Vietnam and China: partnership or temporary respite?

China and Vietnam have more than a 2 thousandth history conflicts and wars, therefore, treat each other very wary. The biggest war in the 20 century between them took place in the 1979 year. The Chinese army was defeated, the Soviet Union played a major role in paying off the possible continuation of the war.

At present, the PRC and Vietnam have a cold-neutral relationship, having a number of not only historical offenses, but also the modern problem of the Paracel Islands, the Spratly archipelago. In addition, Hanoi is worried about the sharp increase in the military potential of the NKR, which occurred since the beginning of the 90 of the XX century, the Chinese made a qualitative leap in the military field. Although it cannot be said that the countries in general are fenced off with the “iron curtain”: since 1986, Vietnam has implemented a new policy of comprehensive social economy reform and a multilateral foreign policy under the motto: “Vietnam wants to be a friend and reliable partner of countries all over the world.” In 1991, relations between China and Vietnam were normalized. As a result, in 2009, China became the third partner of the state with 4 billion in 177 million (8,8% of exports) in terms of exports from Vietnam, the first and second places are occupied by the United States (about 11 billion) and Japan (more than 7 billion). In terms of imports, the PRC ranks first: more than 13 billion dollars (23%), second place from Singapore - 8,4 billion dollars (14,5%), third from Japan - 6,7 billion (11,6%).

The main exports of Vietnam are: crude oil, leather shoes, furniture, coffee, rice, coal, fish, clothing; Imports: refined petroleum products, iron, steel, machinery, clothing, trucks, spare parts for cars, steel semi-finished products, polymers. Rice Vietnam supplies to more than 70 countries, for the export of cashew nuts and black pepper ranks first in the world. China is the main trading partner of Vietnam, in 2009, the revenue from trade between the two countries amounted to about 21,5 billion, increasing by 6,9% against 2008, in 2010, it rose to 25 billion.

That is, in the field of economics, ideology and politics do not dominate. The mutually beneficial cooperation is based on the very close positions of the communist parties of Vietnam and the PRC, which, under the conditions of the collapse of the European socialist system, went to "renewal" and hastily developed their economies.

From the history of relations between China and Vietnam

The first states were created by the ancestors of the Vietnamese in the 3 century BC, while the Vietnamese tribes occupied large areas of modern South China. Already in 2 century BC. er Between the state of Vietov and the Chinese state of Han, a conflict arose, in 111 year BC Ah, taking advantage of the internal conflict, the Chinese army captured Namviet, it became part of the Han Empire. Since that time, the territory of Vietnam has entered the cultural sphere of Chinese civilization.

Until the modern period, Vietnam and China have experienced quite a few wars and conflicts, there were significant periods of time when significant territories of Vietnam were part of the Chinese empires or were in "vassal" relations. But no Chinese power was able to establish complete domination, the Vietnamese regularly revolted, beat the invaders, restored their states - and so from century to century. Even the Mongol-Chinese troops could not break the resistance of the Viets at the end of the XIII century, their invasions ended ingloriously.

During the period of colonization by the European powers, the positions of the Chinese and Vietnamese became close: France led the colonization of Indochina, participated in the "opium" wars against China, they were united not only by the struggle against colonialism, but also by the communist idea. When the French banned the Communist Party in their colonies, Ho Chi Minh and other activists of the Vietnamese communist movement hid in China. During the war with the French colonialists (1945 — 1954), and then during the Vietnam War (1957-1975), China provided quite substantial assistance to the Vietnamese resistance. But after the Vietnamese expelled the French from their own country, and then the Americans, the relationship deteriorated again. In 1975, North Vietnam defeated Southern, captured Saigon. There was a fairly large Chinese community, which controlled a significant part of trade, the restructuring of the economy in a socialist way seriously hit its interests. In addition, China was not profitable education on the southern frontiers of a single powerful state with a focus on the Soviet Union, Beijing has already quarreled with the USSR. Vietnam angered the seizure of China in 1975, the Paracel Islands, they were considered to belong to the Vietnamese.

The events in Cambodia also brought a split, there in the 1975, the Khmer Rouge took over, they chose China as their only ally. They began to organize permanent border clashes on the border with Vietnam, in addition, the Vietnamese community in Cambodia itself suffered. After a series of border operations, the Vietnamese leadership concluded that it was necessary to carry out a decisive major operation. In November 1978, a treaty of friendship and cooperation was concluded between the USSR and Vietnam, so the Vietnamese guaranteed "rear". The Vietnamese army began a decisive war against the Khmer Rouge, as a result they were defeated, Pol Pot was overthrown, sane people became the leaders of Cambodia.

