tv U.S.- Vietnam Relations CSPAN February 16, 2018 9:37am-11:19am EST
cases on behalf of industries where the several million dollars cost of bringing a trade case may make it uneconomical for that duindustry to pursue. i have just one further piece of advice for you. whoever said build a better mousetrap and the customers will flock to you was an idiot. you do need a better mousetrap, but you also have to market the day lights out of it. and i think that the biggest marketing error that businesses of yours -- and live now to an event just getting under way here in washington where viet knack specialists are discussioning vietnam's relationship with the u.s. and china. live coverage here on c-span 3.
>> they have spent a lot of time in vietnam i believe in the '90s or earlier than that as journalists for eastern economic review. and they both speak perfect vietnamese. i hope they don't start speaking that here. so today's topic is to discuss vietnam's relations with both united states and china. because of the flare-up of the south china sea dispute in recent years there have been a lot of questions and a lot of skepticism about vietnam's alignment choices, external foreign policy choices. and china and vietnam apparently they're both governed by communist party and its one-party rule. although could you argue that the political reform in two countries have taken different speed. so we are also eager to hear from the experts how the vietnamese domestic politics evolution also affects their foreign policy choices between the united states and china and how do we understand the future
of these two bilateral relations. that's enough talking from me. i'll invite dr. pun to share with us her perspective. thank you. >> okay. thank you. thank you for everybody maybe for my english is very poor so i would like to read the paper. i wrote it yesterday. so actually today is the first lunar -- first day of chinese lunar new year, so i would like to stay [ speaking foreign language ] to everybody here and hope they have a very happy chinese new year. actually, you know the chinese new year today's the chinese new year actually is also the vietnamese new year, so actually maybe there are several
countries share the common festival in the world, china, vietnam and might be korea. but maybe in korea the spring festival is a little bit different to the festival of china and vietnam. so actually apart from the spring festival, china and vietnam share many common customs. now let's go to the topic i am discussing today which is the china vietnam relations. i think it has some specialty in this modern, bilateral relations in general. actually, this statement was made in speech delivered to the vietnamese conquest by presidents of china xi jinping during his research in 2015.
he said china and vietnam have the same political system, share the same identity and belief, have common strategy interests. we should be good comrads of mutual trust and assistance. the relations between china and vietnam are common bilateral relations which are -- of more strategy significance. actually, just a few days ago, on february 8th, they exchanged letters of congratulations on the new year with the general secretary of the communist party of vietnam. they express greetings and best wishes to the people in each other's country. the two leaders both express their satisfaction over the developments of the bilateral relations in the past year. in 2018, china and vietnam
celebrate the anniversary of signing the partnership of comprehensive strategy. which is the most important of bilateral relations that vietnam has signed with only two countries in the world, that's china and russia. then, how should we understand xi jinping's statement in the vietnam conquest and the interaction of the two leaders of viet knack and china? i think it could be embodied in the following three points. the first point is xi jinping atrachd great importance to the relations between china and vietnam. this indicates a good prospects for the sign of vietnam relations in the following years. usually the senior leaders visits is a clear indicator for the house of the bilateral ties, that is why vee @yet nietnam an leads have reaches consensus of
annual mutual visits. history shows that chinese leaders attitude play an important role in the bilateral relations of vietnam and china. from 1991 to 2016, the mutual visits of the two country leaders put ford contribute a good 50 years in the history of the bilateral relations. but after that, before xi jinping's visits to vietnam in 2015, chinese top leaders have suspended visits to vietnam for a decade. at that period, the bilateral relations appeared to apparently decline. any way, from the first researchtor vietnam, as the vice president of china, xi jinping visits vietnam again in november of 2015 as the top leader of china and only after one year in
november, 2017, he again pay visits to vietnam. so xi has officially visit the three times in the past six years. which is -- in the bilateral relations and at the same time we also have seen visits to chi china from the vooe vietnam as well. between the visits between the two countries they sign a number of cooperation agreements. for example, when president xi jinping visited vietnam in november of 2017, the two countries signed 18 cooperation documents. thanks to the active promotion of the top leaders, the economy and trade relations between china and vietnam rapidly grows. china has been vietnam's largest trading partner for 13
consecutive years and by 1927. the total volume of bilateral trade has exceeded 100 billion u.s. dollars. accounting for about 25% of vietnam's total trade volume. it's annual growth rate is about 20%. vietnam has become china's largest trade partner in the world as well as the largest trading partner in asia. this year in china's trade volume is also rice. in terms of investment, china has invested over 50 billion u.s. dollars in vietnam. which is rapid growth in the recent year. in 1970 -- in 2017, vietnam hosted more than 12 million foreign tourists, among them about 4 million -- 4 million
from china. an increase of nearly fist% over the same period of the previous year. and more than 10 million mutual visits between the two countries. all this reflects echo operation as well as the personnel exchanges between the two countries. the elements of economy and trade relations and civilian relations between china and vietnam have helped the functional stabilization between the two countries. the second point is the sign of vietnam relations are crucial to -- that the relevance of vietnam. vietnam always assert that china is in the top priority of its foreign relations. i think this is a very wise choice. not only from the consideration of the security experts, but also from the economy
