News / Asia

Vietnam Defends Foreign Policy, China Ties

Vietnam map
Vietnam map
Marianne Brown

Vietnam said Thursday that its foreign policy is aimed at protecting the country’s independence. The comment follows a letter from prominent members of the Communist Party to the country’s top leaders calling for political and economic reforms to end the country’s “reliance” on China.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday defended Hanoi’s foreign policy following a question related to an open letter from prominent members of the Communist Party that urged the country to end its close relationship with China.

Speaking at a regular press briefing in the capital, spokesman Le Hai Binh said Vietnam’s current policy aims to “protect the independence, reliance and diversification” of international relations.

He said the implementation of Vietnam’s foreign policy has “greatly contributed to heightening the position of Vietnam on the global stage as well as contributing to the development and depiction of the country,” said Hai.

Open letter

Earlier this week, around 60 prominent members of Vietnam’s Communist Party sent an open letter to the Central Committee - the party’s highest level - saying that Hanoi has paid a high price for conceding too much to China’s demands.

The letter came after weeks of diplomatic crisis, sparked in May when China deployed an oil rig in waters also claimed by Vietnam. Beijing removed the rig earlier this month to avoid an oncoming typhoon.

Professor Tuong Lai, advisor to two prime ministers, was one of the signatories of the letter to senior leaders.

He says the letter was different from previous ones because everyone who signed is a member of the Communist Party.

Diplomacy over the last few months has been tense between the two countries, especially after anti-China protests sparked riots in Vietnamese industrial zones in May, leaving several Chinese workers dead. China is Vietnam’s biggest trading partner.

The letter also included a recommendation for Hanoi to sue Beijing in the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea.

Implementing reforms

Tuong Lai said that by bowing to China, the Vietnamese people are losing confidence in the Party.

Another signatory is 69-year-old Pham Chi Lan, former deputy chairwoman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and ex-member of the Prime Minister's Research Board. She still works as an advisor for several ministries.

She said Vietnam needs to integrate more with countries like India, South Korea, Japan and other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to escape reliance on China.

The country also needs to implement institutional reforms, she says. For instance, if the party still wants to develop a “market economy with socialist orientation,” as it does now, it will be difficult because the definition of this term is not clear.

Tuong Lai said the idea is not to overthrow the Communist Party, but to build it. But building means reform.

“If we keep it unchanged, the party will fall because people’s confidence is very low,” he says.

You May Like

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Crowdfunding Helps Save Neil Armstrong's Spacesuit

Smithsonian turns to Kickstarter to raise more than $700,000 to help preserve the spacesuit worn by the first man to walk on the moon More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Steven from: Houston
August 11, 2014 9:57 PM
This is full of crap. Vietnam follows its big brother, China, for fear of losing political grip in the wind of change in 1989-1990 when communism around the world was collapsing. The Politicians look to protect their own interests and lining their own pockets. Sooner or later, if they continues to align with China, they will not only lose their position of power, but may also be their heads. Truth be told!

by: c tran from: orange
August 02, 2014 4:27 PM
Vietnam has serious issues and dilemmas, and it will be difficult for the govt to decide their moves. Side with their big neighbor and "red capitalist" brother china and lose their country. (Vietnam will or already is essentially a Chinese province) OR ally themselves with the USA and the civilized democratic world like Japan, Taiwan, south Korea and lose their communist party. So read our people's history and realize that our history enemy has always been China and let's give the people of Vietnam the basic human freedoms it deserves like ho chi minh said in his declaration of independence speech and stop pretending that China is a good of ours. Wake up Hanoi.

by: Frankie Fook-lun Leung from: Los Angeles
August 01, 2014 6:57 PM
Vietnam even after unification has been a troubling neighbour of China. Even when both of them were communist countries,and fighting the common enemy such as USA, Vietnam turned to Soviet Union for help too. When Vietnam attacked Cambodia under Khemer Rhouge, China sided with Cambodia. So, even in the last forty years, the relationship between Vietnam and China is not love. Above all, China started a war with Vietnam.

by: Gene Wheeler from: USA
August 01, 2014 2:53 PM
Know they won't what the United States tried to give them during the Vietnam war.

by: Lucky Luke from: USA
August 01, 2014 1:30 PM
Vietnam needs to root out graft and corruption in government system to gain people's confident. Corruption at all levels have been around for so long, it has grown into a way of life.
In Response

by: c tran from: orange
August 02, 2014 4:29 PM
Exactly

by: News from: US
August 01, 2014 9:04 AM
Can both communist and socialist be mixed?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs