no international recognition. However, the Chinesespontaneously and loudly claim sovereignty over most of the East Sea (formerly known as South China Sea). They have nothing there, but they ask for something like "mutually acceptable". It's extremely unreasonable!

So far, all aggressive actions violating our sovereignty such as sending thousands of fishing vessels escorted by maritime surveillance ships and warships into our Spratly island; chasing, assaulting, even firing at vessels of our fishermen, damaging the petroleum survey activity within our continental shelf …have been publicly denounced by our Foreign Ministry and the Fisheries Association. Those events have also been reported by the international media.

Now, in the joint statement, under China’s pressure, it read: “..the agreement between the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture on setting up a hotline to deal with unexpected incidents in fishing activities at sea…. and agreed to settle unexpected incidents in fishing activities at sea between the two countries in a satisfactory manner in line with the two countries’ relationship..”, “…before sea-related issues are settled thoroughly, the two sides agreed to stay calm and restrain themselves so as not to complicate and expand disputes, at the same time make good use of the hotline for managing and controlling crisis at sea between the two Foreign Ministries, properly settling emerging issues with a constructive attitude…”.

So, from now on, if China takes any illegal and aggressive actions in the East Sea, Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Foreign Affairs could only express opposition internally by phone, out of the awareness of our people, not reported by media, unknown to international media, so that China’s ugly and aggressive face is not exposed.

Section 6 read: “…The two sides agreed to enhance coordination and collaboration at multilateral forums like the United Nations, World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, Asia-Europe Meeting, ASEAN Regional Forum, ASEAN plus China Summit, ASEAN plus China-Japan-Republic of Korea Summit and East Asia Summit…”.

In this case, “collaboration” means agreeing with China’s policy. In the above forums, countries like the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Bruneioften refer to China’s violation of their sovereignty. Those countries support the idea of no use of force. They advocate an early finalization and signing of the Code of Conduct. Meanwhile, as bound by the word "collaboration", China prevents Vietnam from denouncing their attitude and actions in the East Sea, which is China’s weakness politically and legally.

The fact that Vietnam, as the main victim of the East Sea crisis, does not speak out her voices, would make other concerned countries of ASEAN skeptical about Vietnam attitude and stance. This apparently affects the expected solid unity of those countries in order to cope with the Chinese expansionism.

Obviously, the "Joint Statement" is entirely beneficial to China while the Vietnam side is to be bound by several things.

Finally, President Truong Tan Sang invited President Xi Jinpingto visit Vietnam. Xi only said “thank you”, nobody knows he accepts the invitation or not.

What a "patronizing" attitude.

N. T. V.

Vietnamese version