The People’s Army Newspaper (PAN) would like to introduce the article in English as follows:

Vietnam and China are the two neighboring countries that have longstanding ties and share a large number of similarities. During the history of the bilateral relations, the two nations have overcome differences and challenges to maintain and develop bilateral relations of peace, cooperation and development for interests of each country as well as for regional peace and stability. In the bilateral relations, the defense ties have become a major pillar and a highlight, contributing actively to promoting relations between the two Parties, States and peoples.

Over the past years, bilateral defense cooperation between Vietnam and China has continuously expanded in a positive and practical manner. The defense ministries of the two countries have signed a joint vision on defense cooperation toward 2025. Since the signing, leaders of the two defense ministries have directed their subordinates to implement all contents of the joint vision comprehensively and effectively.

Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich and Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe at the fifth Vietnam-China Border Defense Friendship Exchange in November, 2018

Regarding exchange of high-ranking delegations, Vietnamese and Chinese defense ministers met three times in 2018 only. It can be said that after each of the high-level meetings, the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic partnership and defense cooperation were elevated to a new level, contributing to promoting mutual understanding and trust as well as to maintaining a peaceful environment and outlining right directions for Vietnam-China bilateral relations in the future.

Meanwhile, the border forces of Vietnam and China have also actively implemented forms of cooperation, including exchange of visits, joint patrols, information sharing and joint exercises. Among cooperation activities between the two border forces, the Vietnam-China Border Defense Friendship Exchange is the most significant cooperation mechanism. After the five editions, the Vietnam-China Border Defense Friendship Exchange has now become a highlight in the bilateral defense relations and a good model in building a land borderline of peace, stability, cooperation and development between two countries.

In reality, the Vietnam-China Border Defense Friendship Exchange has now been participated in not only by armed forces, but also civilian authorities, organizations and people on the two sides of the borderline. This has created a new momentum for the two militaries and countries to expand their cooperation in other fields.

Cooperation at sea has also been promoted by the naval and law enforcement forces of the two countries in recent years. The two navies, coast guard forces and other law enforcement forces of Vietnam and China have continued their joint patrols while seeking other fields of cooperation. Leaders of the two defense ministries have directed maritime forces of the two countries to expand cooperation in personnel training, sharing of experiences of participation in UN peacekeeping operations, military medicine, defense industry, and information and communications.

Leaders of the two defense ministers often support each other at multilateral forums on defense and security, such as Beijing Xiangshan Forum, Shangri-la Dialogue, ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting plus (ADMM+), negotiations between China and ASEAN on a code of conduct in the South China Sea (COC).

As Vietnam is about to take over the Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2020, the Chinese side has affirmed that it will support Vietnam to successfully fulfill its mission, and that it will join Vietnam in putting forward ideas to promote relations between the two sides. Meanwhile, Vietnam always advocates China’s role in dealing with global issues, particularly in promoting peace, stability, and development in the region and world. 

Besides the good outcomes of the bilateral defense cooperation, the two militaries still have to join efforts to respond to complex and fast situational developments, security challenges in the regional and world as well as to deal with some major issues, including the East Sea (South China Sea) issue.

Although the two countries have still perceived the East Sea issue differently, both see the importance of maintaining an environment of peace, stability and cooperation to address the differences in the spirit of peace and friendship of the two nations, following the agreements of leaders of the two Parties and States, in line with the building of a sea of “Peace - cooperation - development” and on the basis of international law.

In this context, the visit to Vietnam of a high-ranking Chinese military delegation led by Chinese Defense Minister, Senior Lieutenant General Wei Fenghe, bears a special meaning.

The visit is expected to further expand the bilateral defense cooperation and accelerate the implementation of the agreements between the two sides, particularly those agreed between the two sides during the visit to China of Vietnamese Defense Minister, General Ngo Xuan Lich in October 2018. The visit would also open a new direction for the bilateral defense cooperation, deepen the ties between the two militaries, including enhancing cooperation between the two sides in building the military of each country, cooperation in Party and political work in military units, and cooperation in information and communications to promote friendship and mutual understanding between the two militaries so that people of the two countries could have a good insight into the good ties between the two militaries.

During the visit, the two sides are also expected to discuss approaches to narrowing the gaps in the spirit of the agreements between leaders of the two Parties and States, draw lessons and experience from the five previous editions of the Vietnam-China Border Defense Friendship Exchange in preparation for the sixth edition, and seek to improve the quality and effectiveness of bilateral defense cooperation, particularly in personnel training, strategic research, military medicine, defense industry, and sharing of experience of the participation in UN peacekeeping operations.

In fact, bilateral defense relations between Vietnam and China have continuously developed in line with the agreements of leaders of the two Parties and States over the past years. The bilateral defense ties have now become an important pillar in the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic partnership. That Vietnam and China promote their defense ties is an objective requirement, which benefits not only the two countries but also regional peace and stability. In spite of existing obstacles to the bilateral ties, the two countries can reap large fruits if they both try their best to foster bilateral relations.

Written by Deputy Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh  

Translated by Thu Nguyen