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Andy Tully

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Andy Tully is a veteran news reporter who is now the news editor for Oilprice.com

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What Territorial Dispute? Vietnam Moves To Repair Relations With China

What Territorial Dispute? Vietnam Moves To Repair Relations With China

The government of Vietnam is sending a senior politburo member to China to help repair relations that were strained over Beijing’s deployment of an oil rig in waters of the South China Sea claimed by Hanoi.

The move, on May 1, started a serious dispute between the two countries, sparking violent and often deadly demonstrations in Vietnam and confrontations at sea between Vietnamese boats trying to approach the rig and Chinese coast guard vessels sent to protect it.

Two-and-a-half months later, China withdrew the $1 billion rig, the Haiyang Shiyou 981, saying it had completed its work and should be moved out of the expected path of approaching Typhoon Rammasun. A Vietnamese military leader, Maj. Gen. Le Ma Luong, scoffed that China in fact was backing down in the face of Hanoi’s opposition.

For a time, there was speculation that Vietnam was reconsidering its relationship with Beijing, a fellow communist-ruled country but one with which Hanoi has long had strained ties. There even was speculation that Vietnam was leaning toward closer relations with the United States.

Whatever may have been brewing among Vietnam’s leadership, all appears to be forgiven. On Aug. 25 Hanoi announced that it was sending Le Hong Anh, the fifth-ranking member of Vietnam’s Communist Party politburo, to China to help restore friendly relations.

The announcement said Hanoi’s protest of the oil rig’s presence wouldn’t be repeated. It also expressed regret for the sometimes deadly anti-Chinese demonstrations that occurred during the dispute and promised to ensure the safety of Chinese companies and workers in Vietnam.

Further, it said Le would spend his two-day visit to China to “promote the healthy, stable and long-term development of relations between the two parties and states.”

Le’s visit would be the second contact between the two countries for the purpose of repairing bilateral relations. In June, Beijing sent Yang Jiechi, a senior foreign policy expert on China’s State Council, to Hanoi.

Despite new contact between the countries’ leadership, many Vietnamese harbor resentment against China and are skeptical that the two countries can achieve normal relations.

Nguyen Trong Vinh, a former Vietnamese ambassador to China who takes a hard line toward Beijing, embraced this view in an interview with The Associated Press.

“There will be nothing,” he said. “China will never compromise. Their removal of the oil rig was only temporary. They will never abandon their wicked ambitions of taking a monopoly over the East Sea,” (the Vietnamese name for the South China Sea).


Skepticism aside, though, there is a huge incentive for Vietnam to maintain friendly relations with China: The two countries share $50 billion a year in trade.

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com

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Leave a comment
  • CrazyCooter on August 26 2014 said:
    Quote from wiki:

    "In September 1945, H? Chí Minh declared Vietnam independent under the new name of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRVN) and held the position of Chairman (Ch? T?ch). Communist rule was cut short, however, by nationalist Chinese and British occupation forces whose presence tended to support the Communist Party's political opponents."

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Vietnam

    Read more, particularly the current stuff (1945 forward) and it explains a lot in regards to (living) VN memory of China (just after Japan) one doesn't have to look too far back. That said, the region is very close to China and they do huge volumes of trade. This is the same song as Europe/Russia.

    The US is geographically removed from the situation and instigates a lot of turmoil looking after it's own interests; all nations look after their own interests.

    Personally I think VN has an advantage in demographics, assuming they can keep secure food and energy supplies. Japan, China, and the US are all getting old in that regard (i.e. young folks work, older folks need state benefits).


  • hitter on August 27 2014 said:
    I am a Chinese working as a China analyst at a think tank. It is becoming more and more apparent to many people, that the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) knows it is on its last straw of survival.

    The party is facing severe and endlessly increasing systematic stress on all fronts:

    1. Increasing external oppositions from all other countries in the world including all of China's neighbours. They are forming more and more alliances and becoming more outspoken with rising strengths against China, in addition to increasing anti-China sentiment from people in all other countries. Many countries including Canada and Australia have tightened their immigration policy to prevent Chinese from entering their countries. Even on these casual internet message boards, when you look past the paid Chinese propaganda professional commenters, you notice rising general anti-China feelings from all over the world.

    2. Increasing internal severe and massive violent social unrest and anti-CCP mutiny from people of all Chinese living places e.g. mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet, Macau etc. To beat down internal dissent, the CCP every year is forced to spend even more money than on its massive military budget. This is continuously worsened by the free flow of information, with Chinese people knowing more and more from travelling abroad and learning about truths from jumping beyond the "Great Fire Wall" on the internet.

    3. Its own economy and social condition never able to advance to higher level beyond mass skill-less manufacturing, due to complete absence of law and common morals. High technology and innovations and scientific development all require many citizens working together voluntarily contributing long term in a system they trust, with things like rule of law, no censorship on knowledge, no restrictions on speech and expression, copyrights, patents, common morals when collaborating and trading with each other etc. These qualities are all destroyed in modern China by the CCP. When was the last time you heard an announcement of technology development or innovations or scientific breakthrough coming from a Chinese organization / company / university? You haven't because there ain't any. Unlike mass manufacturing factory work, these high level human developments cannot be forced on or bought with a dictator's central planning. The only way modern China gets these things is from stealing and spying from all other countries, but that has become much more difficult since the whole world has caught on to their act.

    This systematic fatal weakness is why you do not see even one Chinese brand or company that can compete in the international market in any industry of the human race. For example Lenovo, who is already one of the few Chinese brands some people may have heard of, cannot make either the chips that power their computers or the operating system that run them, so it is just one of many plain vanilla boxmakers without any competitive advantage. Another example Huawei is blacklisted by many countries and international customers because everyone knows their products send all the communication data back to the CCP. No rule of law in China also means no people or businesses, both Chinese and foreign, ever invest in China long-term or on a large scale because everything frequently change on a whim along with the political climate. No one trusts any contract or agreement in China because they are always broken by the Chinese and there is no legal protection whatsoever, meaning China can never advance to a knowledge economy or service economy. No rule of law also ensures Shanghai fail to become a financial city despite the CCP dumping huge resources into it for 30 years.

    4. China's mass skill-less manufacturing itself is going away to other countries due to sharply increasing costs and openly hostile and unfair business environment full of frauds and sanctioned protectionism and government robberies. The labor force is endlessly more demanding both in wages and benefits expectations and working conditions, especially since all of today's Chinese workers are single child used to coddling and indulgement by their families. It is further worsened by the rise of robotic automatic manufacturing and 3D printing. This situation is a death knock to the "growth-based legitimacy" of the CCP, which is the only thing CCP can rely on for continuing ruling power. For sure Chinese people tolerate the CCP when the economy seemingly explodes, but when one day it crashes and the country's hopeless bad shape hit them in the face the people's "support" for the CCP will turn on a dime.

    Since six months ago, all the major economic indicators for China have gone on a continuing nosedive - including manufacturing orders, export volume, commercial investments, graduate employment rate, corporate credits, foreign capital inflow, domestic consumptions, real estate prices, consumer spendings, luxury goods demand, HSBC Service PMI, s
  • Jerry on November 12 2014 said:
    Interesting stuff. Chinese dissident, maybe? Sounds factual and thorough. Two questions: Does this change the reality of China's great market and industrial strength? How many forecasts presented with conviction fail to provide us expected insight into what hasn't happened?

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