Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong who is also the general secretary of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam has recently admitted that during his presidency, Vietnam sometimes failed to publicize the incidents in theEast Sea (South China Sea) due to delicate reasons.
Vietnam’s state-controlled media quoted Mr. Trong from reading the report summarizing the term of the state presidency from 2016 to 2021 at the opening session of the National Assembly on March 24, saying:
“There are things that cannot be said publicly, but there are times, there are incidents that happen in the East Sea, how our west, how the southwest, how the relationship with our friendly country is. There are things that must be said very truthfully to our friend country and comrades but our whole system was doing very well.”
In the section on security and defense tasks, State President Nguyen Phu Trong said that, in the capacity of the chairman of the National Defense – Security Council, and the chief commander of the People’s Armed Forces, he participated in directing the construction and completion of many important projects and strategies related to security and defense.
Mr. Trong also said that although Vietnam has not publicized, Hanoi has built a series of defense and security strategies to ensure independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity, and sovereignty over the sea and islands of the country.
Speaking before the parliament, Mr. Trong did not specifically say what these defense and security strategies were, but only said that he was directing the construction of a number of strategies that are directly related to the country, which are extremely important. He said:
“Under any circumstances, we must not be surprised about defense and security in all directions, east, southwest, and north; and too far, near, big and small countries.”
Vietnam still has disputes with Cambodia on the southwest border and with China in the South China Sea.
Since General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong took the position of state president in October 2018 after the sudden death of President Tran Dai Quang, China has repeatedly taken actions to infringe upon Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone in the East Sea. These activities of China have affected the oil and gas exploitation activities of Vietnam.
During the Chinese aggression, President Nguyen Phu Trong hardly spoke out publicly against these actions, only the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam spoke up.
Compared to 2014 when China placed oil rig HD 981 in the waters in the Hoang Sa (Paracels) which both countries claim, Hanoi did not speak up much in the press about specific Chinese activities at the Vanguard Bank in Vietnam’s waters.