Upgrading relations with US, why does Vietnam still let China train its senior cadres?

President Joe Biden and General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong

For a long time, the story of China’s leadership trying to interfere in the arrangement of senior leadership personnel in Vietnam is an undisputed fact. Since the 1990 Chengdu Conference on the normalization of Vietnam-China relations, there has been a series of General Secretaries of the Communist Party of Vietnam who are pro-Beijing, or controlled by Beijing, such as: Le Kha Phieu, Do Muoi, Nong Duc Manh and Nguyen Phu Trong.

Recently, Vietnam upgraded its diplomatic relations with the United States to the highest level, a comprehensive strategic partnership. Although that was not the beginning of Vietnam’s “escape from China,” it did somewhat improve the image of Vietnam’s leaders in the eyes of the people, who were seen as leaders clinging to China. The idiom “It rains in Beijing, Hanoi holds up an umbrella” honestly reflects this.

Yet, Hanoi Moi newspaper reported on September 25 that Hanoi Party Secretary Dinh Tien Dung went to Guangdong to attend the closing ceremony of the city’s cadre training class. Specifically, on the afternoon of September 25, Mr. Dinh Tien Dung, Politburo member, Secretary of the City Party Committee and a high-ranking delegation of Hanoi city, attended the closing ceremony of the “Training class for young officers of the Hanoi City Party Committee for the 2025-2030 term” at South China Polytechnic University, Guangzhou city, Guangdong province, China.

This training course for resource planning officers was held on September 19-26. Participating in the class were 20 students who were key officials from departments and branches of the city and districts, towns, planned for the City Party Executive Committee for the 2025-2030 term.

Lecturers and class presenters are Chinese experts and scientists from South China Polytechnic University, Guangzhou Party School, Guangzhou Foreign Affairs Department, with reputation and high professional qualifications, according to the document.

For a long time, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong has been accused by domestic and foreign public opinion of “being determined to sinocize the Vietnamese leadership team.” Public opinion and analysts have the same opinion, saying:

Although [as of 2017] has only been General Secretary for 6 years, Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong has visited China 3 times, the third time was in January 2017. Mr. Trong’s two previous visits to China, in October 2011 and April 2015, resulted in two Vietnam-China Joint Declarations, which were considered extremely harmful, pushing Vietnam increasingly into the Beijing’s tighter containment.

During the third visit to China in January 2017, among the 15 cooperation documents between Hanoi and Beijing, the first document was “Agreement on cooperation in training high-level officials between the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Communist Party of China” along with a series of other dangerous documents.

In the Vietnam-China Joint Statement on the occasion of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit to Beijing in October 2011, the cooperation in training officials between the two sides was only generally stated as “expanding and deepening cooperation in training Party and government officials” and “strengthening cooperation in training cadres and exchanging young officers.”

Similarly, the Vietnam-China Joint Communiqué on the occasion of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit to China in April 2015, also only generally stated “deepening cooperation in fostering and training Party cadres and government” and “strengthen cooperation in fostering and training cadres.”

Thus, under General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, cooperation in training officials between Vietnam and China initially started from general instructions in October 2011, or April 2015. Until November 2015 is the “Cooperation plan for cadre training between the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Communist Party of China for the 20162020 period.” But the final word was the “Agreement to cooperate in training senior officials” in January 2017. This shows that the level of cooperation in training and coaching human resources for Vietnam has made great strides depending on China more and more.

Compare the “2017 Training Cooperation Agreement” with the “2015 Training Cooperation Plan” to see that the Vietnamese officials sent to China for training under the latest cooperation agreement have been raised. belongs to the category of senior officials or is a resource officer for key positions in the apparatus.

This proves that the determination to “Sinocize” the Vietnamese leadership team from low to high, from the central to localities, ministries and branches, is real, systematic and methodical.

It’s hard to say that Vietnam can hope to “escape China“.

Thoibao.de (Translated)