Re-election of Nguyen Phu Trong sends positive signal

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-1-28 0:13:26

The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) re-elected Nguyen Phu Trong as general secretary for a second term on Wednesday, signaling the stability of the ruling party's political path.

The 12th national party congress attracted wide attention from the West. The West views Nguyen Phu Trong and his followers as a conservative and part of a pro-China faction, and considers Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung a reformist who is also close to the US. The Western media tended to believe Nguyen Tan Dung, who relentlessly promoted Vietnam to join the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), would be the new general secretary and open up a new era for reforms.

But the West's analysis of Vietnam's internal politics is overly superficial. They tend to label the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam as "reformists" or "conservatives." Nevertheless, no matter who took power, the leader will prioritize the interest of the party and the country.

Vietnam's reform path is widely seen as a success. There is little possibility that the country will veer off track and choose a Western model for reforms. As Vietnam opens up, the West has boosted its political penetration.

Many East Asian countries see relations with China and the US as their diplomatic lifeline. Vietnam is no exception. Beijing and Washington are important for Hanoi, but it is also vigilant toward both.

China is Vietnam's largest neighbor. Despite Vietnam joining the TPP, the position of China as its biggest trade partner cannot be replaced. More importantly, both China and Vietnam are socialist countries. Vietnam has drawn many experiences from China in its reform path and by its defense from the West's political penetration.

Territorial disputes are placed between the two, but they have remained sober-minded and tried to avoid the issue affecting the broader China-Vietnam ties.

The US, as the leading Western power, is the prime objective of Vietnam's opening-up. Hanoi will also be enticed to use Washington as leverage against China over territorial disputes. While the Vietnam-US relationship will see natural development, Washington will bury the seeds of a "color revolution" while seeking cooperation with Hanoi. Different from China, Vietnam faces a more daunting challenge to resist external subversive forces.

Vietnam needs to facilitate national development among a series of contradictory and restraining factors with the ability to prioritize. In fact, Vietnam cannot completely be pro-China or pro-US, instead, it needs to be stable and balanced.

Western media may have been upset by the exit of Nguyen Tan Dung, but China has no reason to follow this logic and knows that the bilateral ties with its neighbor are secure. Maritime disputes will not be stopped, even though they are under control. Vietnam's cooperation with the US will not see a decline with Nguyen Tan Dung's departure.

The CPV system is characterized by multiple leaderships with the general secretary exerting the biggest influence on the nation's path. In this way, the re-election of Nguyen Phu Trong is a positive sign of comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between China and Vietnam.

Posted in: Editorial

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