Archive for Vietnam-China Relations

Vietnam Strengthens Naval Capabilities, But It’s Still Not Enough

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , on September 5, 2011 by Ian Pham

It has been long overdue, but the Vietnamese government is finally looking to strengthen its own military capabilities.  According to Blog Critics Politics (August 31, 2011), Vietnam has recently acquired a new Gepard class frigate from Russia, with additional orders placed on six new Project 636 Varshavyanka kilo-class submarines. The newly acquired Gepard class warship will be the most capable of Vietnam’s fleet, leading the way for the new development and modernization of Vietnam’s naval forces.

Modernizing the military for the purpose of defending Vietnam’s sovereignty against foreign aggression is a respectable endeavour.  The new weapons purchased from Russia will surely add some much needed muscle to the Vietnamese military, but even so, it will be far from enough. Last year, the People’s Republic of China spent about $91.5 billion on their defence budget, investing heavily in their naval capabilities, using advanced nuclear weapons technology.  If Hanoi wanted to challenge Beijing, there is still much work that needs to be done.  Not only will Vietnam need to order weapons from Russia, but they must look to the United States for support as well.

Currently, the U.S. is prohibited from selling weapons to Vietnam, as part of an arms embargo put in place since 1984.  However, there are many in the U.S. who are considering on lifting the ban of selling weapons to Vietnam.  However, the Vietnamese government’s constant abuse of human rights and freedoms still provides an obstacle.  There are many in the United States who want to help Vietnam, the only thing standing in the way is their dictatorial style of governing.  If Vietnam were to take a stand on corruption and human rights, it is certain that the U.S. will support this change with open arms.  There is an easy way to push Beijing back, and it’s as easy as playing by the rules.

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China Conducts “Routine” Military Exercise… At Vietnam’s Border

Posted in Politics with tags , , , on August 13, 2011 by Ian Pham

Just two days ago, the Chinese government underwent some military practices deep in the southern province of Guangxi, at the China-Vietnam border.  When questioned about their intentions, the Chinese claimed that it was only a routine military exercise, with no ulterior motives whatsoever.  Quite hard to believe, since China has been committing acts of intimidation against Vietnam, year after year, month after month, and day after day.  This is just another scare tactic that the People’s Republic of China is trying on Vietnam, anything beyond that goal is doubtful.

As you may know, a leadership transition took place in Vietnam several months ago, seeing several high profile positions transferred to some newer faces.  The positions of President and General Secretary have been appointed to Truong Tan Sang and Nguyen Phu Trong, respectively. Beijing has been keeping track of this leadership change, as they hope to extend control over these new individuals as they did with their predecessors.

This is not the first time that China has acted in such a threatening and belligerent manner.  Anyone following the current events in Asian politics can vouch that this is nothing new.  Every time a nation Chinese of interest goes through some sort of leadership succession, China feels the need to test this them and see how tough they are.  They tried it with the last leaders of Vietnam, they tried it with George W. Bush, and they’ve tried it with Barack Obama.  Compare the times that the Chinese leadership has threatened to use force with the times that they’ve actually followed through, one won’t find much reason to worry.  Rest assured, this is only a test.

The Communists’ Dilemma

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , , on January 29, 2011 by Ian Pham

There is a problem that the VCP is facing today, one that has sparked much debate among the top members of the Communist leadership.  This problem has much to do with Vietnam’s relationship with the two juggernaut nations: The United States and the People’s Republic of China.  It is obvious that both of these countries play a major role in Vietnam’s economic operations, as both countries share interests in Vietnamese goods and services.  However, the relationship that Vietnam shares with these two countries is highly delicate.

Every action that Vietnam makes, it must do so in a manner that defends the country’s interests without alienating its partners.  This task is more difficult than it sounds however, as China and the U.S. have very different objectives.  In most cases, American interests tend to conflict with the Chinese, which usually means that any stance taken by the Vietnamese government will conflict with at least one side, if not the other.  Therefore, in order to maintain a good footing politically, the Vietnamese government will have to take strategic steps that will protect the country’s interests.

One of the major issues that prevents further cooperation between the U.S. and Vietnam is the VCP’s constant abuse of human rights.  The totalitarian dictatorship of the Vietnamese Communist Party raises many barriers for the United States in terms of establishing economic and military ties.  Some of the members in the VCP want to better relations with the U.S., they might even want to improve the human rights situation in the country.  Unfortunately, other factions in the Party are bent on maintaining power, even at the price of losing land to the Chinese.  Which brings me to the other side.

Vietnam’s relationship with the Peoples’ Republic of China can be characterized as less than equal.  On many occasions, China feels the necessity to flex its growing military and political power on the Vietnamese people, invading Paracel, Spratly, and harassing the fishermen in the Eastern Sea.  Even so, the Chinese still gain favor from the more conservative branch of the Party.  The “Conservatives,” otherwise known as the cowards, are the ones who put the Party before everything else.  They suppress the citizens, sell land to the Chinese, and will do anything, all for the sake of maintaining their power, and “the Party.”

It is possible to distinguish the Liberal strand of the Party from the Conservative branch, though the individuals responsible are still less than clear.  The Liberal camp can be characterized as those who want to develop closer ties with the United States and stand up to China on issues like Paracel and Spratly.  They are the ones who might take a second look at reforming the Party in order to move forward.  The Conservative side are the ones who want to maintain the Party rule, no matter what the cost.  These guys side with China in order to cling onto their power, disregarding everything else.  In other words, they are the puppets of China.

