In an interview given to the People’s Army Newspaper’s reporters, General Thai stressed that the two countries’ efforts and close cooperation have helped maintain the system of border markers and security and order along the shared borderline. 

Major General Le Duc Thai

The Vietnamese border chief also highlighted the results of the border defense friendship exchanges and related activities engaged in by the Party committees, authorities and people of seven border provinces in Northern Vietnam and the Chinese provinces of Guangxi and Yunnan. He noted that the two sides’ economic-trade cooperation via border and border gates has been constantly growing with trade turnover accounting for nearly 85 per cent of the total turnover of goods via border between Vietnam and neighboring countries. Moreover, the development of many busy cities and border areas along the shared borderline together with the opening and upgrading of border gates have met the increasing trade demand between the two nations.

According to General Thai, the two sides have worked closely to effectively implement three legal documents on border, the agreement on protection and exploitation of tourism resources in Ban Gioc waterfall, and the agreement on free navigation at Beilun estuary. Attentively, the friendship and solidarity between the Vietnamese border guard force and Chinese border protection force and between the people living on both sides of the shared borderline have developed. In addition, achievements have been seen in exchange activities, such as the twinning model connecting residential areas on both sides of the shared borderline, between border guard stations, cultural exchanges, and economic development assistance.

“We can confirm that the Vietnam-China land border not only plays a role in defining the territorial boundaries of each country, but also is a space for cooperation, development, and a bridge of solidarity, and friendship between the two countries, especially among border people,” said Chief of the Vietnam Border Guard Command.

The border guard forces of the two sides in a joint patrol.

Recalling the success of the first Vietnam-China border defense friendship exchange in March 2014 in the Vietnamese province of Quang Ninh and the Chinese province of Guangxi, General Thai stressed that this important event opened a new page and laid a good foundation for the bilateral border defense cooperation. Thai added that after each exchange, the cooperative mechanism between the two countries’ border protection forces has been very effective. He also highly valued the good outcomes in border management and protection, cross-border immigration control and cross-border crime prevention and control. Thanks to the good coordination in monitoring borders, the two border protection forces have effectively carried out COVID-19 prevention and control and prevented illegal immigration across borders.

General Thai also emphasized the outcomes of the five previous exchanges, including the signing of numerous important cooperation agreements on border and border gate management, settlement of newly arising border issues, handling of non-traditional security challenges, and the successful organization of anti-terrorism exercises, to name but a few. According to General Thai, these have made important contribution to enhancing friendship, mutual trust and understanding between the two countries militaries and people.

Regarding this year’s Vietnam-China border defense friendship exchange, the sixth of its kind, slated for April 24, General Thai spoke highly of the thorough preparations for the event of relevant bodies of the two defense ministries and the support from the Party committees, authorities, and people of Quang Ninh (Vietnam) and Guangxi (China) provinces. He informed that apart from the exchange, the seventh Vietnam-China Defense Strategic Dialogue and the Chinese Minister of National Defense’s official visit to Vietnam will take place.

General Thai also mentioned the participation of the high-ranking Vietnamese and Chinese military delegations in various activities within the framework of the exchange and emphasized that these demonstrated the thoughtfulness of the two Parties, States, and militaries concerning the border areas, and socio-economic and cultural life of the people living along both sides of the shared borderline.

About the future cooperation between the border protection forces of the two countries, General Thai said that they will continue to realize agreements reached by the two defense ministers during the exchange. They will boost coordination to ensure law enforcement and the protection of the shared borderline and border markers and consolidate trust and promote cooperation for mutual benefits in a substantive, friendly, harmonious, and sustainable manner.

Additionally, they will invest in upgrading border gates and apply IT to immigration control. Especially, once the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled, the two sides will organize more talks, joint patrols, anti-terrorism and disease prevention and control exercises, cultural exchanges, and military sports festivals.

Translated by Mai Huong