developments requirement, cultural exchange needs as well as the ruling party's security. history shows a strong, positive coalition between china's and vietnam economy performers. from 19751986 the relations between the two countries got worse. vietnam ran into economy dipts difficulties and almost slipped into crisis by the mid-1980s. on the contrary, the relation between the two countries have developed in all experts from 1991 to be 2006. then vietnam has the best 50 years of economy development from 1986. meanwhile, ran the relations between the two countries ran downhill from the 2007 to 2015, the economy of vietnam turned in
turmoil. it's economy growth rates dropped from an average of about 7.5% in the previous past 15 years to about 5% to 6% in the last eight years. however, china/vietnam's relation recover all aflound 2017. then recent -- the vietnam's economy grows 6.8%, which is the largest increase in the past ten years. the third point i want to put here is the sign of vietnam relations are the bilateral relations specialty. so what vehicletors contributes to the specialties of the two countries? i think it could be reflected in several aspects as follow. first, a summation about china and vietnam have the same
culture regions. in the history, north part of vietnam was one part of china's dynasty from the 111 b.c. to the year of 19 -- 986 a.d. the dynasties of china exercise the administration in the area. open schools to educate the local people about chinese civilization. therefore, before the 19 -- 14th century, chinese was the vietnamese official language. that is why now adays some chinese traditional culture philosophers are respected in vietnam. in the year of 19 -- 968, they established the dynasty and named the country as -- then it
began a new era of vietnam's history. however, in order to retain the dynasties of china, vietnam became one of the states of tri 973 to 1885. during that time, all vietnam's emperors sent diplomatic envoys every one or two years to show respect to the central kingdoms authority. vietnam was a part of asia's contributory system, an order centered on china in the old days. so in 1885, the chin dynasty signed a treaty with france, transferring vietnam's sovereignty to france. after that, vietnam became a
french colony and the relations between china and vietnam changed to state to state relations. so the second factor shows that a specialty of the -- of the relations between china and vietnam is the geography. as neighbors, china and vietnam have more than 1,400 kilometers of land bordering. in the meantime, they share a large water area from the gulf to the south china sea. as you know, a common border could provide both countries opportunities for a cooperation as well as conflicts, even wars. at the boundary area for the recent of no clear division in the history, there were many disputes and even some wars sometimes, and the biggest conflicts, as you know, is the war of 1979, but shortly after
the two countries resumed their norm normal relations in 1991, the border negotiation recovered and by the end of 1999, a clear border line settled down between the two countries. and about the common waters surface of the two countries, the creation of the gulf was completed on december 25, 2010, through bilateral negotiations. this is the only case in which china has accomplished the division of water lines. this shows that china and vietnam can solve very difficult issues through bilateral negotiations. the it is hoped that the same approach will be applied to the south china sea dispute settlement. which is yet to take place, but both sides have agreed to that
approach and negotiated more than ten runs by different level of official dedications. by now, vietnam and china agree to solve the dispute in south china sea by the principle of shared differences and develop jointly. both sides hope to solve the problem by negotiation. the sharing between the two countries is that both china and vietnam are socialist countries administrated by one political party, the communist party. the constitution of china as well as vietnam defines that communist party is the leading power of the country and society. the party will not -- will not only set directions for all the developments of the whole country in general, but also can
chill the country's diplomatic policy and economic policies so when the governments relations of the two countries have some problems, the bilateral relations can be repaired through the party's channel. therefore, despite some problems happen between the two countries in the past few years, the economic relations between the two countries continue to maintain rapid growth. well, just just nnow, i examine relationship two china and vietnam, but how about the external factors. in fact, i think the relations between china and vietnam are constantly affected by the external factors. history -- in history, the adjustments of the relations between france, the soviet union, and the united states has directly affected the choice of the vietnam's foreign policy and at present, the united states
policy to the vietnam is not so clear. so it has some uncertainty about the relations. in the past few years, presidents obama made great efforts to build a tpp to involve the vietnam, but it has been abandoned by president trump. however, president trump sent u.s. -- actually, i think the different attitude of the u.s. governments to vietnam has a great impact on the political situation in vietnam. as well as the china-vietnam relations. at present, the impact is being dynamically adjusted so i'm going to hear how he will see the adjustments. well, in summary, the relations between china and vietnam held disputes and negatives, but
there are more commonalities between the two countries, so i believe the deep and close affection of the two people will not be easily disjoined by any single dispute. i remember a few years ago when i saw -- when i was in the talk with the former vice minister of foreign affairs of vietnam, he said, quote, we are comrades and brothers. we should solve problems by emotional and principled manner. in other words, the problems between the two countries should not necessarily to be solved through illegal means, which may disjoin our affinity. instead, we should trust each other, understand each other, sit down and talk in a way that's not hurt each other's feeling and find a good solution to the problem. the result of this solution to the problem may better than a
legal solution. actually, i am very much agreed with song, and by now, in general, i'm optimistic about the development of the two countries. well, all i said just now is my own personal opinion. thank you, and welcome for helpful suggestions. thank you. >> thank you, dr. pan. that was very informative, especially it's amazing to hear how confident that china appears to be because the relationship is based on the party and party to party solidarity, so even when the two countries have problems, the party can basically navigate through the turbulence. so, is u.s. policy towards vietnam really unclear? >> well, one thing that's certainly very different is that u.s. relations with vietnam are much shorter than china's relations with vietnam.
