European union china relationship with vietnam

Vietnam’s active diplomacy to engage with China’s increasing regional presence -

european union china relationship with vietnam

Vietnam's strategic hedging vis-à-vis China: the roles of the European Union and . However, Vietnam's bilateral relationship with China has not been free of. Mar 7, In , Vietnamese forces in Hanoi were recognized by China and .. Vietnam is also building relations with the European Union, Japan, and. Oct 17, The European Commission submitted for approval on Wednesday a free trade agreement with Vietnam, its first comprehensive open markets.

Vietnam Expects Economic Boom from EU Trade Deal

Symptomatic of this is the criticism that has been voiced against the Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung by such high-ranked figures as the year-old General Vo Nguyen Giap, that is a national military icon. At the same time, the support given to the project by many of the most powerful members of the Vietnamese Communist Party was interpreted as a result of the Chinese bribery of these officials, viewed as being kowtowing to China and selling themselves out to Beijing and to capitalism.

That being said, strategic hedging is no panacea for the resolution of the SEA problems and involves risks. These risks are not only linked to Vietnam's foreign policy autonomy, but also to the formidable balance of power that has been promoted and safeguarded by ASEAN.

The risks are exacerbated by the growing arm race in the region. According to Evan S. Medeiros, "hedging is fraught with complications and dangers that could precipitate a shift toward rivalry and regional instability," 27 mainly due to the increasing competitive engagement of external players in the Southeast Asia region, at the cost of the marginalization of ASEAN.

To be sure, this is a scenario that does not correspond to Vietnam's national interests.

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Finally, it should be said that in order to be a viable option the former requires flexibilities of alignments, 28 and a skillful implementation of the strategy involved. This hedging research stream suggests that Vietnam walks a very fine line in its strategy towards the US, ASEAN, and China, and makes adjustments depending on its national interest. It also does not want to court trade only with American firms, nor does it want to court US support in security relations in the SEA region.

Furthermore, Vietnam does not simply bandwagon with China. Therefore, given this preference for hedging dynamics, Vietnam has been opting for the following twofold strategy. On the one hand, Vietnam's foreign policy has sought to engage China while aiming to repair and deepen the relationship between the two countries. On the other hand, Hanoi's strategy has been designed to buttress this foreign policy option by seeking to engage other great powers in the region, notably the US, India, Japan, the EU, and Russia, in order to counterweight Chinese ambition.

european union china relationship with vietnam

While supporting this twofold strategic orientation, Vietnamese foreign policy has paid special attention to regional institutions, predominantly to ASEAN, due to its capacity of keeping China engaged while simultaneously restraining Beijing's assertive and sometimes even aggressive behavior in the SCS.

Economic relations are part of this twofold strategy: Vietnam uses its economic relations to deepen both bilateral ties with China and engage it in multilateral fora, such as ASEAN.

China–Vietnam relations - Wikipedia

Accordingly, Vietnam is expected to continue to further develop relationships with major external players in addition to ASEAN, as part of its quest for economic growth and security. An illustration of Vietnam's strategic hedging is the position adopted by the Vietnamese leadership on the issue of the Cam Ranh port. The latter is strategically located in the SEA and Western Pacific and is only 1, km away from the Hainan Island, where the Chinese government established the Sansha administrative district.

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The importance of the base stems from the fact that this base can be used to encircle China, blocking its access to Asia-Pacific, thus diminishing China's extensive influence over Vietnam. An upgraded Cam Ranh base might thus allow for naval force projections into disputed areas in the SCS. In the past years, especially sinceVietnam has strengthened its security cooperation and relationships with naval forces from the US, Russia, and India, among others, thereby reinforcing its strategic role in the region.

However, instead of choosing one particular country and granting access to the latter, Hanoi's tactic has been to adopt strategic hedging. Eventually, this option would allow maximizing the benefits brought about from using the base.

The decision has been backed up by two carefully calculated steps. Eventually, the hedging illustrated by the case of the Cam Ranh port allowed Hanoi to achieve two goals. Firstly, in line with its foreign policy objectives, Hanoi avoided direct confrontation with China or any other party. The decision has also enabled Hanoi to profile itself as a "reliable partner," something that can help draw attention of major external players with geopolitical interests in the region.

Eventually, this increasing interest on the part of the external powers is expected to produce the necessary containment effect over Chinese behavior in the SCS. China is currently one of the biggest economic partners of Vietnam and therefore holds an important position in the country's economy.

european union china relationship with vietnam

Moreover, aid and financial assistance originating from Beijing and flowing to Vietnam indicate that finding out solutions regarding how to deal with Vietnam's increasingly powerful neighbor is far from an easy task.

