Trong’s Beijing visit could bring Vietnam closer to China — H Talk Asia

Vietnam’s Communist Party Secretary-General Nguyen Phu Trong’s Oct. 30 visit to Beijing at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping is being viewed by regional analysts as a way to ensure ties remain strong at a time when others Allies like Russia are too focused on regional conflicts.

Trong is the first foreign leader to visit China after the Chinese Communist Party’s 20th National Congress, when Xi was elected the party’s general secretary for a third term.

Vietnam’s state media reported that President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and many senior officials bid farewell to Trong’s delegation at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport, stressing the importance of the visit.

Thanh Mai, a Facebook user with more than 52,000 followers, said the trip was “a testament to the unity of the Vietnamese leadership as well as Secretary-General Nguyen Phu Trong’s leading role in Vietnamese politics,” adding that the farewell ceremony ” sends”. a clear message that Nguyen Phu Trong represents the Vietnamese leadership, so of course all agreements and commitments made by him are also the agreements of all other Vietnamese authorities.”

China is one of four countries that currently have a comprehensive strategic partnership with Vietnam, the highest level of diplomatic relations between nations. The remaining three countries are Russia, India and South Korea.

China is also Vietnam’s largest trading partner. Bilateral trade reached $230.2 billion in 2021, up 19.7% year on year, according to Chinese government data.

Vietnam and China also share political similarities as both countries are exclusively run by communist parties.

Southeast Asia regional expert Carl Thayer said RFA Trong’s trip took place in the context of Vietnam, which is facing a rapidly changing international situation with an increased risk of armed conflict.

“From Hanoi’s perspective, the uncertainties about the future of Russia under Vladimir Putin and the United States under Joe Biden following the midterm elections only underscore the importance of stability and continuity in China under Xi Jinping, who was re-elected to a third term,” he said.

Thayer said the main goal of Trong’s visit to China is to work with his counterpart to find a sensible way to keep the bilateral ties on an even keel.

“The meeting between the secretaries-general of the ruling communist parties in China and Vietnam is very important for both sides for domestic reasons, because it underlines the legitimacy of their one-party regimes, socialist ideology and development paths. It is doubly important for Vietnam because one of its key allies, Russia, is weakened, isolated and more dependent on China.”

Paris-based researcher Truong Nhan Tuan said Vietnam will continue to follow China’s political model.

“Instead of the people being the central goal that the party should serve, the party has become the central goal that the people should serve,” he wrote on Facebook.

Tuan compared the trip to the ancient custom of Vietnamese kings to send envoys to China.

“Vuong Trong tortured himself just to prove he was one of the most loyal people to Emperor Xi,” he wrote.

According to researcher Tran Duc Anh Son, from 1804 to 1945, the Vietnamese Nguyen Dynasty was required to send tributes to China every two years and an envoy every four years. He said Vietnam must also send an envoy to Beijing every time a Chinese emperor died and every time a new emperor was crowned.

Writer Luu Trong Van, who has more than 106,000 Facebook followers, said the current Vietnamese leadership should balance diplomacy between China and the United States. He said then-US President Donald Trump invited Trong to the US during a visit to Hanoi. Trong agreed, but was unable to make the trip for health reasons.

“Trong is very healthy now. Unfortunately trump [is no longer president] So Trong cannot return the same type of visit as he did to Xi,” he wrote. “Hopefully, the State Department will soon announce that President Biden will continue to honor Trump’s invitation to the US to make Vietnam a foreign country [relations] is balanced.

“Most Vietnamese would be happier if their supreme leader had the same words with the US president as with the Chinese leader,” Van wrote.

The United States and Vietnam have a comprehensive partnership, and Washington has repeatedly proposed upgrading it to a comprehensive strategic partnership, but Hanoi has not yet agreed. Some international experts say Vietnam is hesitant because it doesn’t want to damage ties with China.

“Vietnam cannot turn to the United States for two reasons: fear of being dragged into an anti-China alliance and fear of being abandoned if the US and China form a concert of powers,” said Professor Thayer.