Huanqiu Shibao had a rendition on a China People’s Broadcasting Station (CPBS, aka China National Radio) on Sunday. The following is a translation of the rendition.
China People’s Broadcasting Station Net (CPBS Net), Beijing, August 17 – According to the Voice of China’s “CPBS News”, the war that lasted for twenty years, from 1955 to 1975, gave both America lasting pain. After the end of the war, the two countries started opposing each other for twenty years, until the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1995.
But after a family feud of half a century, and during the nineteen years of U.S.-Vietnamese relations that followed, tremendous changes have taken place. Just this month, on August 13, and for the first time after 43 years, an American Chief of Staff, Martin Dempsey, visited Vietnam, the highest-level military visiting Vietnam. Also, America will remove some parts of the arms embargo that had been in place for thirty years. Some Analysts believe that the warming up [in the two countries’ relations] is food for thought. [Voice of China’s] “Global Mandarin Broadcasting Network” America observer Yu Hao explains:
然 而，这长达半个多世纪的“家仇国恨”，在随后的十几年美越交往中发生着翻天覆地的变化。就在本月13号，时隔43周年后，美军参谋长联席会议主席登普西访 问越南，成为越战后首访越南的美国最高军事长官;而历经30年后，美国也将解除对越南部分武器禁运。有分析称，美越此时的“暧昧”关系值得深思。《全球华 语广播网》美国观察员余浩介绍：
What is the reason for the U.S. to lift the arms embargo against Vietnam right now? Most American media are looking at this with the background of rebalancing American forces towards Asia-Pacific, and Dempsey also emphasized in Vietnam that America didn’t want Vietnam to choose between the two big countries of America and China.*) In recent years, both America and Vietnam have become wary about China and have strengthened military cooperation. One by one, American secretary of defense and secretary of state visited Vietnam, even exploring the possibility of American warships calling at Cam Ranh Bay, and this time, Dempsey hinted that the arms embargo against Vietnam could be lifted, and one could say that this was boosting U.S.-Vietnamese military cooperation. The ultimate success depends on U.S. Congress approval. However, during this year, many members of Congress have visited Vietnam, like Senate heavyweight John McCain who visited only a few days ago and said that at the earlierst, a partial removal of the arms embargo could be achieved by September this year.
余 浩：为何美国在这个时候要解除对越南的武器禁运呢？美国的媒体大多是将其放在美国亚太再平衡和南海主权争端中越关系紧张的大背景下来观察，登普西在越南也 强调，美国并没有让越南在美中两个大国之间进行选择。近年来美国和越南这两个对中国同样有戒心的国家强化军事合作关系，美国国防部长、国务卿相继访问越 南，甚至探讨美军军舰在金兰湾停靠的可能性，登普西此次放风解除对越南武器禁运，可谓是给美越军事合作加油打气，最后能否成功还取决于美国国会是否批准， 不过今年以来美国议员密集访问越南，重量级参议院麦凯恩前几天刚刚访问过越南，并且称解除对越武器禁运，最快有可能于9月份部分实现。
While America and Vietnam established diplomatic relations, military exchange between the two sides has only been superficial, but when it comes to trade cooperation, it is almost comprehensively in full bloom, having reached leapfrogging style.
In 1994, one year before the establishment of diplomatic relations, U.S. president Clinton lifted the economic embargo against Vietnam, and the two countries’ trade grew quickly. On December 10, 2001, the U.S.-Vietnamese bilateral trade agreement came into effect, and since then, trade relations have boomed. From January to July this year, Vietnam has exported goods to the U.S. totalling 16 billion U.S. dollars, a year-on-year increase of 24 percent. A forecast by the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam says that bilateral trade relations will reach 336 billion Dollars in 2014. Currently, Vietnam’s exports to America are the third-largest among ASEAN states, second ony to Malaysia’s and Thailand’s.
