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

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

    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.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.