Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung » Security - Defence » Defence cooperation is a driving force for development of Vietnam-China friendly ties

(Security - Defence) - Defence cooperation is one of the pillars in Vietnam-China relations and is a great driving force for the two Parties, Armies and peoples to keep consolidating the fruitful, long-lasting friendship between Vietnam and China, for the benefit of each country and for peace and stability in the region and in the world.

On the occasion of the National Day of China, on October 1st, Major-General Vu Chien Thang, Head of the External Affairs Department under the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence, wrote an article on the defence cooperation between Vietnam and China in the People’s Army Daily. PANO would like to introduce this article.

The ties between Vietnam and China, neighbouring countries with broad cultural similarities, were formed very early. Notably, that relationship has seen new development since the Communist Party was born in each country and led the revolutionary movement.

On January 15th, 1950, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam recognized the Government of the People’s Republic of China. On January 18th, 1950, China was the first country to recognize the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. That mutual recognition was of great historical and political significance to both China and Vietnam. Since 1950, China became the bridge between Vietnam and other socialist countries. It was also among the socialist countries granting key support for Vietnamese troops and people in the resistance war against foreign invaders.

Senior Lieutenant-General Nguyen Chi Vinh and Chinese People’s Liberation Army General Staff Senior Lieutenant-General Ma Xiaotian at the third Vietnam-China deputy ministerial-level strategic dialogue on national defence.

Senior Lieutenant-General Nguyen Chi Vinh and Chinese People’s Liberation Army General Staff Senior Lieutenant-General Ma Xiaotian at the third Vietnam-China deputy ministerial-level strategic dialogue on national defence.

About external affairs in defence, in 1955, China dispatched military attaches to Vietnam, becoming the first in the field. In 1957, Vietnam sent its military attaches to China, opening official defence ties between the two neighbouring countries.

In fact, the solidarity in combat and defence cooperation between the two countries is built on a foundation laid by Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh and Chinese counterpart Mao Zedong and further pursued by the two sides’ leaders since the beginning of the revolutionary cause.

Since 1920, China became a revolution-breeding ground for eminent Vietnamese youth. Also in the early revolutionary cause, various Vietnamese youths took part in the Chinese revolution. Notably, Nguyen Son was the only international soldier and general present in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. He became a vital “hyphen” in the revolutionary history of Vietnam and China.

The solidarity in combat and defence cooperation between Vietnam and China was also vividly affirmed in history. In March 1949, the Chinese side asked our Party to assign some Vietnamese army units to team up with Chinese troops in a special operation, named Shiwan Dashan, at frontier areas of Yuegui and Tiangui – an attempt to sweep away members of the Chinese Nationalist Party to liberate the Yong-Long-Qin area.

As requested, we sent a force to join the operation. Our army units bravely fought side by side Chinese forces to take control of and force the enemies to withdraw from Shuikou, Luohui, Xiadui, Shangshi and Ningming, to name a few. As a result, the allied troops expanded their controlled areas and liberated thousands of people, creating favourable conditions for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops to attack and occupy the two provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi.

In the two sacred resistance wars of Vietnam, China was one of the countries providing both spiritual and material support to Vietnamese people. They not only granted Vietnam assistance in weapons, equipment, logistics and techniques, but also sent a number of military experts to Vietnam to lend a helping hand. More than a few Chinese People’s Liberation Army cadres and troops laid down their lives for the national salvation of Vietnam.

The above-mentioned mutual support between China and Vietnam demonstrated the deep solidarity and close relations between the Vietnamese and Chinese revolutions. China’s great and effective support for Vietnam partly contributed to the victory of Vietnamese people in the two resistance wars.

In the new historical conditions, the collapse of the socialist regime in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe fundamentally changed the world. However, despite that change, Vietnam and China kept pursuing their socialist road. Remarkably, the two countries shared the same ideology and worked with each other to find a socialist model which was not previously available in either theory or practice. Therefore, the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Communist Party of China discussed and exchanged various issues, such as “Socialism-Popularity and Particularity”, “Socialism and Market Economy-Chinese Experience, Vietnamese Experience” and “Building Ruling Party-Experience of Vietnam, Experience of China”.

In spite of disagreements, the cooperation between Vietnam and China has been developing broader, deeper and faster in all fields since 1990.

In February 1999, high-ranking leaders of the two countries specified the motto of “Friendly neighbours, comprehensive cooperation, long-term stability and direction to the future” as the orientation for developing Vietnam-China ties in the 21st century.

In November 2005, China and Vietnam enriched Vietnam-China ties with the declared spirit of “Good neighbour, good friend, good comrade, and good partner”. Especially, in May 2008, the highest-level leaders of the two countries agreed to build the comprehensive strategic cooperation partnership between Vietnam and China. That was the political determination of the two Parties, which originated from the expectation of the two peoples in accordance with the global trend of integration, cooperation and development. Vietnam-China defence ties have been extended and accelerated in both depth and width, and at the Defence Ministerial level and levels of military zone, service, academy and school over the past years. Leaders of the two Defence Ministries have frequently held visits to consolidate and boost the fruitful relations. Moreover, the two sides inked various important documents, including the cooperation protocol between two Defence Ministries, the agreement on joint Tonkin Gulf patrols between the two navies, the agreement on border cooperation between the two Defence Ministries, the cooperation agreement between the General Department of Politics of the Vietnam People’s Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army General Political Department on the Party and political work, and the cooperation deal on training military personnel.

Notably, under inked agreements, the two sides’ border guards have conducted 10 joint land patrols, while the navies have organized 13 joint patrols in the Tonkin Gulf and 2 joint sea exercises on search and rescue. Furthermore, since 2009, the two sides have carried out exchanges of young officers. In 2010, the Chinese side sent a delegation of former Chinese military advisers and experts who lent us a hand in the resistance war to defend the nation on a visit to Vietnam. Also in 2010, the two sides organized the first Vietnam-China Defence Strategy Dialogue at the Deputy Defence Ministerial level. To date, three such dialogues have taken place in the spirit of building on the basis of comradeship and brotherhood. These dialogues have seen a strong consensus on defence cooperation and confirm that Vietnam-China strategic defence dialogue is an important mechanism contributing to enhancing the understanding and political trust in the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategy cooperation and partnership.

In an open and friendly spirit, both sides have frankly discussed different issues between the two countries and pledged to settle existing issues in a peaceful manner and in accordance with international law, with solutions that both sides could accept.

In the context of complicated global and regional developments, the two sides have clearly acknowledged common and particular opportunities and challenges. They have also agreed that the further promotion of the strategic trust, comprehensive and close cooperation, as well as proper settlement of existing and newly-emerged issues between the two countries, is appropriate for the basic and long-term benefit of the two Parties, two States and two peoples and profitable for the peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the rest of the world. With such significance, the efficient cooperation between the Vietnamese People’s Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has become one of the vital pillars to accelerate and push the friendly ties between the two Parties, two States and two peoples.

In fact, the Party, the State, people and the Vietnamese People’s Army wish and are determined to develop fruitful, neighbourly, sustainable and comprehensive cooperation with China, regarding it a consistent policy and a leading priority in Vietnam’s external affairs policy.

The solidarity and defence cooperation between Vietnam and China over the past decades has become the common fortune of the two peoples. That is the foundation and the driving force for the two countries to promote their traditional friendly ties to a new height, for the prosperity of each country and to contribute to peace, stability and development in the region and the rest of the world.

Translated by Mai Huong