Chinese Defense Attaché to Vietnam Senior Colonel Pan Tao affirmed that during an interview granted to the People’s Army Newspaper’s reporter on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of the foundation day of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (August 1, 1927 - 2022).

Chinese Defense Attaché to Vietnam Senior Colonel Pan Tao

The diplomat said that China and Vietnam are neighboring countries having traditional friendship and similar social systems. Under the leadership and direction of the two parties and states, the relationship between Vietnam and China, especially bilateral defense cooperation has fruitfully developed. In recent years, the China – Vietnam defense cooperation has been continuously promoted in a practical and intensive manner. Exchange of visits of military delegations and inked cooperation agreements have contributed to boosting mutual trust and understanding between the two militaries. In addition, cooperation between land border defense forces, naval forces, and coast guard forces of the two countries have been further strengthened. 

The Chinese Defense Attaché to Vietnam reaffirmed that defense cooperation is one of the important pillars in the comprehensive strategic partnership between Vietnam and China, and strengthening the bilateral defense cooperation is beneficial not only to the stable and healthy development of the relations between the two countries, but also to peace and stability of the region and the world. 

Talking about the outcomes in bilateral cooperation over the past time, the Chinese diplomat emphasized that despite numerous challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the two countries have overcome challenges and flexibly maintained exchange activities through various forms. 

In terms of cooperation between the two defense ministries, Senior Colonel Pan Tao said that defense leaders of the two countries have regularly exchanged letters on the occasion of New Year and important celebrations and shared information. Notably, in 2021 and 2022, the two defense ministries successfully organized the sixth and seventh Border Defense Friendship Exchanges, turning the cooperation mechanism into a spotlight in the China – Vietnam defense cooperation in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. More especially, after the sixth Border Defense Friendship Exchange, Chinese Defense Minister Senior Lieutenant General Wei Fenghe paid an official visit to Vietnam.

He added that cooperation mechanisms and exchanges between the two militaries have been continuously conducted. Joint patrols in the Gulf of Tonkin between naval forces and coast guard forces of the two countries have been resumed, while annual conferences have been held virtually. The two sides have accelerated the signing of cooperation agreements on political and border defense work and cooperated to deal with issues at sea. 

Senior Colonel Pan Tao recalled that when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, the Vietnam People’s Army presented medical supplies to the Chinese military. In return, the Chinese military donated a total of 500,000 doses of COVID- vaccine to the Vietnamese military. The deed demonstrated the special sentiment between the two sides. In December 2021, a joint exercise on humanitarian assistance and medical relief between Vietnamese and Chinese militaries was held for the first time, contributing to strengthening cooperation and trust between the two militaries and diversifying bilateral defense cooperation forms.

The official evaluated that the defense cooperation between China and Vietnam has been expanded in different fields in a practical and intensive manner. Together with further expanding their cooperation in existing fields and diversifying cooperation contents and forms, Senior Colonel Pan Tao said that the two sides should actively seek new cooperation fields, including military political affairs, U.N. peacekeeping operations, and military medicine, especially in border areas. 

He went on to say that, China is willing to exchange any initiatives beneficial to the development of the bilateral defense cooperation and to regional and international peace and stability with Vietnam.  

The diplomat emphasized that the Defense Attaché Office of Chinese Embassy in Vietnam and he himself are willing to be bridges to strengthen the bilateral defense cooperation. He also promised to actively contribute to exchange activities between Chinese and Vietnamese militaries.

Translated by Tran Hoai