1994年暨美越建交前一年，美国总统克林顿宣布取消对越南经济的禁运政 策，当年两国的双边贸易便实现了快速增长，2001年12月10日，美越双边贸易协定生效，自此，美越经贸关系发展迅猛，今年1到7月，越南对美国货物出 口额为160亿美元，同比增长24%，越南美国商会预测，2014年越美双边贸易额将达到336亿美元，目前越南对美出口额在东盟国家中位居第三，仅次于 马来西亚和泰国。
Looking back at the Vietnam war, and exactly because of that war, America implemented a comprehensive arms embargo against Vietnam as early as in 1984. PLA National Defense University professor Li Li explains:
In 1984, America officially passed this kind of law, banning all further supplies of military equipment. This included two levels, one about military high-tech, the supply of which wasn’t only prohibited for American companies, but also the entire European Union, countries the EU had relations with, had to join the ranks. This included some important advanced material technology, some electronic devices, or high-precision lathes the supply of which wasn’t allowed either. Adding to this, the definition of combat-class equipment is really broad, including missile equipment, these things are untouchable. It was a comprehensive limitation, and done very thoroughly.
李莉： 1984年美国是正式通过这样一个法律，禁止以后再继续向越南民主主义人民共和国出售所有相关军事装备的物品，包括两个层面，一个就是军事高技术，他不仅 自己不允许向越南提供，此外要求整个欧盟，包括所有和他有关系的国家，都参与到这个行列当中，包括新的一些重要的材料技术，包括一些信息技术、一些电子仪 器、精密的车床加工的这些技术都不允许提供。 此外，就是战斗类的装备是非常宽泛的，涉及陆海空，包括导弹类的装备，这些东西更是碰都不允许碰的，是全面的一个限制，做的是非常彻底。
By following two previous U.S. secretaries of defense and visiting Vietnam, too, joint chief Dempsey almost stirred a “Vietnam-mania”. According to one point of view, American intervention in the South China Sea is no longer just a posture, but some kind of real action. When secretary of state Kerry had just left Vietnam, Dempsey entered, so how come that currently, high American officials, one after another, visit Vietnam, especially a high-level military official? Xu Liping, director of the Chinese Academy of Social Studies’ China Network for the Asia-Pacific Research analyzes:
继此前两任美国防长访问越南，参谋长联席会议主席登普西也前往河内，美 国军方似乎掀起了“越南热”。有观点认为：美国对南海的干预，不再仅仅是一种姿态，而是一种实际的行动。美国国务卿克里前脚刚离开越南，登普西就紧随其 后，那么美国高官为什么会选择此时陆续访越，尤其是美军方高层？中国社科院亚太研究所文华研究室主任许利平分析：
I think that one should say that Dempsey’s visit to Vietnam is an important part of a close U.S.-Vietnamese relationship. Because we know that last year, Vietnam’s state chairman Truong Tan Sang visited the U.S., and Vietnamese-U.S. relations were raised to a level of comprehensive partnership. This is a very important point of view, because as we know, America’s relations with south-east Asian nations like Indonesia have also been raised to the level of comprehensive partnership. One could say that this is a new form of American relations with Asian countries. To strengthen economic relations with them is also an important part of the American rebalancing strategy towards Asia-Pacific, so I believe that Dempsey’s visit is another aspect of this component.
许利平：我想登 普西访问越南的话应该来说是越南和美国密切关系的一个重要组成部分，因为我们知道，去年越南国家主席张晋创也访问了美国，把越南和美国的关系提升为全面伙 伴关系，是一个非常重要的转折点，因为我们知道美国和东南亚的国家比如说印度尼西亚也提升为全面伙伴关系，应该来说也是美国和亚洲国家一个新型的伙伴关 系，强化这些亚洲国家在经济上面的联系，也是美国亚太再平衡战略的一个重要的组成部分，所以我觉得登普西访问也是这种组成部分的一个方面。
The highlight of Dempsey’s Vietnam visit is the strengthening of the two countries’ military cooperation, and a focus on maritime security. Some experts believe that this could put pressure on China.
Xu Liping: One should say that this is a breakthrough in U.S.-Vietnamese relations. America hopes that lifting the arms embargo will increase American arms exports which is, in fact, important for the U.S. economy. From a Vietnamese perspective, all arms imported by Vietnam have come from Russia, and that makes it a rather single market, and if America lifts the arms embargo, I guess this would increase Vietnam’s defense capabilities. Both sides can thus take what they need. Thirdly, and personally, I believe that of course, America’s strengthening of relations with Vietnam also includes considerations about the South China Sea. In fact, America wants to turn Vietnam into a chess piece for disputes with China, but their cooperation with Vietnam on the South China Sea issue is limited because on the one hand, Vietnam still has many misgivings about the U.S., and on the other hand, America, domestically, isn’t too relaxed about Vietnam either. So I think the cooperation between the two will be of a rather limited kind.