>> big distance. >> yeah and u.s. is also much further away than china. you know, if you look at how far u.s.-vietnam relations have come since 1975, since 1995, it's rather stunning how rapidly relations have changed, have improved at all levels. you know, economic to people to people, military, security, political ties. since the u.s. lifted the sanctions in 1994, vietnam has become the 16th largest trading partner of the united states with two-way trade topping 52 million in 2016. politically, there's a lot of cooperation, even in very difficult issues like human rights dialogues. the two countries have dramatically stepped up defense cooperation since -- particularly since china moved the oil rig off the coast of danang in 2014. the u.s. moved to lift the ban
on lethal sale of weapons, and it announced that it would provide $18 million in aid to vietnam to help boost maritime domain awareness. in 2015, the u.s. and vietnamese defense ministers signed a joint statement which will -- it is really defining, governing defense ties in about a dozen different areas. and under the agreement, the u.s. transferred hamilton class coast guard cutter to vietnam that arrived just before trump arrived in vietnam in november. we had secretary mattis visited vietnam in january, and in march, the uss carl vincent, an aircraft carrier, is going to visit vietnam, be the first u.s. aircraft carrier to visit
vietnam, maybe ever. i don't remember if any visited during the vietnam war. i didn't look. you know, so we had -- and then during -- the vietnamese prime minister visited here last may, and president trump visited there in november. and one of the things -- interesting things they talked about was in stepping up intel sharing between the two countries. and there's also been an effort by the u.s. and vietnam to tackle legacy issues. we've all hear about the search for missing in action soldiers. we hear about the clean-up of unexploded ordinance, and there's also an attempt by the u.s. to remediate areas that have been damaged by agent orange, dioxin. so the airport in danang was basically completed last year, and they're now -- the two sides are now talking about the
airport northeast of ho chi minh city. funding is an issue. it's a much bigger project than danang was. and then people to people cooperation, as i alluded to, is really stepped up. this year, there about 22,000 vietnamese students studying in the united states, some with government scholarships, a loft th -- a lot of them funded privately. and the fulbright university is going to be opening in ho chi minh city. it's sort of opened already but it's had a soft opening, but they're in the process of building a new campus. and then that will be a university that's basically funded a little bit by congress and a lot by the u.s. and vietnamese private sector kicked in millions of dollars. so, despite, you know, i alluded to a bunch of different areas in which the u.s. and vietnam are
cooperating militarily, it's pretty clear vietnam only goes so far. it might be for some of the reasons that she was talking about, but the -- on terms of buying equipment, vietnam has come to window shop, but it really hasn't purchased anything. if you ask the vietnamese, well, you asked for years for this thing to be lift, why aren't you buyi buying anything. they have two or three explanations. one is, u.s. equipment is very expensive, buying in the u.s. is very complicated and three, integrating with our basically russian equipment is also very complicated. beyond equipment, purchasing equipment, vietnam still does largely limit u.s. ship visits. they can have several ships in one visit, but basically limits visits to one. one exercise per year, which is what it holds other countries to as well. sorry, just lost my place.
so is question is really, why is vietnam holding back? it's very anxious about china in the south china sea, so why hold back? i think there's several reasons. one is the vietnamese military is really very conservative. it is, you know, there are people in the united states that still suffer from, quote, unquote, the vietnam syndrome. there are people in vietnam that still suffer from the america syndrome. that's one issue. another issue is that the military is probably one of the closest institutions to china, and so there are some officers that are quite pro-chinese, and there's also a general anxiety that vietnam does not want to go too far too fast with the united states to irritate china. it's really no secret that vietnam was not cheering for donald trump in the last
election. hillary clinton had been quite good which wou good. the clintons had been quite good to them. it was bill clinton that normalized and it was hillary clinton that went after china quite forcefully in 2010 at the asean regional foreign meeting but hanoi didn't waste any time crying in its soup. it very quickly -- the ambassador here in washington, many officials in vietnam came, really did a full court press to try find ways to engage the trump administration. and i think it would be fair to say that few countries have been as proactive as has vietnam in terms of engaging trump, and that would be one of the reasons why the prime minister was the first southeast asian to visit here, and also perhaps a factor in why trump, beyond apec, why that was one of the first
countries that trump -- it was the first country that trump visited in southeast asia. despite all these things that have happened, it's fair to say that hanoi remains anxious about relations with the u.s. it was very upset when trump pulled out of the trans-pacific partnership. vietnam viewed the tpp as providing a hedge to its very heavy dominance -- very heavy reliance on china. and it looked like the vietnamese thought the tpp would provide a balance in that relationship and provide other sources of trade and investment. beyond that, the reformers in vietnam, economic reformers, view the tpp as an action forcing event. they had to do a bunch of things to join the tpp and those things now, they'll do some of them but largely, i was just in vietnam
last month and asking officials and they're basically going to put a lot of stuff they committed to in the tpp, including opening up labor to the labor unions, they're going to put that on hold as a result of the -- that the tpp 11, the cp tpp 11 are not going to insist on some of these conditions. you know, sometimes you hear, after trump's visit, you heard officials come back and say, oh, the vietnamese were very excited about doing a bilateral fta. i think that's a little -- how should i put it. it's lack of understanding of how vietnamese treat their guests. they always tell all their guests everything positive and they probably do the same thing to the chinese. when you talk to them privately, they say they're not very interested in an fta. they see what trump is doing in nafta and of course the u.
