The dialogue was co-chaired by Lieutenant-General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Vietnamese Deputy-Minister of National Defence and Senior Lieutenant-General Ma Xiaotian, Deputy-Chief-of-the-General-Staff of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
Addressing at the dialogue, Lt.-Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh and Snr. Gen. Ma Xiaotian agreed that under the motto of “16 words” and the spirit of “4 goods”, the relations between the two Parties and States have been developing in a way corresponding to the framework of the comprehensive strategic partnership. Accordingly, the economic and trading ties are growing rapidly and cultural and people’s exchanges are being broadened as thousands of Vietnamese students are studying in China.
With this development in the relations between the two countries, Viet Nam-China defence cooperation has seen strong steps forward. The two sides have regularly exchanged delegations at all levels to build confidence, mutual understanding and close relations between the two armies. Notably in these exchanges were the official visit made by General Phung Quang Thanh, Vietnamese Minister of National Defence, to China in early 2010 and the official visit to Viet Nam made by General Liang Guanglie on the occasion of the first ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus in late 2010 and the official visit to Viet Nam made by Senior Lieutenant-General Guo Boxiong, Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China in early 2011.
According to the two sides, the exchanges between the two navies, border guard forces and military zones at the borderline have also been stepped up, joint patrols on sea and land have achieved good results and military cadet exchanges have increased both in quantity and majors.
Basing on that good foundation, at this dialogue, the two sides agreed to boost cooperation in many fields including the increase of exchanges, establishment of a ‘hotline’ between the two defence ministries and cadet exchanges for both short and long courses.
China agreed to share experiences with Viet Nam in UN peacekeeping operations.
The two sides also agreed to boost propaganda efforts to help the soldiers and people of the two countries fully understand the traditional friendship and practical cooperation for mutual benefits of the two armies and peoples.
At the dialogue, the two sides also discussed the situations in Middle East and North Africa, especially the engagement of major counties in the Asia Pacific region.
“We should carefully consider the consequences of this engagement to build a region of peace, stability and not to be surprised,” said Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh.
“The most important reason that results in this engagement is that the countries in the region have problems with each other,” added the General.
Lt.-Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh and Snr. Lt.-Gen. Ma Xiaotian openly discussed the differences in the relations between the two countries.
According to Snr. Lt.-Gen. Ma Xiaotian, the most sensitive disagreement today between the two countries’ tie is the sovereignty dispute in the East Sea so that the two countries should solve it properly for the overall relations between Viet Nam and China and stability of the region.
“For peace, the two sides will both benefit. For confrontation, the two sides will both be damaged,” said Snr. Lt.-Gen. Ma Xiaotian.
Confirming that Viet Nam always attaches importance to the overall relation with China and expects to find a win-win solution, Lt.-Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh clearly stated that there are three different aspects in the East Sea issue but these three aspects have close relations to each other. Those are the sovereignty claims of relevant parties and solving the relations between Viet Nam and China, and solutions at multilateral fora. Viet Nam and China have declared sovereignty at many different times with different contents and scopes. By solving the issues, history must be respected and the international laws must be observed.
Deputy-Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh held that the East Sea issues should be solved according to international laws. Accordingly, issues that bear international characteristics in the spirit of the UN Convention on Law of the Sea must be solved on international agenda, issues that relate to many countries must be solved among relevant ones and, issues that relate to two countries must be solved bilaterally. Therefore, sovereignty disputes between Viet Nam and China obviously must be solved by the two countries openly and transparently basing on international laws.
“Viet Nam doesn’t plan to internationalise the issues between Viet Nam and China because of our own interests,” said Lt.-Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh.
Lt.-Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh also shared that there is only one way to build and protect the country: preserving independence and self-reliance together with building good relations with the international community. These things cannot be achieved if relying on this country to fight against another.
“Viet Nam is a friend and reliable partner of all countries in the world. However, once Viet Nam needs the support, understanding, cooperation and development, no one is better than a neighbouring Socialist China, which has more than 1.350 billion people, is developing and has increasing position in the world, when you, comrades, respect Viet Nam’s independence and sovereignty and want Viet Nam to develop,” Lt.-Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh said.
Lt.-Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh also highlighted the openness and transparency in fora so that people of the two countries and the international community can fully understand the nature of the East Sea issue overall between the two countries.
“Having enough and accurate information is the need of more than 80 million Vietnamese people and 1.350 billion Chinese,” he said.
The Deputy-Minister also gave information on the plan to prevent the reoccurrence of the gatherings of people in Viet Nam.
“Hostile forces have two arguments to sabotage. Firstly, Viet Nam relies on the USA to be against China. Secondly, Viet Nam compromises so that China takes Viet Nam’s land and sea. These are arguments are not good for the Party and State of Viet Nam as well as Viet Nam-China relations. We need to help the people of the two countries fully understand that there exists some issues between Viet Nam and China but the two Parties and States have committed to solve them peacefully basing on international laws for mutual interests.”
The Lt.-Gen. also stressed the fact that China committed not to take land and sea of Viet Nam and Viet Nam will never compromise groundlessly in the matter of sovereignty.
He said that Viet Nam is willing to cooperate for mutual development with China in the areas of real disputes basing on international laws and for a long-term, will find a solution that the two sides can accept.
However, “when it is not defined, the two sides should absolutely not use force and even not to think about the use of force,” he said.
On this occasion, Senior Lt.-Gen. Liang Guanglie, Chinese Minister of Defence, received the Vietnamese high-ranking delegation. Lt.-Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh extended General Phung Quang Thanh’s compliments to Senior-Lieutenant General Liang Guanglie.
The Chinese Minister of Defence reconfirmed the expectation to solve peacefully the remaining issues in the East Sea between the two countries. He held that the good results of the dialogue would be a driving-force to promote the Viet Nam-China defence cooperation, contributing positively to consolidating and developing the friendship between the two countries.