China, Vietnam advance comradely ties

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-11-5 22:18:01

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, landed in Vietnam for a two-day state visit Thursday. Hanoi received him with the highest level of welcome as this is the first visit by a top Chinese leader in 10 years.

The Sino-Vietnamese relationship is one of the most frequently discussed bilateral ties between China and other Asian countries since it offers large space for subjective talk and conjecture.

Many Western observers assert that Vietnam is aligning with the US as Hanoi needs Washington's power against China in territorial disputes.

But this seems to be wishful thinking by the US and Japan. Western public opinion tends to imagine Vietnam is pulled into a camp against China and even made a vanguard in contending with China. But Xi's visit can be a wake-up call for the West. China and Vietnam have maintained country-to-country and Party relationships. "Comrade" and "brother" are still forms of address used by leaders of the two sides.

China and Vietnam have had problems over the maritime disputes in the South China Sea and borders previously. However, they are both socialist countries with similar systems of government. China's power and prosperity can naturally bolster the legitimacy of the Vietnamese system.

The Sino-Vietnamese relationship can always get back on track even after maritime frictions rear up. It means friendly cooperation instead of conflict remains the theme of bilateral ties.

The relationship between the two parties has served as ballast, helping the two sides keep a clear mind at the strategic level. Some China's neighboring countries have adopted a balancing tactic between Beijing and Washington, along with China's rise and these countries' opening up. But it can be sure that Hanoi won't go the furthest. Vietnam leadership is well aware that Washington won't take it easy with Hanoi on the issue of human rights. Even a few US officials may take a softer stance temporarily for taking Vietnam to contain China, active human rights advocators in the US won't be so flexible. It is a major obstacle for Vietnam to advance ties with the US.

Despite signs of growing political diversity, it is still the consensus among the Communist Party of Vietnam that it must stick to the party as the sole power to lead the country. Given the lesson of the former Soviet Union and east European nations that abandoned communism, no socialist country would probably want to repeat the tragedy.

The Sino-Vietnamese relationship will face different issues and concerns. However, maintaining friendly and cooperative strategic ties with China, and shielding the relationship from being sabotaged by territorial disputes, is among the core interests of Vietnam. Continuing the comradely and brotherly relationship with Vietnam is also stressed by Chinese people.

Xi's visit will offer an opportunity for the comprehensive engagement for the two leaderships. It is believed this brotherly communication will bring tangible results.

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