korea/u.s. fta, so they do not find bilateral fta something they're going to do more than look at, quote, unquote. so, they really appreciate the extent to which the trump administration has engaged them, but they really are not sure, listening to them, they really are not sure where vietnam/u.s. relations -- where u.s./southeast asia relations are going. one of the things they say is, like, who's in charge? a lot of the seats in a lot of the minister of various departments in the u.s. are still empty, state, d.o.d., ustr, et cetera. they also think that in asia, the administration is very focused on north korea and on trade issues with china, and so they don't feel the u.s. has really developed an overarching policy toward southeast asia. and asia generally. they don't feel they understand what the free and open indo
pacific is. they understand the quad. but they -- where india, japan, australia, and the u.s. are going to meet, but they don't really understand what that means for them. they also fear that they've watched what's happening here. they feel foreign policy here is quite transactional and that many things can be reversed very quickly from a tweet at 3:22 in the morning. so, they really don't know -- the vietnamese, when you talk to them, they're uncertain exactly where trump is going. they appreciated some of the things that happened, the freedom of navigation, the five exercises that happened in 2017, but they don't know more broadly where the u.s. is on this. they felt that trump really didn't -- president trump really didn't raise the south china sea very much in his visit to asia
when he visited five countries in november. the general principle was often of freedom of navigation, and those issues, general principles were reiterated quite often, but he did not name the vietnamese. he only mentioned china once in relationship to the south china sea and that was in the philippines in his farewell speech just before he got on a plane and left. and the vietnamese don't say it, but i think many of you that follow vietnam know that last -- late june, early july, vietnam asked a spanish oil company that was exploring a block, block 136-03 off the southern coast of vietnam, they asked them to leave. and this was after a little bit of pressure from china, which we can get into some of this if you want to, but they really -- the vietnamese really do give you the impression they don't feel anybody had their back, and so
that was probably wise to, in the face of the chinese party congress and vietnam hosting apec in november, they probably thought it was best that vietnam ask them to pull out, at least tactically, for now. we'll check later. despite the cooperation and the interest of expanding relations, vietnam is not going to become an outpost of washington or the united states any time soon in asia. the vietnamese goal really is to balance relations between china and the united states. that said, vietnam is clearly, in the eyes of many in southeast asia and washington, has become one of the most strategic thinking countries, strategic, maybe, acting countries in south asia. maybe its only competitor is
singapore. vietnam, earlier on as china stepped up its assertiveness in the south china sea, vietnam really was looking to partner with the philippines and was very appreciative when the philippines brought the arbitral tr tribunal case but with the election of duterte and his effort to get economic cooperation, more investment from china, vietnam feels that it's pretty much standing alone among the disputing countries. and i guess what i'll do is yun said she wanted a little bit of conversation about domestic politics. you know, that's a big topic. it's almost a separate topic. but i think the one thing that has been in the news most recently is the corruption trials.
there's two or three big trials going on at the moment. one in january sentenced a former polit bureau member, a former head of petro vietnam, their largest state run enterprise, sentenced him to 12 years in prison for corruption. and one of the other people that was sentenced in his group was also a former head of petro vietnam, but a guy who was taken out of a park in berlin, clandestinely, i'll let you guess by whom, in late last year and he was sentenced to life in prison. and that was an issue that has actually created some issues with the germans with whom vietnam has been negotiating a free trade agreement with europe, and germany, which is probably been vietnam's best friend in europe, is now holding back a little bit out of irritation of the kidnapping of
the official that was seeking asylum in germany. then there's another whole separate trial of 46 officials that are involved, many of the others, the first group that i mentioned, were related to petro vietnam. there's also an ocean bank trial that involves, i think, 46 people that's going on now. it's a lot of charges of defrauding the bank. you know, at one level, this is a campaign to tackle corruption, which vietnam, like china, has been doing, really, since the beginning of time, i think, but at least since the beginning of the current regimes. but beyond that, it's also a bit of a political battle. you might remember before the party congress last -- in january 2016, there was a real battle between the incumbent party chief trump and the prime
minister for who would get the top position. in the end, trump won. maintained the position. and what the corruption trials are about, beyond tackling corruption, trum is also trying to get rid of any competitors that may still be loyal to the prime minister. and with that, i'm going to stop and look forward to your discussion. >> thank you, murray, for that really expensive and realistic assessment. set our expectations right in terms of the -- how much vietnam can really open up its domestic political liberalization and also the u.s./vietnam relations under president trump. and with that, i would like to turn to dr. pan and ask you the same question. because china -- i definitely observe a lot of chinese assessment about, for example, the previous prime minister was perceived -- has been perceived by china as pro-u.s.
and with his basically being ousted from the center of politics, maybe vietnam's domestic political shifts also have implications for the china/vietnam relations. would you say that is correct? is that realistic? >> i'm sorry. would you please -- [ speaking foreign language ] >> okay, thanks for the question. yes, i think -- actually, i agree with murray. generally, 2016, i think, there was a battle about -- internal of vietnam.
