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.

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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?

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