Vietnam, China boost defence ties

The second Vietnam-China defence-security strategic dialogue at deputy ministerial level has successfully concluded in Beijing, showing the mutual trust and need for defence and security cooperation in the region.

Excerpts from a VOV interview with Lieutenant-General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Deputy Minister of Defence and Head of the Vietnamese delegation on the outcome of the dialogue.

VOV: Could you please give a brief account of the dialogue?

General Vinh: This is the fifth Vietnam-China defence-security strategic dialogue and the second one since it was upgraded to deputy ministerial level, the highest level of defence strategy.

This not only expresses the mutual trust and need for defence and security cooperation between the two countries, but is also a corresponding development in the context of the comprehensive Vietnam-China strategic partnership.

At this year’s meeting, both sides discussed international and regional issues related to each country’s defence and security, as well as measures to boost defence cooperation between the two nations.

Lieutenant-General Nguyen Chi Vinh
At present, there are two main issues of mutual concern between Vietnam and China. The first issue is the promotion of cooperation in all fields, including defence and security, and the second is the different ideas of Vietnam and China.

During the dialogue, Vietnam affirmed its sovereignty, independence, and self-reliance. Vietnam has also expressed hope to settle East Sea issues in a peaceful and transparent manner in accordance with international law.

China, for its part, expressed hope that the issues will be settled peacefully on the basis of respect for Vietnam’s sovereignty and independence.

Both sides listened to each other in the spirit of good will.

The Vietnam-China relationship is based on the close neighbourliness between the two countries and the mutual respect for each other’s independence and sovereignty in the principle of self reliance.

VOV: Did the two sides reach any consensus on the maintenance of peace and stability in the East Sea?

General Vinh: Discussion directly related to dealing with the issues in the East Sea was not included in the defence-security dialogue as this is not the function of the Defence Ministry. However, we have our own principles of defence. I told our Chinese comrades that both sides should never use, threaten to use, or even consider using forces to deal with the East Sea issues.

In addition, both sides agreed to build a peaceful and developed sea region by assisting and protecting fishermen, as well as maintaining normal activities in the sea, in compliance with international law. The dialogue also proposed specific measures to implement the principles such as enhancing naval cooperation, conducting joint patrols, and boosting exchanges of visits with a view to avoiding conflicts between both defence forces in the sea.

VOV: It is maintained that China’s recent move to boost its defence power will disturb the security balance in the region. Do you think so?

General Vinh: We should keep a close watch on the moves of a powerful neighbouring country. It has the right to develop its defence potential if it does not affect the regional security situation or balance in the region.

However, such actions as building aircraft carriers, bringing them to the disputed areas, and organising unusual military exercises may threaten regional security.

VOV: Thank you very much!