So what is the Communists’ Dilemma?  Well, let’s sum it up.  The Communists today are faced with a choice: either side with the U.S., make the necessary changes to the system and risk the complete disintegration of the one-party system, or side with China, continue to suppress the people, slowly let the land get taken away, but then carry on the rule of the Party.  The dilemma can be summed up by the following: “Side with the U.S., lose the Party.  Side with China, and lose the country.” To any rational thinker, the choice is obvious: reform the country, defend the country, and let the Party fade away!

Sadly, many in the VCP still regard the Party as the highest significance.  They can’t think in terms of right or wrong, but only what they can do to defend their own interests.  However, the circumstances have changed significantly since then.  Some members of the VCP finally realize that nothing good can come from siding with China.  They seem more interested in developing U.S.-Vietnam relations, maybe even to improve the country.  This is more than speculation, but still requires more substantial evidence for further examination.  What is apparent is that the Vietnamese Communist Party is no longer set on selling out to China.  At this time, the size of the resistance is difficult to measure, only time will tell if it is strong enough.

Political Cartoon: Don’t Say a Word

Posted in Art, Political Cartoons, Politics with tags , , , , on December 10, 2010 by Ian Pham

“Open lips make

the teeth turn cold…

Biting the lips…

will make them silent.”

This one is rather complicated.  It represents the relationship between Vietnam and China.  Apparently, China’s relationship with Vietnam are like tooth and lip.  China is in control and can keep Vietnam quiet at their will. Tooth and lip is a figure of speech in Vietnamese, quite perplexing if you ask me.

“Open lips make the teeth turn cold,” was a quote by Ho Chi Minh, comparing how Vietnam and China went hand in hand.  The second line, “Biting the lips… Will make them silent,” is a sarcastic ridicule by the author of the cartoon.  He mocks the stupidity of Ho Chi Minh, showing how his policies have eroded Vietnam’s sovereignty.

This is another cartoon about the Chinese invasion of the Paracel and Spratly islands.  It mostly demonstrates the coercive nature of the Peoples’ Republic of China, at the same time showing the weakness of the Vietnamese Communist Party.

The Communist Vietnamese are cowardly, staying silent while the Chinese government takes the islands away from the Vietnamese people.  They don’t resist, nor do they let the people of Vietnam resist.  Any stand made by the common folk are immediately crushed by the VCP, for fear of offending the invaders.  It’s shameful.

 

Political Cartoon: The Piranha

Posted in Art, Political Cartoons, Politics with tags , , , , on November 14, 2010 by Ian Pham

Here’s an easy one.  The piranha represents the predatory People’s Republic of China while the pieces of food in its mouth represent the Paracel and Spratly Islands.  Basically, China is swallowing up Vietnam’s islands.  Plain and Simple.

Political Cartoon: The Puppets of China

Posted in Art, Political Cartoons, Politics with tags , , , , , on October 26, 2010 by Ian Pham

The Hand:

Represents China holding on to the General Secretary, a symbol of how much control the Chinese have over the Vietnamese government.

The Protesters:

Their various signs say, “Protect Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Paracel and Spratly),” “Spratly and Paracel of Vietnam,” and “China is invading.”

The Puppet General Secretary:

“Quit protesting so loudly.  You are embarrassing us in front of the Chinese!  This is not the peoples’ affairs, this is the governments’ affairs!”

Despite China’s Claims, the “Released” Fishermen Never Made it Home

Posted in Politics, Society with tags , , , , on October 21, 2010 by Ian Pham

The fishermen that China promised to release from custody last week never made it home.  The nine fishermen detained by China on September 11, 2010, were expected to reach Vietnam on Tuesday, Wednesday at the latest.  Their non-arrival was quite a shock, since the fishermen have been “released” by the Beijing government quite some time ago.

At the moment, there is no news of their whereabouts.  According to AsiaNews, the fishermen’s families have tried contacting their boats, but didn’t get a single response, even after numerous tries over the past few days.  The fishermen’s families, along with the officials in Vietnam, are questioning China’s efforts in ensuring the safety of the fishermen.

Many believe that it was never China’s intention to let the fishermen home safely.  The adequacy of the boat, along with the amount of fuel and communication devices provided by the Chinese have been put into question.  The situation is horrid for the families of these fishermen as they wait for their main supporters to return.  Our thoughts should go out to the families of these fishermen.  Let’s hope that somehow, they will make it back to Vietnam.

This is unacceptable on China’s end.  It is obvious that they only said they would release the fishermen to appear humanitarian for the meeting of the defense ministers last week.  It seems that they had ulterior motives, planning to let the fishermen get stranded at sea.  This is China’s way of retaliating for Vietnam’s objections against the crimes of the Chinese navy.  This just goes to how cruel, yet cowardly, the Beijing government really is.

Just two weeks ago, China was protesting Japan for detaining Chinese naval officers, only to turn around and murder the fishermen of Vietnam.  The difference is that the Vietnamese detainees are innocent civilians while the Chinese detainees are not.  Those who were arrested by the Japanese were members of China’s military, attempting to bully the civilians of Japan.  It is an understatement to call the Chinese’ actions ironic, killing innocent people of their neighboring countries, and then blatantly placing blame on those who are unafraid to bring them to justice.

They prey on the innocent, then play the victim when challenged and embarrassed by the individuals who are capable of fighting back.  It does not matter to me how strong their economy is, or how powerful their army and navy are.  If China does not respect international law, disregards the livelihood of weaker nations, and lies shamelessly in the face of the world community, why should we respect them?  They are truly pathetic, just like the Communists in Vietnam.