The growing economic dependence on China has led to a drastic reduction of leverage for Hanoi's authorities i. This considerably thwarts the capacity of Vietnam to resolve the SCS disputes on equal footing with China. In this regard, EU has the potential to profile itself as an economic partner able to ultimately counterbalance the economic leverage of China in the Vietnamese economy, favoring Hanoi. The latter's cooperation with Vietnam in the critical export-oriented rubber, tire, and coffee industries has increasingly transformed Vietnam into one of China's manufacturing and resource-saturated "provinces.

The rapport with the EU has been highly valued by Hanoi's authorities. Assessing bilateral cooperation between the EU and Vietnam, particularly in the fields of trade and investment, Vietnamese National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung referred to the EU's "privileged position in Vietnamese foreign policy. The entry into force and subsequent implementation of the PCA and the eventual establishment of an FTA are recognized by Vietnam's Foreign Affairs Minister Pham Binh Minh as important new milestones in the evolution of relations between Vietnam and the EU, both bilaterally and multilaterally.

Vietnam's exports to the EU have increased by The considerable trade turnover between the European companies and the regional states, including Vietnam, is closely connected to the freedom of navigation and the stability of the SCS. This fact has urged stronger EU engagement in regional security matters, and especially into the maritime security in the SCS.

The EU declines to participate in the region's militarization arguing that the region's realist thinking as well as its trends towards militarization and confrontational policies might lead the region into disastrous wars similar to the ones Europe experienced during the 20th century.

The latter provides guiding principles for solutions to the SCS disputes among claimants, which should be found through the application of "peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

european union china relationship with vietnam

Finally, the EU has declared that it was ready to share its own experiences with regards to maritime disputes and fishing rights. Thus, the EU strengthens its position in the SEA as a mediator in the current tensions and any potential conflict.

As this strategic situation develops, the EU may be a useful element of balance. It is not difficult to find examples that illustrate the increasing role of the EU in the domain of the SCS issues.

On the one hand, the EU has promoted the rapprochement with Vietnam. On February 29,the 1st EU-Vietnam political dialogue at the Vice-Minister level was established to exchange views on promoting convergence regarding several issues of common interest, including developments in the SCS. On the other hand, at the 19th ARF meeting held in Cambodia on July 12,the EU, together with the US, reached a joint statement in which it was stated that they "will cooperate with Asian partners to enhance maritime security based on international law as specified in United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, as well as contribute to confidence building measures to increase trust in order to reduce the risks of crisis and conflicts.

However, an ever closer relationship between Vietnam and the EU has been critical to the Hanoi's approach marked by strategic hedging. EU fighting a lone battle for human rights in Asia 14 April Author: Untilit seemed that things were moving in the right direction, but since then there has been backsliding in China and several Southeast Asian countries.

The European Union has struggled to cope with this reversal. But the results in these forums have been mixed. Asian elites often accuse the European Union of lecturing them on human rights. This is not to say that the European Union has a clean slate: But the hypocrisy only extends so far: The European Union receives varying levels of support from its member states on human rights.

EU fighting a lone battle for human rights in Asia | East Asia Forum

Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have traditionally been the strongest supporters. Securing a united EU position is unlikely to become easier in the future due to economic pressures that are driving less affluent states closer to Beijing. The main lever that the European Union has at its disposal is trade sanctions.

It has maintained an arms embargo against China since the Tiananmen Square protests.

european union china relationship with vietnam

Roosevelt offered the Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek the entirety of Indochina to be put under Chinese rule. Reportedly, Chiang Kai-shek replied: China had planned to widely spread the propaganda of the Atlantic Charter and Roosevelt's statement on Vietnamese self-determination, in order to undermine French authority in Indochina.

Truman switched his position on Vietnamese independence in order to gain the support of Free French Forces in Europe. According to a study in the Journal of Conflict Resolution covering Vietnam-China relations from tothe relations could be characterized as a "hierarchic tributary system".

Vietnamese rulers also displayed very little military attention to their relations with China. Rather, Vietnamese leaders were clearly more concerned with quelling chronic domestic instability and managing relations with kingdoms to their south and west. These troops remained in Indochina until In FebruaryChiang Kai-shek forced the French colonists to surrender all of their concessions in China and renounce their extraterritorial privileges, in exchange for withdrawing from northern Indochina and allowing French troops to reoccupy the region.

The Chinese Communist Party provided, arms, military training and essential supplies to help the Communist North defeat Capitalist South Vietnam and its ally, the United Statesbetween and