The Chinese Embassy in Vietnam on August 26 issued a statement strongly attacking the trip of US Vice President Kamala Harris to Vietnam earlier this week, accusing the US of being the country that manipulates, bullies and “militarize the South China Sea,” and warned Washington against “power illusions” about its leadership.
Beijing’s new move comes after a series of actions that some analysts say are “brutal,” “monstrous” and part of China’s “wolf warrior” foreign policy.
In a statement, the Chinese Embassy condemned the US Vice President during her visit to Vietnam for “arbitrarily attacking China, accusing China of “coercive bullying” in the region, and encouraging countries in the region follow the US and “put more pressure on China” and declare that “the US navy will maintain a full presence in the South China Sea.”
China’s diplomatic mission criticized the US for “deliberately fabricating China’s ‘coercive theory of the South China Sea’ and distorting China’s position and proposals” with ASEAN countries.
“The US government has long promised to be impartial on the issue of sovereignty over the South China Sea. Now the United States is trampling on its serious promise, openly provoking and coercing countries in the region to challenge China. Obviously, what the US really wants is not peace and stability in the region, nor ‘freedom of navigation’, but the freedom of US warships in the South China Sea,” the Chinese Embassy continued, and then came to the conclusion that the United States is really the force behind the militarization of the South China Sea and the “black hand” that threatens and bullies others.
The statement was made shortly after Vice President Kamala Harris concluded her visit to Singapore and Vietnam on August 26. Throughout the trip, Ms. Harris constantly criticized China for its aggression and bullying in the South China Sea and called on countries in the region to cooperate with the US in countering China’s growing influence and protect international law in the the South China Sea.
Competing for influence
Commenting on China’s latest move, Dr. Ha Hoang Hop, a guest senior researcher at Singapore’s ISEAS Institute told VOA:
“They want to compete with the US. They see that America is going down and they are going up, and then America will give up all of its international role, its role of peacekeeper, and its role of leading an international order based on principles. rule of law. They wanted to introduce a new order, an order that no one could accept. It is an order based on totalitarianism, anti-democracy, against basic human rights values, free market principles… most fundamentally, against international rule of law.”
The Chinese embassy statement follows a string of previous actions by Beijing to vie for influence with Washington in Hanoi.
Most notably, on the day Ms. Kamala Harris arrived in Vietnam (August 24), Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Xiong Bo met Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and announced additional aid to Vietnam two million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, after announcing to donate 200,000 doses to the Vietnamese military a few days earlier, and saying that the Chinese side was “ready to strengthen political trust,” “wishes to control together with Vietnam disagreement, properly handle the issue at sea according to high-level common sense,” and after this donation of 2 million doses of vaccine will consider continuing to donate more vaccines to Vietnam, according to Vietnamese media reports.
Meanwhile, Chinese media said that the number of new vaccines that China donated to Vietnam was at the request of Hanoi and quoted Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh as confirming to the Chinese representative that Vietnam would not go with one country against another.
“Ridiculous” and “rude”
Dr Mac Van Trang, a Vietnam-based news watcher, said he was no stranger to China’s “ridiculous” and “brutal” behavior towards Vietnam.
He said: “People are preparing to welcome guests, when it’s time for them to welcome guests, naturally he lurched himself to people’s houses, trusted God and then told him to give this and that as if threatening, the people we are very uncomfortable. It is impolite, rude, and bizarre in diplomacy and in normal life.”
During the time when the US Vice President was visiting Vietnam, the Chinese Communist Party’s Global Times newspaper continuously published articles attacking Ms. Harris’s visit.
On August 25, the newspaper quoted experts from the country as saying that Ms Harris’s trip was “wrong time, wrong target and only negative impact.”
The paper said although both Ms Harris’s visit and that of US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in July were made at the invitation of Vietnam, this raised suspicions that Hanoi was leaning towards Washington. . But the meeting between Ambassador Xiong Bo and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh showed that Vietnamese people “do not want the Vietnam-China relationship to be damaged by the growing relationship with the US,” and now this relationship still “stable” even though Vietnam is one of the countries most likely to be of interest to the US in the Asia-Pacific.
According to Dr. Ha Hoang Hop, Beijing has long been “hidden” about the East Sea and wants Hanoi to compromise its interests in the context of the “friendly” relationship between the two sides. However, he said: “The leaders here, I understand very well that they have nothing to do with China. But in practice, they still maintain a seemingly soft attitude, even at times people think it is so soft that people have to react and criticize.”
This researcher believes that Hanoi cannot and does not “dare” to compromise with Beijing on national interests because if they do, they will be overthrown by their own internal affairs, let alone the people.
In a statement on August 26, the Chinese Embassy warned the United States not to underestimate the will, determination and bravery to protect the sovereignty, security and interests of the Chinese people, and also underestimate the importance of independence in the hearts of the people of the region, and do not “false power“, overestimate their “leadership” role and authority.
Beijing also confidently said in the statement that countries in the region would not follow US leadership, let alone join the US’s anti-China chariot.