What do Vietnamese leaders think when China gets angry to news that Washington would sell F-16 to Hanoi?

Would party chief Nguyen Phu Trong dare to take off the “noose” on his neck and throw it away?

When the Ukraine war broke out, Russian weapons showed the world how backward they were. Bogged down in this war, the Russian defense industry is not enough to supply the Russian army, so where can they get weaponry for export? And of course, it is understandable that Russian customers will find other sources of supply.

During Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s trip to the US on September 16-23, foreign press said that President Biden’s administration was having negotiations with Vietnam about a major arms transfer agreement, a historical one between two former enemies. The weapons package will likely be delivered next year, including the sale of F-16 fighter jets.

After international media reported the above news, the Global Times – a newspaper of the Communist Party of China – immediately published the article “The US providing F-16 fighters to Vietnam is undermining stable peace’.” The article quoted Mr. Wei Dongxu, a military expert in Beijing, as saying that “by providing F-16 fighter jets, possibly used, to Vietnam and strengthening defense ties, the US aims to gain another foothold in the region, through the addition of political constraints, such as requiring the use of Vietnam’s air and naval bases. Taking advantage of this new foothold, the US military can cause more trouble in the East Sea (South China Sea), to build a military siege and contain China. However, analysts believe that Vietnam can weigh the pros and cons independently and avoid falling into the trap of becoming a pawn of the US.”

Mr. Wei also added, “Vietnam buys US fighter jets, Vietnam may be controlled by the US in terms of defense policies, as well as Vietnam’s military activities may become dependent on the US. It is difficult for Vietnam to accept this.”

It can be said that the Communist Party of Vietnam has only flirted with the US F-16 fighter jet, but China hastily spoke up. If the Communist Party of Vietnam takes another step forward with the US, Beijing would be really “angry.” Beijing’s statement shows two things, first is that the US F-16 aircraft must be better than the Russian Su types, so China is so upset. And secondly, China does not want Vietnam’s military to become stronger. Because when Vietnam becomes stronger, Beijing is afraid that Vietnam will slip out of their control.

It was because of fear of losing the Party that late leaders Nguyen Van Linh, Do Muoi , and Pham Van Dong brought Vietnam into Beijing’s clutches, by signing the disgraceful Chengdu Conference. But once you fall into the clutches of the fierce beast, if you want to escape, it will definitely make this fierce beast go crazy. However, whether the Communist Party of Vietnam has the courage to separate from China’s control is another matter. The attitude of accepting to hand over 300 high-ranking Party officials to China for training is a bad signal. The tameness was clearly evident, telling the General Secretary has no courage to separate himself from his “golden friend.”

In fact, in 2015, then-US President Barack Obama signed a decree lifting the embargo on lethal weapons against Vietnam. This is a clear signal that the US wants Vietnam to buy American weapons to separate from the orbit of Russia and China. And then there was an arms sale, but it failed. In 2017, the British defense newspaper The Shephard Media said that the agreement broke down because the Vietnamese side set conditions to increase the contract to give “kickbacks” to Vietnamese officials. However, there is also unofficial news that the Vietnamese side is not interested in buying lethal weapons from the US, for fear of offending China.

Now that Mr. Trong is near death, should he “risk his old life” and separate his Party from China’s orbit? If he keeps kneeing to China, his life would not be longer. He should do something for the sake of the nation.

Thoibao.de (Translated)