Home Contact Us  

Southeast Asia - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#3536, 29 December 2011
Xi Jinping in Vietnam: Attempts at Reconciliation?
Amruta Karambelkar
Research Intern, SEARP, IPCS
email: amrutak@gmail.com

Xi Jinping, Vice President of People’s Republic of China paid an official visit to Vietnam from 20-22 December 2011. He met President Truong Tan San, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and other senior officials of the country. What does China and Vietnam expect out of this high level visit? Is China trying to mend ways with Vietnam? If so, will Vietnam respond positively?

During the visit China laid emphasis on strengthening strategic relationship with Vietnam. It promised economic assistance, increased bilateral trade and cooperation in education, youth affairs and health.  Vice President Xi said that China-Vietnam relations bear great strategic importance to both countries at this point of time. He hoped that the relations will continue to deepen under the motto “friendly neighbourliness, comprehensive cooperation, long-term stability and looking toward the future” and the spirit of “good neighbours, good friends, good comrades, and good partners.”  Xi Jinping hoped to take their strategic partnership to a new height on commonalities of ideology. Both sides agreed to increase high level visits and maintain close cooperation between two parties. A delegation of Chinese youth communist league visited Vietnam on a parallel. Leaders from both sides hailed role of youth in strengthening friendship between the two countries.

Vietnam would receive preferential credits worth US$300 million from China for development of infrastructure and towards other areas of cooperation. China Development Bank signed an agreement to lend US$ 200 million to Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) for a period of five years.  Xi hoped the bilateral trade to reach US$ 60 billion by 2015.

This move is particularly significant. One, it comes when Vietnam’s economy is low; inflation rate is over 20 per cent and its market is losing attraction as an investment destination. Chinese monetary aid comes in dire need. No other country has come forward to rescue Vietnam’s economic woes. The move is of course strategically aggressive, given that in October the bilateral trade aimed an increase to US$25 billion, two months later, the target soars to more than a double.  China has demonstrated its economic might such that (and rightly) it can come to the rescue of its neighbours in a time of crisis.

As far as maritime issues were concerned, both sides agreed to resolve the disputes peacefully, by respecting legitimate concerns of both the countries on the basis of international law, (UNCLOS 1982) and the spirit of the Declaration of Conduct on the South China Sea (and implementing the agreement on basic principles that guide resolution of maritime disputes).  It was decided to instruct the government officials to strictly implement the consensus reached by leaders of both countries during Nguyen Phu Trong's visit to China in October. Nothing concrete came out on the issue.

The visit is significant given its timing. Relations between China and Vietnam were strained in recent time over the South China Sea dispute. China is now reaching out to its neighbour in order to ‘strengthening cooperation in complex and changing international situation’. It does so with carrots of economic assistance.  It may be reconsidering its policy of sticks towards its neighbour.  

The visit demonstrates China’s attempts at taking control of issues that falls within what it considers its region of influence. It seems alarmed by the developments and configurations that are occurring over and after the SCS issue. China is reaching out to its neighbours on one-to one basis, with a hope to strike bilateral deals, as it always wanted to.  In a larger perspective, the strategy seems to counter the US’ presence in Asia. This could be achieved by bringing individual ASEAN members to its side.  China is using its soft power skills to revive its relations with Vietnam. During this visit Xi Jinping   hailed socialism and historic ties with Vietnam. The rhetoric was ‘similar political system, therefore similar political goals.’  

Vietnam echoed Xi’s views. Truong Tan Sang, President of Vietnam stated that Vietnam will look at China as a great friend, as it always did. Prime Minister Nguyen showed commitment to deepen their ‘priceless’ relations by engaging in all fields and ‘educating younger generation about friendly neighbourliness and mutual support.’ With massive Chinese aid coming to their rescue, Vietnam seemed content to not discuss the SCS dispute with any definite outcome.

Vietnam is known to balance its relations. Following the SCS dispute in recent times, on the one hand there have been speculations of it seeking US and India’s support to strengthen its military; while at the same time it wants to maintain its relations with China It’s behaviour towards China (and other actors like the US and India) would be contingent on whether China adopts carrots or sticks. When China shows aggression), Vietnam seeks support from other sources for itself. Likewise it tilts to Chinese carrots with similar ease.  It appears that Vietnam is careful not to sabotage its ties with China amidst regional developments and new configurations.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
India and Vietnam: Strengthening Bilateral Relations

Obama in Vietnam: Only Permanent Interests

Phillipines and the MILF-GPH Peace Agreement

Vietnam: Gay Pride Parade

Shangri La Dialogue: Southeast Asian Dynamics

Censorship Struggle and Social Change in Vietnam

Indo-Vietnam Defence Relations: Strategically Responsive

Vietnam and the South China Sea: Hypothetical Scenarios

The Curious Case of Tata Steel in Vietnam

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 January  February
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.