Vietnamese politics is inherently dependent, and it is not difficult to assert which country it depends on. The fact that Vietnam increasingly depends on China is a topic that has been discussed by society for a long time, not recently. From political dependence, it leads to economic dependence, and the limited issue of military power development as well.
Economically, China is Vietnam’s biggest exporter while the US is Vietnam’s largest export market. People consider Vietnam as an intermediary for dollars to run from the US to Vietnam and then pour it into China. In recent years, economic experts have warned that Vietnam allows China to borrow ways to export its goods to the US to enjoy tax incentives. However, if we give warnings, we should give warnings and Vietnam continues to help China. Blocking China is considered to be very sensitive by the Vietnamese Party and government while blocking economic roads, it is affecting politics. But what is related to politics with China, the Hanoi government is very afraid to implement. Reality has shown that.
There are new political relations with economic contracts, that everyone knows. However, the agreements, the purely economic contracts are not secret, but often the government will publish on the government’s Web site or publicly announce in the state media. However, the treaties that involve politics, especially the unequal treatment of each other, Vietnam will put it in the “top secret” category without letting the people know. That’s the problem.
What did Nguyen Phu Trong do to create a good relationship with Xi Jinping?
In January 2011, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong became the general secretary of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam. In October 2011, he went to Beijing to meet Ho Jintao. Then in April 2015, he went to Beijing to visit Xi Jinping again. In January 2017, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong went to Beijing to meet Xi Jinping again. These are one-way trips to Vietnam from Vietnam to China, while the trips of the Chinese President to Vietnam are not rare, especially under Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong as General Secretary, the two sides often exchange high-ranking visits and signed many documents. It is worth mentioning that in January 2017, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong visited Beijing to sign 15 documents with their content being completely confidential. In early November 2017, Mr. Xi Jinping visited Vietnam again and the two leaders also signed 12 more secret documents. So far, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong has signed with Xi Jinping at least 27 secret documents on political and economic issues between the two countries.
As mentioned, there is nothing to hide about economic issues, people only conceal from the content related to political issues, or economic agreements with political colors. So among the 27 secret documents that Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong signed with Xi Jinping, people suspect that these are unfavorable documents for Vietnam. And in fact, in the issue of territorial sea disputes in recent years, Vietnam has given up. Even in the issue of economic projects, particularly the Cat Linh – Ha Dong elevated railway project, the Chinese side was very scandalous, but the Vietnamese side kept holding it off, it is an indisputable fact.
So far, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong is the person with the highest number of visits to Beijing. In the previous two terms, he went to China. However, it is unclear whether he has a plan to visit China or not.
Until now, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong has created a very good relationship with Xi Jinping. However, political relations are always two-edged, and when the benefits of exploitation disappear, it is easy to turn to confrontation.
Does Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong still keep a good relationship with China in his 3rd term?
The close relationship with China gives Nguyen Phu Trong the most powerful political power today, so it is understandable that Nguyen Phu Trong will keep this relationship well or tighten it further. He was old and weak and he needed himself to be safe from the emerging young forces in the Communist Party of Vietnam.
However, on the other side, Mr. Xi Jinping is also concerned about whether Nguyen Phu Trong will separate from the Chinese orbit to fall back to the US ?! Xi Jinping understands that in politics nothing is ensured. Therefore, when Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong was elected for the third term, Mr. Tap Can Binh was the first to call to congratulate him, proving that Mr. Xi was very interested in the personnel of the Communist Party of Vietnam. Who gets on and who gets down is very important to Xi Jinping’s foreign policy because Vietnam is strategically positioned for Xi Jinping’s plan to influence the world.
Xi Jinping’s early congratulatory call has a lot of meaning, it shows the interest of “you to me” in the relationship based on the communism ideology, but inside that, Xi Jinping also wants to send to Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong that he is watching the movement and attitude of Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong. This is what Nguyen Phu Trong’s side needs to understand.
On February 19, Mr. Xi Jinping suddenly sent Minister of Public Security Mr. Zhao Kezhi to visit Vietnam and during the visit, he was hosted by Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong. Thus, Xi Jinping’s intentions are quite clear, he wants to assert Nguyen Phu Trong that “the relationship between Vietnam and China is closer, then it must be closed.” The problem here is, a Minister of Public Security has intelligence in his hand. It is known that the police always provide intelligence officers for embassies. The fact that the Chinese Minister of Public Security suddenly visited Nguyen Phu Trong, it must be said that Xi Jinping’s intentions are very profound. A tough message is sending to Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong.
Will Nguyen Phu Trong be stuck?
Of course, every meeting is called “consolidating and developing friendly neighbor relations.” However, understanding between the two is important.
On the website of the Vietnam News Agency, they said that Mr. Zhao Kezhi was visiting Vietnam and co-chaired the Conference on Cooperation in Crime Prevention and Control between the two Ministries of Public Security of the two countries. This reason is quite plausible, and it is used as a barrier to shield other meanings only. However, no matter what it means, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong is not difficult to deal with in this issue. With 27 signed secret documents and keeping the relationship between the two countries assigned is satisfaction with Mr. Xi Jinping. Not to mention the political issue, just in terms of economy, it is easy to see that Vietnam is increasingly dependent on China when 2020 sees Vietnam’s imports from China increased from 2019 despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Vietnam News Agency quoted Mr. Trong as saying: “Vietnam is willing to work with the Chinese side to maintain high-level exchanges, control disputes, and implement effective cooperation in all fields, constantly promoting the healthy and stable development of Vietnam – China relations.”
Political language has many profound meanings. In his statement, Mr. Nguyen Phu used the word “to control disagreements well.” However, whoever has control does not need to explain. In the ancient conflict between Vietnam and China, only Vietnam made concessions, but China never did. “Well-controlled disagreement” is that Vietnam must give up. It is this that Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong has made Mr. Xi Jinping quite satisfied.
Mild testing of the Chinese side
During this visit, the Chinese Minister of Public Security said the purpose of this visit is to “grasp the realization of high-level common awareness, especially in the field of law enforcement.”
Diplomatically, every visit like this two sides always use good words for each other. However, sending a police official specializing in Chinese domestic security to Vietnam was already a message. With Mr. Trong’s intelligence, he would understand that.
Mr. Zhao Kezhi said that in the coming time, the two Ministries of Public Security will continue to coordinate “to well implement the common awareness” of senior leaders of the two parties and two countries, and further promote cooperation in the field of crime prevention.
Mr. Zhao Kezhi, who held his position since March 2018, came from a high school teacher and used to work in the Youth Union, but is known to be one of the tough people. among the leadership ranks of the Chinese Communist Party, the powerful aide of President Xi Jinping. This time he visited Nguyen Phu Trong which is said to bring Xi Jinping’s message to Nguyen Phu Trong and also wanted to remind Mr. Trong to know “keep a good relationship” between the two parties and the two leaders.
Zhao Kezhi once ordered the Chinese police to focus on “color revolutions” or popular revolts and considered the protection of the Chinese political system the main task of the Chinese security forces, according to Reuters.
“We must firmly defend the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the socialist system of our country,” said Zhao Kezhi. And now he takes on the responsibility of reminding Nguyen Phu Trong to “protect the two-party relationship.” This was a mild remind and surely Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong understands.