Each term of Communist Party of China (CPC)’s General Secretary Mr. Xi Jinping, Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV)’s Chief Nguyen Phu Trong must visit Beijing at least once. In his first term, Nguyen Phu Trong’s power was not as strong as that of then Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. However, by 2015, the situation and force was completely in favor of Nguyen Phu Trong, thanks to which he kicked Nguyen Tan Dung out of the Politburo. Mr. Dung had to retire like “returning to his village to be a kind person.”
The fact that Trong defeated Dung, public opinion said, was because Trong was close to Xi. When Xi was still Vice President of China, Trong rolled out the red carpet to welcome Xi in Hanoi, even more solemnly welcoming Hu Jintao. Mr. Trong also cools Xi Jinping’s eyes with a forest of 6-star flags. The Chinese flag has only 1 big star and 4 small stars around it, but Trong gave it another star, which is understood to represent Vietnam.
On April 7, 2015, Trong went to meet Xi Jinping, right after that, his power was much stronger. At the end of 2015 and early 2016, Mr. Trong was able to force Dung to leave the political arena. This is the result of “turning the bet” at the last minute, because before that, no one thought that Trong could do anything to Dung.
After Dung went home, Trong brought Xi Jinping’s strategy of “beating tigers to kill flies” to Vietnam, changing it to “burning campaign” to hit the roots of Dung. A series of officials under Dung went to prison, including Tran Bac Ha and Dinh La Thang. Particularly, Tran Bac Ha died in a very mysterious situation.
Exterminating corruption is a demagogue card, showing the people that he is the one who cleans up the Party and state apparatus, and at the same time destroys the forces that refuse to obey by him. Thanks to that, the power of Trong is getting stronger and stronger. There has never been a General Secretary who has twice knocked down the state president like him. When slapping the president is as easy as taking out a candy from his pocket, he is likely to encroach on the Prime Minister’s seat again.
At the end of October 2022, Trong was the fastest person in the world to go to Beijing to meet Xi Jinping, right after Xi officially remains the Chinese president and CPC’s General Secretary for the 3rd term. On this trip, Trong was respectfully received by Xi who awarded him with the Friendship Medal. Returning to the country, Mr. Trong’s power was much stronger with the knocking down of two Western-educated Deputy Prime Ministers, and the most shocking was to knock down President Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
During Trong’s visit to China from October 30 to November 1, 2022, the Xinhua News Agency took an image that, whether intentionally or unintentionally, reflects the relationship between the two countries. That is the image of Trong, old, small and weak, walking unsteadily. Next to him is Xi, tall as a guardian, looking very energetic. Trong took Xi’s hand to walk with him. Looking at this image, some people think that if Mr. Xi walked quickly, he might be able to pull Mr. Trong down.
Perhaps Xinhua wants to refer to the image of a large country next to a small country. However, this image also evokes for some people the feeling of a stooped old man, in poor health, going out to seek support, to gain strength, and returning to be the king of his country. Currently, he is the king of the CPV’s Central Committee and Politburo, and the king of the Four Pillars.
Trong’s foreign policy is no longer strange to Vietnamese people. He chose to yield to Beijing in exchange for political protection for his Party and for himself. As long as nurturing and maintaining his position to strengthen him, then the person who was trained by Mr. Trong to take over the position of head of the Party is also a submissive man like him.