so -- and finally, it's the victor. >> the winner. >> the winner. so i think from the beginning of 2016 to now, there are some -- they have been in the struggle situation, but now it's not concluding. sorry. [ speaking foreign language ] >> so far, the political struggle within the communist party of vietnam is still ongoing, and this political struggle has major impact over
vietnam's foreign relations, including that with china. [ speaking foreign language ] >> and on the other hand, the u.s. and china both have the ability to have influence over the political struggle within vietnam as well. [ speaking foreign language ] >> had president trump not given up on tpp, then vietnam today would be very different, and the politics would be very different. we think that vietnamese communist party. [ speaking foreign language ]
>> so, as of last year, four visits to washington, d.c., and trump visited vietnam, so it appears that the u.s./vietnam relations seems to be on a good track, but in fact, within vietnam, people are unclear about where this relationship is going. [ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language ] >> so the fact that vietnam's
foreign policy options and choices, last year, after congress, president xi visited vietnam, and xi himself has placed a lot of emphasis on relationship with hanoi, and china and vietnam, the more agreements about what to do about south china sea. [ speaking foreign language ] >> so in summary, vietnam is now more confident about their relationship with china than the relationship with the united states. [ speaking foreign language ] >> so, that factor is certainly helpful for phuc in his
political power consolidation, and that will also -- >> trump. >> oh. >> not trump. trom. >> that definitely will help his political power campaign in vietnam and also will affect the future of vietnam as well. [ speaking foreign language ] >> so, from the chinese perspective, in the future, both in terms of the domestic political system and the foreign policy of vietnam will become more aligned with china, rather than other countries. [ speaking foreign language ]
>> so, she also agrees with murray's assessment that the current anti-corruption campaign is a manifestation of the political struggle within the party. and the anti-corruption campaign is helping the current leader -- i give up. >> just call him party boss or something. >> to help him in his political consolidation. >> thank you. >> that's a great answer. thank you. so with that, i think we have 35 minutes for discussion. if you have any questions, please raise your hand. we do have a mike that's floating around. questions? >> thank you both for the excellent presentations. it's very interesting to hear that you note general secretary truong and the vietnamese communist party aligning further
with china, especially because here in washington, everyone is talking about u.s. defense relations progressing so well with vietnam. and hopeful about that situation. but truong's rule will not be forever. actually, there's some concern about his age and potentially his temporary status grooming a successor. do you see potential for instability in the vietnam/china aren't on account of truong's limited amount of time at the top position, or will his camp win out and keep relations with china on track? [ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language ]
>> thank you for the question. [ speaking foreign language ] >> she believes that vietnam has always been carefully balancing relationship with both u.s. and china, and so far, the balancing is relatively successful. [ speaking foreign language ] >> so, that defense cooperation between u.s. and vietnam has been growing in recent years and is recognized in china.
[ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language ] >> so, this type of defense cooperation between u.s. and vietnam certainly has a certain amount of impact over china, but throughout the years, china has also become more confident about its own ability in this relationship with vietnam. so, it has become more confident and more comfortable about u.s./vietnam cooperation. [ speaking foreign language ]
[ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language ] >> so, dr. pan is saying that it is understand that vietnam needs defense cooperation with countries other than china, and it is normal for vietnam to have that demand, but this type of defense cooperation also has impact over the domestic politics in vietnam. okay. [ speaking foreign language ]
>> just now, murray mentioned that uss carl vinson will be visiting vietnam in march, so her speculation is that after that visit, chinese aircraft carrier will also visit vietnam rather quickly. so this type of balancing act within vietnam has been ongoing, and so the end result is it does not really affect the external alignment of vietnam very much, because vietnam does things for the united states, and it does things for china.
[ speaking foreign language ] >> so, she believes that vietnam will balance the impact or the influence from united states and from china rather well and rather successfully. >> thank you. >> sir, please. oh, there's a mike. >> can you comment on areas in which the interests of the three countries that are under discussion today, china, vietnam, and the u.s. might actually align? obviously, the description has been of balancing and of the conflict that might exist between the two countries, the u.s. and china in particular. but are there areas in which the interests of the three countries align and which might serve as a basis for better relationships among the three? [ speaking foreign language ]
>> obviously, there might be some things that could be done in the south china sea. one of the big areas, of course, is that the fish stock is being badly destroyed in the whole south china sea by everybody, and it might -- and fish are not like oil or hydrocarbons. they don't sit under somebody's continental shelf and then move to somebody else's, right? they actually move all the time. so that might be one area they could cooperate. the other area in which they probably need to cooperate is, which yun's colleague here, brian works on much more, is the whole makong issue where obviously there's a lot of damming happening, both inside china with six dams and many more under construction. also, china building dams in
laos and cambodia is going to have is a huge impact on vietnam's makong delta, which is effectively the rice basket of vietnam. so talking about how to control that water and ways to mitigate the damage might be another area to cooperate. >> does the u.s. have expertise in those areas that would be useful to the countries? >> oh, in terms of certainly has expertise in terms of what's happening on the makong, you know, mississippi and other rivers have a lot and actually, the u.s. is pretty active in terms of providing ideas and input and bringing people from that region here to look at how the u.s. manages rivers. i think they both -- probably both vietnam and china probably should figure out a way to help laos. laos should be able to survive other than just damming up the makong and selling the electricity.
and i think laos is in what of a trouble, even in the medium term, because china's yunan province produces three or four times as much electricity as it needs already, and it is looking to export this electricity into southeast asia. if that happens, laos is in real trouble, economically, and i think china and the u.s. would be wise to try to figure out what to do with this country. it's very small, landlocked, only 7, 8 million people but still an important issue, maybe, too that the countries could work on together. i'm having trouble thinking of a lot of areas, because in some ways, the areas that u.s. cooperates with vietnam and china cooperates with vietnam are to balance the other guy out, especially in the south china sea and even economically. so, the areas are not that -- the other area, of course, is
that's a problem in all of mainland southeast asia is drug-resistant malaria, which is a huge problem, and if this spreads, it can end up in africa, and god help us all. we don't know what will happen. so, that would be another area they could cooperate. i'm sorry. i'm making this up as i go because i don't sit around thinking about this one very much. >> yeah, there are plenty of areas where u.s. and china share common interests. there are common interests but there are also diverging interests and it's usually decided that the diverges interests outweigh the common interests. how about from the chinese perspective? what are some of the areas? or not really? [ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language ]
>> so, she very much agrees with murray that, first of all, the water issue, the water resources issue can be on top of the list, can be discussed. [ speaking foreign language ] >> so, she recognized that in terms of the water resources, cooperation between china and laos, there have been negative impacts, so to resolve this issue, china led and set up this new mechanism a few years ago. so focus on the issue of water.
