Vietnam-China Border Management, Cooperation And Struggle

History has shown that, at all times, the relation with the neighboring country need dexterity, flexibility, but equally strong-mindedness.
August 10, 2020 | 17:21
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Avoid extreme trends

The relations with China should be applied creatively the policy of both cooperation and struggle. First of all, with a truly humble spirit, we can learn from China's good experiences such as corruption fighting or economic development instead of due to the usual love and hate mentality to deny its positive sides including China's great and effective help in our two resistance wars for national independence and homeland reunification. I should think of our fair and clear distinguishing. The cooperation is a must, and the struggle must be resolute to the last breath, especially about sovereignty independence, territorial integrity, national security ...

Violent acts, too far - left or too far-right outbursts in dealing with China can seriously damage the image of Vietnam in the eyes of the international community, especially foreign investors. This may even create an excuse for some people with aggressive views on Vietnam in China to take advantage of actions and policies against us.

The reason for such dislike, vigilance or even many Chinese aversion was caused by China's actions in the South China Sea, especially their rude behavior towards Vietnamese fishermen fishing in the Hoang Sa (Paracel) Islands. or its illegal filling and building of artificial islands in Truong Sa (Spratly). Or an example case of China illegally putting HD 981 oil rig into Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in 2014. And especially, China has taken unlawful activities of threatening, bullying, pressuring in the South China Sea since the beginning of 2020 up to now, while the whole world is struggling to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, pushing up the psychology of hating China in Vietnamese society. But we cannot deny the connection of this trend to the extreme in Vietnamese's psychology and sentiment: “Loving me, love my dog, hate it like sin".

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Landmark 14 (2) is a double landmark of the same small number located on the bank of Nam Nom stream (Ta Nuo He) in Vietnam. The landmark is made of marble, planted on November 24, 2004 and has the coordinates of 22.502362, 102.280144

On the other hand, we must also realize the role and responsibility played by the media as well as relevant agencies in providing information, propagating and explaining to social opinion about borders and territories, especially about the international legal aspect as well as national law and clearly analyze the strategy of "both cooperation and struggle" in Vietnam - China relations.

There were times we only focused on struggling information but not sensible, logical, persuasive and effective struggle strategy. For example, people lack information about the nature of disputes in the Bien Dong Sea (internationally called South China Sea), historical developments of the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa issues. Many people are only aware of "Hoang Sa, Truong Sa belong to Vietnam", only receive information that fishermen are arrested, fishing boats are sunk, China continuously refills and builds islands illegally. And people only see diplomatic protests as the main thing through our responses, but not realize strong reactions from the armed forces, the fighting in the field ...

We lack of scientific, objective, valid and calm comments and analysis which understandably causes the public opinion worried and discontented. The cause comes from emotional reasoning, everything shows up according to psychology, personal feelings instead of calmly consideration and problem dissection.

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Vietnam - China's representatives handed over each other the border map of the policy of the 2nd Negotiation Round in July 1994.

Also, the lack of legal information and knowledge makes some views become impatient, stimulating public opinion, and forcing the State to demand a fierce response to China. There are even people opposing normal cooperation activities between Vietnam and China, which are precious opportunities for the two sides to talk, just due to their "hate" emotion. Both of these extremes put Vietnam in danger, causing disadvantages to solve the problem. The two countries are in conflict, creating normally psychosocialism of hatefulness and being alert. However, if we do not view the matter objectively and soberly according to the International Law's standard principles, the corollarry will be immeasurable for our nation.

All our dealings with China, especially in foreign relations need to be on the alert and prudent, how to be smart in the fight to protect and manage national borders under the pressure of the " China's soft border," strategy, not letting China take advantage of its political and diplomatic relations, under the guise of " for general development" to "erase" the achieved results of the border problem solving process in the Vietnam-China mainland boundaries in reality.

Learn our ancestors for diplomatic relations

If a conflict and war happened, though we don't know who win or lose, it would be unavoidable to cause casualties, wasting money, feud for two countries' people. Let us keep goodwill as much as we can, but when "the tree wants to remain quiet but the wind will not stop", the descendants of Ngo Quyen, Ly Thuong Kiet, Tran Hung Dao ... would rather sacrifice everything to protect the country, proven in our history. But we should not let anyone accuse us of provoking a fight.

Our struggle in the defense of independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity is best learnt from our ancestors experiencing the history of thousands of years to build and defend the country. Neighbouring on a great power, we must be very clever to maintain independence, autonomy practically despite "Emperor for internal but King for foreign affairs". Never before has our ancestors been arrogant, beating our breast to our northern neighbor, even when defeating them in defense wars. Our ancestors are always on alert to the risks, but have never refused goodwill and the desire for friendly cooperation, even actively expanding relations, improving the level of national development, and selectively cultivating the human civilization's achievements, including China's.

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Việt - Trung khánh thành mốc quốc giới đầu tiên tại Móng Cái, Quảng Ninh vào tháng 12/2001.

Vietnam country and people has been sustainably developing thanks to that spirit of peaceful relations. Today, it is vital for us to take into account our Power and Position when we fight to defend our independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, legitimate rights and interests on the land and sea border directions, as well as the regional and international context to apply and seek the most beneficial supporting. It is impossible for us to fight to protect sovereignty just by satisfying personal frustration. There are many people who are frustrated with China's actions in the South China Sea at certain times requiring Vietnam to "quit China". In my opinion, we should not put the issue of "quitting China", because Vietnamese people and country have never yielded to China. Although it took thousand years under Chinese domination, the desire for independence and autonomy in the Vietnamese blood has never ceased. Our soft, goodwill foreign policies cannot be seen as "yielding" as someone says.

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Dr. Tran Cong Truc during a survey trip to the northern border in the process of border delimitation negotiations with China in the period 1993-1996.

Certainly, our internal problems making our country weak must be found ways to overcome by ourselves, we should have not blamed for "depending on China" to find a way "quit China". We have right and ability to refuse any Chinese outdated technology or harmful goods. Our source of raw materials or our market must be actively expanded. Those are elements with purely economic - commercial - investment nature, not meant as "dependence" or "admiration" as the political connotations, ideological.

That is a problem any country must take into consideration, especially Vietnam adjacent to a large market, a large supply of raw materials and also a great low-cost and low-quality factory of the world, China. However, China has no any ways to force us to use toxic cheap goods unless we easily "click our tongue" at ourselves. Perhaps, we must find a way to get rid of backward thinking that inhibits the development of the country, thinking of how to build a prosperous and develop country in peace, friendship and cooperation.

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