China, Vietnam Agree to Boost Security Ties

    China, Vietnam Agree to Boost Security Ties
    Image copyright: Pool/Getty Images News [via Getty Images]

    The Facts

    • Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping concluded a two-day visit to Vietnam on Wednesday, where he met with his counterpart Vo Van Thuong, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, and Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.

    • It's the first visit by the Chinese leader to Vietnam in six years, with the two nations signing contracts for 37 deals, including on diplomatic ties, railways, telecommunications, and trade.

    The Spin

    Anti-China narrative

    Xi's visit — which takes place three months after Biden's formal visit to Hanoi in September, during which the country granted Washington its highest diplomatic status — is merely an attempt to test the waters and one-up the US. Amid pressure from China, however, Vietnam must be careful not to abandon its "bamboo diplomacy" by bending to Xi's will or risk facing backlash.

    Pro-China narrative

    According to a distorted US media analysis, Xi's visit to Vietnam only occurred due to major diplomatic advancements between the US and Vietnam — a false narrative that implies that Beijing and Hanoi have had little interaction in the past. Unlike the US, which seeks to use Hanoi to further its own interests when necessary and set it aside when not, China has been fostering long-term connections with Vietnam. The historical relationship between the US and Vietnam, however, is much more complicated.

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