and so far, the chinese believe that the impact has been positive and has been a good cooperative mechanism. [ speaking foreign language ] >> so, one example between china and vietnam last year was that last year, in lower vietnam, the sea water was reversing and affected the agricultural production of vietnam. so vietnam made a request to china to ask china to release more water from the upper
stream, and china did grant vietnam that request, and it had a very good impact over the agricultural production of vietnam last year. [ speaking foreign language ] >> so, dr. pan is saying that the issue of the south china sea could also be an area of potential cooperation, and my question is, for example? and she said that, for example, on the issue of freedom of navigation, so the two countries actually all agree that the countries should have freedom of navigation in the south china sea, but it's just internally, they have different opinions, but in principle, they all agree
that it should be respected in the south china sea. so they could have discussion on that. [ speaking foreign language ] >> she believes that the overall directions of the three countries is the same, but the problem is with the details and with the styles and with how things are carried out. so, if they all agree that eventually they want to have a positive direction where everyone agrees, then they need to have discussions about it. okay. more questions? gentleman here, please. >> good morning, everyone. murray, you had mentioned
something interesting about the vietnamese military being pretty close to the chinese military. i thought that's what you had said. and in my research, i found that it was actually more party to party being very close, and the vietnamese military, their morale is pretty high, and they're kind of unified around this idea that china is increasingly threatening in the south china sea. so, i was wondering if maybe you could expound upon that a little bit. and a second question. there was a recent report that the vietnamese accepted coal from a third party flagged ship from -- that was coming from north korea, and i'm wondering what you think about that. was that purposefully done, or is it, you know, related to some kind of corruption issue? i mean, purposefully in terms of, you know, the vietnamese government knowing that they were doing that. or was it more of a low level thing involving corruption, or is there a different explanation, if it's true? >> thanks. i'll answer the first one first,
because i know almost nothing about it. i mean, i saw the press reports. but i do not know what caused that. vietnam and north korea used to have pretty good relations. those have really deteriorated a lot, and the vietnamese government and a lot of its officials were absolutely livid about the recruiting of a vietnamese woman to be involved in the killing of kim jong-nam. in fact, one of the recruiters had been a student at the diplomatic academy in vietnam, so he is known -- he was the son of the ambassador. so, i don't know what's going on there. vietnam had committed to implementing the resolutions. a lot of countries are ending up with stuff that i don't know that they knew that was actually going to come. on the military, yes, the
military, i think, sort of has a dualistic view of china. on the one hand, like you say -- and then you have to talk about which part of the military you're talking about. the army has different views than the navy, obviously, and the coast guard. historically, they had quite a bit of cooperation during the war, the vietnam war, with the u.s. but there was also a lot of problems where china, quite often, would interdict the military hardware that was coming from the soviet union at that point. so, there's anxiety about that. they obviously, the '79 war was an issue and the '88 battle over south johnson reef was an issue. but in many ways, the military, a lot of them have studied there, and so, there is a sort
of dualistic positive on one hand but very distrusting on the other hand. it's interesting that despite all the different exercise that the vietnamese now do with the americans, i did some rernl sea on this a few months ago, and there have been 54 major exchanges between 2010 and 2016, between the vietnamese and the chinese militaries. only two were exercises. the other 52 were talks. which is actually china really does have talks with militaries, indonesia, myanmar, et cetera. and this is not totally confirmable, but when the incident happened off the coast
of south vietnam, the polit bureau met and what you hear from people in hanoi -- obviously this was never reported in the newspaper, but what you hear in the -- from people in vietnam is that the polit bureau voted, and two people voted to leave. one was the party chief, truong, and the other was minister of defense, and they pulled out. despite the fact that the others voted to stay, and they describe it as a tactical move. the party, interestingly, i've spent some time talking to party in the last year, and they have a very complicated view of vietnam also. we should not forget that party chief truong, who is the party chief, not like xi jinping who was president and party chief, truong is only party chief, he came here in 2015 and met with president obama at that time, which was a pretty big deal and
really showed some more of the complexity of his feelings about china, i think. so, i think the party -- and the party says they will tell you that when the oil rig incident happened, they tried party to party channels, and for two or three weeks, the party would not answer any phone calls. that told the party -- and i don't know if dr. pan may totally disagree with me -- but i hear people in the party saying, you know, yes, we have the party to party ties, we meet quite often, but when difficult issues come, we often can't resolve them at the party either. so, it's gray. there's no black and white, i don't think, in o either case. >> i think that's a great answer, and i want to hear dr. pan's response to that. in terms of the party to party and the military to military and
also how genuine is party to party channel and how effective is it in solving difficult problems? [ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language ] >> there are many channels of communication, interaction between china and vietnam. there's military to military. there's party to party. there's foreign ministry to foreign ministry, commerce ministry to commerce ministry, so it's -- they all have hot
lines. [ speaking foreign language ] >> china's view is each department or each governmental agency will be responsible for the communication over the specific issue and their discussion. [ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language ] >> so, from the chinese perspective on that oil rig incident in 2014, from the chinese bureaucratic point of view or from the chinese
