Vietnam Relations with China Part III
Mid-July 2014, announced the Chinese side by surprising the oil Patt form back from the disputed sea area withdraw. On the one hand, this step may be related to a typhoon that was predicted. On the other hand, the aim of the Chinese leadership can also be to strengthen the more pro-Chinese forces in the Communist Party of Vietnam before the upcoming Central Committee meeting in Hanoi and to strengthen the forces in Vietnam who are pleading for closer ties to the USA To take the wind out of the sails. In any case, it is certain that China has by no means given up its long-term ambitions in the South China Sea. On the contrary – the construction of the oil platform and the reactions of Vietnam and other countries to it are one for Chinaset valuable precedent.
Other authors emphasize that Vietnam by no means capitulated to pressure from China, but even achieved a diplomatic victory in the recent crisis. Overall, one can also argue that Vietnam is pursuing two strategies in shaping the difficult relationship with China: on the one hand, Hanoi has increasingly gone on a confrontational course and is trying to internationalize the conflict; on the other hand, Vietnam is subordinate to China and shows Beijing an almost respectful behavior.
After the withdrawal of the oil platform and diplomatic activities, the Vietnamese-Chinese relationship has eased since autumn 2014. During the visit by the Vietnamese Defense Minister Phung Quang Thanh to Beijing in October 2014, both sides agreed to set up a “hotline” in order to be able to contact each other early in the event of future conflicts.
In the last months of 2014, both sides made efforts to reduce mutual tensions. It appears that China has put pressure on Vietnam to cut back anti-Chinese media and that the leadership in Hanoi has subsequently rejected calls for Vietnam to “break away” from the PRC.
According to franciscogardening, while Vietnamese-Chinese relations generally relaxed in the first few months of 2015, Beijing’s efforts continued by reclaiming land and expanding the infrastructure on the occupied islands, such as the construction of a runway, to create facts and in the truest sense of its territorial claims Cement sense of the word. This is also confirmed by findings from US spy flights in the region, to which the People’s Republic of China responded with protests.
Meanwhile, Vietnam continues to modernize its navy. Six Russian submarines had been put into operation in Vietnam by the beginning of 2017. With all the progress, however, the equipment of the Vietnamese Navy still leaves a lot to be desired.
The modernization is not limited to the navy, but also includes the other armed forces. In addition, weapons etc. are to be increasingly produced in the country itself.
At the end of July 2015, the Chinese Navy conducted military exercises near the Paracel Islands, to which Vietnam also claims, against which Vietnam immediately lodged an official protest.
During a state visit to Hanoi in November 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke out in favor of more mutual trust and cooperation. At the same time, he tried to allay fears on the Vietnamese side that the People’s Republic of China was seeking hegemony in the region. On the subsequent state visit to Singapore, however, Xi Jinping emphasized that the archipelagos in the South China Sea “have been Chinese territory since ancient times.”
In January 2016, a Chinese plane landed for the first time on an artificially created island in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese Foreign Ministry immediately protested against this action. In February 2016, it became known that China had deployed surface-to-air missiles on the Paracel Islands – another indication that the South China Sea is to be converted into a Chinese inland lake in the long term.
In July 2016, the verdict of the court of arbitration in The Hague took place, according to which China’s claim to fishing and exploitation rights for mineral resources in the marine area, which is also levied by the Philippines, has no legal basis. China had already stated in advance that the court had no jurisdiction. Unlike the Philippines, Vietnam did not appeal to the arbitration tribunal.
Probably to undermine the judgment from The Hague, the People’s Republic of China built an aircraft hangar on one of the Spratly Islands it occupied – evidence of the region’s increasing militarization. Vietnam also relocated rocket launchers to the islands of the Spratly Archipelago that it controls. Satellite photos from November 2016 showed that Vietnam has begun upgrading a runway and building hangars on one of the occupied Spratly Islands.
Instead of going to the court of arbitration in The Hague like the Philippines, Vietnam is concentrating on expanding military cooperation with other countries such as India, Japan, Russia and the USA.
At the beginning of August 2016, the country’s two largest airports in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City were exposed to hacking attacks, which are said to have been caused by nationalist hackers from the People’s Republic of China. Hacker attacks on Vietnam have increased massively since 2014.