徐利 平：这应该来说是美越关系的一个突破，美国希望解除武器禁令扩大美国的武器出口，实际上也是对美国经济的吃紧，对越南方面来讲，由于历史上的原因越南一直 的进口武器都是来自于俄罗斯，应该来说市场是比较单一的，如果美国武器的禁运的解禁我估计会提高越南的这种国防能力，双方是一种各取所需，第三，我个人认 为美国强化和越南的这种关系，当然也有南海方面的考虑，实际上美国也希望把越南作为中国在南海争端方面的一个棋子，但是实际上美国在南海问题上跟越南的合 作我觉得他是有限度的，因为一方面的话越南对美国还是有很多的疑虑的，第二个美国国内也并不是对越南很放心，所以双方之间我觉得是一种有限度的合作吧。
We have noted that year-on-year, Vietnam’s exports to the U.S. have risen by 24 percent from January to July. In these contacts with a superpower, and in political or economic terms, Vietnam hardly incurs any disadvantages. What do you believe is Vietnam’s mentality in this commitment to contacts with America – what are the values they are choosing?
The fact that America and Vietnam establish this kind of comprehensive partnership, that they strengthen economic cooperation and that both sides take what they need is part of a Vietnamese objective to implement a rebalancing strategy in its foreign relations, in its diplomacy. Vietnam’s actual overall goal is to establish this kind of strategic partnersip with all great powers. In fact, Vietnam’s foreign ministry has said that it wants to establish strategic partnerships with all five permanent members of the UN Security Council, but America remains as a scond choice, and to establish this kind of comprehensive partnership and rebalancing is something Vietnam hopes to use to increase its regional influence. Actually, Vietnam doesn’t want to side with just one great power, and I believe that this, too, is an important part of Vietnam’s strategy of balancing great powers.
许利平：美国和越南建立这种全面伙伴关 系，加强经济的这种合作，各取所需，实际上越南的对外外交的一个思路是要实现一种对外的这种平衡的战略，实际上他的总体战略是要和所有的大国建立这种伙伴 关系，越南的外交部其实已经提出了要和五大常任理事国都要建立这种战略伙伴关系，但是和美国只是退而求其次，建立了这种全面的伙伴的关系，实际上越南是希 望通过这种大国的平衡的战略来突出越南在这个地区的影响力，实际上越南也不可能想要任何的大国一边倒，我觉得这也是越南的这个大国平衡战略的一个重要的组 成部分。
An hour and twenty minutes after publication, 44 Huanqiu readers had expressed anger at the article (or what it describes), four readers are delighted, one is bored, and 22 feel that what they’ve read is ridiculous.
Huanqiu, a paper and website with a rather nationalist readership, also reported on Martin Demsey’s visit during the past days, all in a rather noncommittal mode – something also frequently practised by Chinese media during the 1980s/1990s when covering (controversial) foreign issues, but quite different from the often stirring ways Huanqiu articles were written around 2008/2012.
*) “to choose between being a friend of the United States and a friend of China”, AFP, Aug 16, 2014
“The Cold War is over. It ended. Russia’s not our enemy. The people of the Czech Republic don’t have to choose between being a friend of the United States or a friend with Russia, you can be both. We don’t believe in a zero sum world,” President Bush said today in Prague
Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2007
» Help to counter China, USA Today, Aug 18, 2014
» US urged to lift ban, VoV, Aug 14,2014
» 首次访问越南, Huanqiu, Aug 14, 2014
» Australia-US ties, BBC News, Aug 13, 2014
» 王毅晤越南副总理, Huanqiu, Aug 9, 2014
» Low-class nationalism, May 19, 2014
» Vo Nguyen Giap, October 4, 2013
» Giving away the Store, US News, July 23, 2013
» Syria & South China Sea, Aug 5, 2012
» Nothing to deploy, July 30, 2012
» Don’t get burned, June 21, 2012
» Communiqué, Oct 16, 2011
» Five Questions to a Hegemon, Aug 18, 2010
» Threat of an Invasion, April 29, 2009