government point of view, that issue should be first discussed between the two governmental agencies in china and in vietnam that specifically responsible for that issue. and i followed up asking her what agency would that be, and she said it's ministry of commerce and the agencies that's responsible for maritime security. so, they should discuss first, rather than go directly to the party to party channel. [ speaking foreign language ] >> so, there is a chain of command, and there's a chain of communication. in the case of the oil rig, by the time -- by august, three months after the oil rig was
deployed, eventually the party chief of vietnam send a special envoy to beijing and the special envoy had meeting with xi jinping himself. they met to discuss how to resolve the issue of the oil rig, and they had a resolution. [ speaking foreign language ] >> so, it's a difference between the chinese mechanism and the vietnamese mechanism that's essentially creating the trouble. and this type of trouble is quite rampant and quite -- there are a lot of those incidents because of this different mechanism between the two countries. one example that she raised is, for example, some border
disputes or border issues between the two countries. when something happens, vietnam's first reaction is pick up the phone and call the central committee of the chinese communist party, but the central committee of chinese communist party will never pick up the phone, because from their perspective, this issue should be first discussed with the province. so it's a local issue before it can reach the central level. [ speaking foreign language ] [ speaking foreign language ] >> so, on the issue of the mil to mil relationship, last year, the two militaries had a mechanism that they meet and
they were supposed to meet at the border to discuss issues of common interest, but china, in the end, cancelled that meeting or china did not participate, and the reason was that, at the time, vietnamese government invited foreign companies to explore and do some exploration in the south china sea, and in order to express china's opposition to that policy by the vietnamese government, the chinese did not participate or did not have that meeting with the vietnamese military. but this year, they're going to resume that meeting on the border. thank you. more questions? here, please. >> thank you. so, you've -- you discussed that with the cancellation of the tpp and the inauguration of the trump administration, vietnam hasn't really been getting exactly what it wants from the united states. it doesn't know where the
relationship is going. and you mentioned that china is very confident in the bilateral relationship with vietnam improving and continuing to grow. so, i've got two related questions. one is, what would be the vietnamese wish list in terms of establishing its relationship with the united states? what kind of scenario would be the best case from the perspective of hanoi and what washington could offer, what washington could deliver, the role that it could play in southeast asia. and from china's perspective, what's the ideal outcome of developing ties with vietnam? what type of relationship would china like to have if it could get everything that it wanted out of the relationship? [ speaking foreign language ] >> so what does vietnam want from u.s., and what does china
want out of vietnam? >> so, as dr. pan said, about 25% of vietnam's trade is with china. it's growing very fast with the united states. that's for sure. but vietnam gets so many of its inputs from china that it feels -- and a lot of it is exported, you know, so it's inputs for garments, the thread, the cloth, everything. under the tpp, that would have changed very phenomenally, and the chinese entrepreneurs even realized this, so as the tpp progressed, vietnamese companies increasingly were setting up shop in vietnam, because they wanted to be able to access the forward provisions, which means you -- to get cheap tariffs for goods coming into the united states, you had to buy the inputs from another tpp country. so, but they feel -- so, vietnam really wants more balance in trade, and it can get a little bit of this from japan, from
europe, but it really wanted the u.s. to play a more active role. that's one key issue. trying to think of -- i mean, they would key issue. they would just like to hear -- the vietnamese are -- you can see where they are living. and the difficult environment they are in. china is only 90 kilometers from hanoi. you are in hanoi and live in hanoi and they look out to see what china is doing. you go to china and they don't know where vietnam is. it is a little bit like u.s./canada. i know thoo. i have experienced two citizenships. they are very insecure and they want to have more guarantees and would like to know what the u.s. really thinks about the
importance of southeast asia. they felt that under obama, they saw the rebalance to southeast asia. they are not sure where southeast asia fits. they are constantly worried. they are worried that china and the u.s. are going to make some deal. they had this happen before with nixon. they are worried that china and north korea will make a deal that will involve the south korean sea. they think he is very transactional and that might be something that could happen. i think those are it, economic balance and the u.s. being more engaged with southeast asia.
southeast asia is in a very different place than it was in 2011 when the obama administration began the rebalance. they were very engaging, outward looking and you had thailand and malaysia wanted to have good relations with the u.s. you had an outward looking president in indonesia and aquino was quite outward looking in the philippines. every country except vietnam and singapore are staring in their own navels. it is difficult for this very
inward looking group to engage with the united states. it is everybody for themselves. so that's a problem in the region for vietnam. it does affect relations with the united states. >> those are some really good questions. [ speaking in chinese ] >> the first thing she would like to say is that the
relationship with vietnam and china is very special. vietnam has concerns about china. historically, there have been experiences. vietnam is always concerned about the chinese invasion to the north. [ speaking in foreign language ] >> what vietnam has demanded from china is a guarantee. there have been vietnamese leaders that raise an issue with china that whether china and vietnam could reach an agreement that within the bilateral
relations, force will not be used to resolve any conflict or issues. that is not in line with china's policy. china will say that their defense policy is defensive in nature but china will not make a promise that china will not use force against any particular country. [ speaking in foreign language ]
>> what has china learned from vietnam is that china wants peaceful development and communications and exchanges. china wants to resolve the disputes in the south china sea and in the ideal format of a joint development. [ speaking in foreign language ] >> it is safe to say that between china and vietnam the only dispute -- there is no other dispute but this bilateral relationship is about the south china sea dispute.
