The South China Post on the morning of the day had an article on January 13, 2023 by author Frank Tang with the title: “China and Vietnam have a common future, General Secretary Xi Jinping wrote in his New Year greeting letter. sent to his Vietnamese counterpart.”
The gist of the article said that Xi Jinping sent a New Year greeting letter to Nguyen Phu Trong, in which he pledged that China sees a common future with Vietnam and will prioritize Vietnam when it comes to diplomacy in the area.
The article quotes Mr. Xi from Xinhua: “We will work with the Vietnamese side to further integrate bilateral development strategies, strengthen comprehensive cooperation, and strengthen communication and coordination on international and regional affairs” and “Both are stepping up efforts to implement the consensus we have reached. I believe this will strengthen the political mutual trust and traditional friendship between the two sides, and effectively improve the welfare of the peoples from the two countries.”
These statements come as China’s relations with the West, and especially the United States, remain strained.
Controversial issues include Washington’s support for Taiwan and American’s efforts to block China’s technological progress such as: tightening access to high-tech chips; reduce China’s role in global supply chains, by working with Southeast Asian allies and other countries.
Author Frank Tang said that the similarities in ideology, political structure and economic development model of the two countries have warmed the relationship between China and Vietnam, despite the border wars four decades ago and lingering territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
This author also mentioned that Vietnam is a favorite destination for Chinese investors. They want to move production to Vietnam to reduce costs, and to circumvent US tariffs or other trade barriers.
The author also cited Chinese customs data, to see that bilateral trade between the two countries increased by 2.1%, to $234.9 billion in 2022, accounting for about a quarter of the total turnover of China – ASEAN.
The South China Morning Post is an English-language daily based in Hong Kong. Since 2016, this newspaper has been acquired by China’s Alibaba Group.
According to the New York Times, the newspaper has been tasked by Alibaba Group with “improving China’s image abroad” while also fighting against what it sees as anti-China foreign media.
Thus, the South China Morning Post is not an ordinary newspaper, but a newspaper specializing in political affairs according to the intentions of the Chinese Communist Party.
The article by author Frank Tang mentioned above has quite gentle words, and the quoted words of Mr. Xi appear to be quite “innocuous“, even carrying a metaphorical, caressing substance.
Perhaps Mr. Xi issued a decree to entice Vietnam because Vietnam was completely subdued, he needed to keep this vassal in his hands. Because now China needs Vietnam to stand out as a windbreak for China its war with the US.
Trade barriers that the US imposes on China, including the recent ban by the US government, are aimed at preventing China from accessing chip manufacturing technology, because tiny chips can be control the defense equipment, and because, whoever holds the chip manufacturing technology can become a superpower…
US-China tensions are increasing, but China still needs the US market and US technology to develop. Therefore, China needs Vietnam as a springboard, through Vietnam, Chinese goods can be “turned” into Vietnamese goods and exported to the US. Even through Vietnam, China can buy technologies that the US bans from selling to China.