Some issues of Vietnam-China bilateral relations

Historical distrust to China among the Vietnamese makes Hanoi to distance itself from Beijin

In the last decade, public protests in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam have become more frequent. Anti-Chinese slogans can be often heard among the protesters. This was due both to the tense Vietnam-China bilateral relations and dissatisfaction of Vietnamese citizens with Hanoi's foreign policy towards China, RISS expert Maria Zelenkova underscored in the analytical article of RISS journal “National Strategy Issues” №5 (56). That distrust as well as recent unfriendly Beijing’s actions in the South China Sea and the Chinese economic expansion in the region have led to a rising "anti-Chinese nationalism" among the Vietnamese public. Vietnam’s government has recently encountered some difficulties in its efforts to contain the growing internal anti-Chinese sentiment which has not only contributed to deterioration of the national political situation but is also fraught with potential risks for the regional stability.

The history of relationship between Vietnam and China has existed for centuries. North Vietnam used to be a part of Chinese kingdoms from 111 BC to 938 AD. "During this long period, the Vietnamese were fighting for their independence. But even after gaining it, Hanoi was strongly influenced by Beijin," the analyst underscored.

Now both the Vietnamese and Chinese leaders understand that in modern conditions it is much more profitable for them to cooperate than to conflict. Since 1990, the countries have been trying to confine the period of unhappiness to their past while creating a bright future together by deepening bilateral economic interdependence. Thanks to their efforts, Vietnam and China have been able to achieve great success in various areas. In expert's opinion, positive results of cooperation between these countries were a significant contribution to the trade growth. In 2008, China-Vietnam relations received the status of "comprehensive strategic partnership".

Vietnam and China have a great interest in bringing their cooperation to a higher level of partnerships now, RISS expert believes. Due to historical and geographical background, the Vietnamese don't forget that the rise of China today does pose a series of new challenges. "Historical distrust to China among the Vietnamese makes Hanoi to distance itself from Beijin, and at the same time Vietnam is trying to diversify its external relations as much as possible, countering China's influence," M.Zelenkova said.

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