>> so far, china and vietnam recently has reached the agreement that, one, the south china sea dispute will be resolved or will be discussed and through negotiations. that's the platform. secondly, in principle, the two countries agreed to the format of joint development. from the chinese perspective, they want joint developments and economic cooperation and they want the relationship to grow. [ speaking in foreign language ] >> that's what china wants.
as long as there is a negotiation to the south china sea issue, there is no other issue with cly hina and vietnam. >> thank you both for your remarks. i have a couple of questions but because of time constraints, i'll be short, two very simple ones. the first one is, the initiative has had a lott of discussion throughout southeast asia. i am wondering what is the first reaction for vietnamese. is there a difference between the elite class, the general class and the general public or not? [ speaking in foreign language ]
>> now second question is, in china, do public opinions differ from the political elite? [ speaking in foreign language ] >> on the belton road, it is really pretty interesting that really not much is happening on the belton road vis-a-vis vietnam. we see what's happening in the railroad in loas and thailand and what some of the efforts are in myanmar with the port there and the industrial park. in vietnam, although china is a major investor, there is really -- it is note worthy how little is happening on the belton road.
the closest point to the sea is in haifong. recently, the two sides agreed to build roads. china built it to the vietnamese border and the adb built it the rest of the way. why? it is pretty obvious why. vietnam did not want to have it. vietnam has -- china has a very bad project in vietnam -- a couple of bad projects. one that is very troublesome to anybody living in hanoi is the sky train. it has been under construction for ten years. it started as a $400 million project. it is now at $1 billion and as of a month ago, it wasn't finished. there is money disappearing left and right. i think on both sides of the border to put no pine poifine p it. during the construction, things are falling off on motor bikes below. it is really the worst poster
child for chinese projects in southeast asia, i think. on chinese views in vietnam, pew has done surveys. they did them in 2014. i cannot remember what it was but you can do pew search on vietnam. vietnam has quite a lot of questions about chi na na in th popular polls. when incidents happen -- there is this incident of the so-called fishkill project. it is called formosa plastic built a steel mill in north central vietnam. it was built by chinese
companies. for some reason, there was no mitigation for the water discharge that was coming out, which ended up killing the fish in four provinces along the northern part of the south china sea on the vietnamese border. huge economic impact, huge protests, mostly aimed at china. i would think that maybe the builders made some mistakes. i think also the officials that let this thing happen inside vietnam made some mistakes. you have seen a number of bloggers being sentenced to very long sentences recently in the last few months up to 10 and 14 years. madam mushroom is very famous. she has been going after this. part of it is a criticism of china and part for the
government for not controlling the projects better. china has with some of its investment -- one of the investments is the gypsum mine. there are some bad projects in vietnam. china managed to get tarred by most of them. china needs to figure out a way to change that image. china could probably do better than some of these projects suggest. >> i agree with you. [ speaking in foreign language ] >> she agrees that between the general public and the
government, they have very different attitude about the cooperation with china. [ speaking in foreign language ] >> she believes that the view of the public has been heavily influenced by the government's position, the government propaganda. she pointed out that between 2017 to 2015, the overall. >> 2007. >> 2007 to 2015, they found ott the relationship was deteriorating in general. in that was the vietnamese's government policy toward china. if we look at today's vietnamese
government, it is different than the government that was there in 2015. [ speaking in foreign language ] >> so the prime minister at that time adopted a pro-america policy. he promoted this policy that vietnam should distance itself from china, and also to mitigate the chinese influence in vietnam. as a result, the government facilitated a lot of anti-china propaganda and china had unfriendly messages through the media and through the government's policy. that was a main factor.
>> so by far, up until now, this china unfriendly propaganda from the previous government. if you look at how the vietnamese me vietnamese media portrays china, specially since 2017, the message or signal has been highly positive. [ speaking in foreign language ] . . >> she also agrees that there are problems with the economic projects between china and vietnam. [ speak ing in foreign language]
>> it is not rare for chinese companies to follow the local laws and regulations. in the case of vietnam, there has been corruption in projects and the sky train project in hanoi has been dragging on for quite a few years. so far, there is still no solution. [ speaking in foreign language ] >> it will become operational this year. we'll see. >> for clarification, the
pollution case in central vietnam, that was a taiwanese company, not a chinese company. [ speaking in foreign language ] >> so the death of the many fish in that region was not because of mainland china. [ speaking in foreign language ] >> so in terms of the bri, vietnam has its own strategy for two corridors and one icircle.
in terms of the connection between these two campaigns, china has offered vietnam to build two railways from different areas to haifong. [ speaking in foreign language ] >> it is a vietnamese strategy and china raised the risk of cooperation. china will provide the financing. [ speaking in foreign language ]
>> also, between china and vietnam, one future area that china is currently pursuing is cross border economic cooperation zones. so the initial proposal, the plan is around the five border provinces of vietnam there will be -- china will establish four cross border economic cooperation zones and one feature of this xwheconomic cooperation zone is one inspection between the two countries at the land ports. [ speaking in foreign language ] >> so this is a major breakthrough because it requires the bureaucracies on both sides to make concessions and adjustments to allow the one layer of inspection between the
former massachusetts governor, mitt romney, announced he is running for u.s. senate to serve the people of utah. tonight, he will speak at the lincoln day dinner, a fund-raiser in utah. watch live coverage beginning at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> our live coverage of the savannah book festival starts saturday morning at 9:00 eastern and includes robert smith with
"future war." and robert shapiro, how a radical plan to outlaw the war made the world and seceleste headley with the book "we need to talk" watch live on saturday at 9:00 a.m. on cspan2's book tv. sunday night on after words, former u.s. trade negotiator and senior senate staffer, ira shapiro, with his book "broken, can the senate save itself and the country," he is interviewed by tom daschle. >> politics was supposed to be about finding a way to overcome some differences through principles and extended discussion and a real legislative process, through principled compromise. it wasn't supposed to be about one party winning on their own.
as you know, the times in history when one party has been able to do it on their own, very few, maybe 1933 and '34, fdr dealing with the depression. even lbj reached out to republicans and had republican support. >> watch "after words" on cspan2 book tv. next, a panel discussion on russia's attempts to influence american democracy. panelists take a look at how president trump's investments in russia could become potential conflicts of interest. this discussion is an hour. good afternoon. my name is liz kennedy. i am senior director of democracy and government reform.