In China, they were very concerned and decided to conduct a limited military operation to reduce pressure on the Khmer Rouge, plus internal problems were solved. As a result, the Sino-Vietnamese war of February 17 16 March 1979 of the year occurred. Interestingly, both sides declared their victory. The Chinese "blitzkrieg" (if it was planned, there is an opinion that they were not going to seriously fight with Vietnam in Beijing, but only checked the USSR for "strength" - would they decide to defend their strategic ally) failed, the invading army although the group was assembled from 250 thousand people (600 divisions), captured several border provinces, met with fierce resistance from the Vietnamese border guards and militia (to 44 thousand). Regular parts of Hanoi did not enter into battle, holding in the second line, to cover Hanoi and Haiphong. 100 March in Vietnam announced a general mobilization, and on the same day Beijing began the withdrawal of troops.

The peculiarity of the war: China and Vietnam never brought their main forces into battle, did not use the Air Force.

As a result, Vietnamese-Chinese and Soviet-Chinese relations were spoiled for many years and the countries were in hostile relations. In 1984 and 1988, two more relatively minor incidents occurred at the border. After that, Hanoi and Beijing went to normalize relations.

Vietnam and China: partnership or temporary respite?

Sino-Vietnamese War (1979).

Vietnam in search of new partners

In Hanoi they understand that they themselves will not be able to contain China, therefore they are looking for new partners in order to pursue a policy of “collective” deterrence. So, relations with Japan were fairly well established: Tokyo - the largest investor in Vietnam, investing more in India only (another old enemy of the PRC) - in 2004, the Japanese invested 128 million in dollars in Vietnam, in 2008 - 1,1 billion dollars . Sales increased from 7 billion in 2004 to 17,7 billion in 2008. Japan, along with the United States - the main markets for Vietnamese goods. In 2009, the Economic Partnership Agreement was ratified between the countries. Japan assists Vietnam in the development of space programs, the launch of the first Vietnamese satellite is scheduled for about a year.

Vietnam is actively developing cooperation with India, Indian naval officers are training Vietnamese submariners. There is cooperation with the United States: back in 1994, Washington lifted the trade embargo against Vietnam and normalized Vietnamese-US relations.

The problem of the Spratly and Paracel Islands

The Paracel Islands are a small (approximately 250 on 100 km) uninhabited archipelago in the Sea of ​​Tonkin, captured by China in the 1974 year, but Vietnam and Taiwan also claim it. Spratly Islands - an archipelago in the southwestern part of the South China Sea, consists of more than 100 smaller islands, reefs and atolls, their total area is less than 5 km². The total area of ​​the region is more than 400 thousand km². The region is contested by 6 countries - Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei.

For China, these islands are of paramount importance, through them goes the sea route, through which China receives most of its resources, including oil from Africa and the Middle East. In addition, the islands are of military-strategic importance, have significant biological resources, which is very important at the present time - no one has canceled the problem of food security, it has only become aggravated. Plus the shelves where there can be significant hydrocarbon reserves.

In the 1988, between the Vietnamese Navy and the Chinese in the area of ​​Spratly Island, there was a battle, three Vietnamese ships were sunk, about Vietnamese were killed near 70, China seized 7 reefs and atolls. In 1995, the PRC and Vietnam reached an agreement on the start of negotiations on the joint use of resources in the region, but could not reach an agreement. In 2005, Vietnam made a statement about its sovereignty over the Spratly Islands. The PRC currently controls all the Paracel Islands and has its military posts on the 8-9 atolls of the Spratlys archipelago. Hanoi has military units on the Spratly Islands 21.

This problem may eventually result in a rather large regional conflict involving several countries. Nobody is going to give up. But it is highly doubtful that Vietnam will go to the aggravation, it benefits from economic cooperation with China, moreover, China is very strong in military terms after the 1979 war of the year. And Vietnam lost its strategic ally in the face of the Soviet Union.

Beijing is using its usual strategy, it is not going to aggravate, but its naval forces are strengthening their positions in the archipelago step by step.

The bottom line: In the coming years, a war between Vietnam and China is hardly possible, but in the medium and long-term, it is quite likely. Beijing has sharply increased its military capabilities after 1979, and is constantly increasing them, quickly becoming the number two power potential for military potential, according to some analysts, it is likely that it will become the first.

Vietnam is unlikely to be the first victim of the external expansion of the Yellow Dragon, a priority direction - Taiwan. But then the danger will increase - there are unresolved issues with the Spratly Archipelago, historical grievances. In Vietnam, they understand this, so they continue to strengthen the Navy, Air Force, and seek an alliance with Japan, India and even the United States.

Sources of:
The history of Vietnam. M., 1983.
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