China and Vietnam agrees to enhance security cooperation

China and Vietnam agreed to step up security cooperation matters in their move towards becoming a community with a shared future, they said as Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up a visit to Hanoi.

During, Xi’s two-day trip, the Communist-ruled neighbours signed dozens of co-operation pacts and agreed to set up more hotlines to defuse any emergencies in the contested waters.

Worth mentioning that in a 16-page joint statement, the countries, which share a millennia-long history of conflict, vowed to work more closely to strengthen defence industry ties and intelligence exchanges.

Both the countries said their aim was partly to avert the risk of what they called a “colour revolution” promoted by hostile forces, using a term for popular uprisings that have shaken former Communist nations.

Further, they announced the establishment of a strategic China-Vietnam community of ‘shared future’ to promote the upgrading of China-Vietnam relations.

The decision was a historic milestone, and joining such a community was a “strategic” choice, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said when he met Xi, who was making his first visit this year to an Asian nation.

Notable, Xi has pushed hard for the upgrade in ties, especially after Vietnam elevated the United States in September to the highest tier of its diplomatic ranking, the same as China’s.

As China and the United States vie for influence in the strategic nation, the pacts mark an achievement for Vietnam’s “Bamboo” diplomacy, although analysts and diplomats said the improvement in relations could be more symbolic than real.

Xi’s visit to Vietnam, which is home to a growing number of Chinese manufacturers, is only his fourth overseas this year after trips to Russia, South Africa and the United States.

Also, to be noted that the pacts signed cover possible investments in rail links and security, as well as three on telecoms and “digital data co-operation”, a list from Vietnamese authorities showed.

Though the details of the deals have not been revealed, but experts and diplomats said digital economy pacts could pave the way for Chinese support to build a 5G network in Vietnam and investments in undersea infrastructure.

Further, key targets for investment could be areas such as telecoms infrastructure, satellite ground tracking stations and data centres.

Also, in order to boost trade and investment, both the countries agreed to set up a zone focusing on farming, infrastructure, energy, digital economy and green development

Plans for special economic zones to boost investment had to be shelved after they sparked protests in 2018 by Vietnamese who feared the move could favour Chinese firms.