The confrontation between China and the Philippines on Nansha islands and reefs, Vietnam suddenly changed its position, and Vietnam and the Philippines cooperated in the South China Sea?

Recently, the Ministry of Transport issued a notice that three navigation marks have been set up in the waters of the Nansha Islands. China’s move is widely regarded by the outside world as a response to the Philippine Coast Guard’s action in setting up buoys in the South China Sea earlier this month. Some Philippine media said that during China’s launch of the buoy, a Philippine Coast Guard ship arrived and tried to interfere with China’s actions. The two sides once had a confrontation in the waters near the Nansha islands and reefs. However, at this time, Vietnam launched an attack on China in the direction of the South China Sea. It seems that Vietnam and the Philippines seem to cooperate with China on the South China Sea issue.

Philippine media say Chinese and Philippine Coast Guard ships confronted again recently

According to Reuters, Vietnam claimed that China’s ocean-going scientific research ship Xiangyanghong 10 appeared in Vietnam’s so-called “exclusive economic zone” under the “escort” of five ships, and approached a Russian company operating in the South China Sea. natural gas project. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam “rarely” issued a statement on the matter, demanding the “expulsion” of the Chinese ship.

Regarding Vietnam’s groundless accusations, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded positively to the matter. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said that the sovereignty of the Nansha Islands and the adjacent waters belong to China, so China has jurisdiction. There is no problem with the normal activities of Chinese ships in the waters under their jurisdiction. She also said that on the South China Sea issue, China has always insisted on resolving issues through dialogue and communication, and hopes that all parties can properly resolve differences and jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.

Finally, the spokesperson emphasized that China will firmly safeguard its legitimate rights and interests.

Reuters report on the matter

Whether it is Vietnam’s “sudden attack” on China on the South China Sea issue, or the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s response to Vietnam, it shows that the situation this time is very different from before. Because since the Vietnamese leader visited China at the beginning of this year, Vietnam has kept a low profile on the South China Sea issue, and is actively seeking negotiations with China, with a view to signing the “Code of Conduct for Parties in the South China Sea” at an early date. Moreover, when U.S. Secretary of State Blinken visited Vietnam before, the Vietnamese side was also very firm. Even if they did not agree with the U.S. involvement in the South China Sea issue, they would not be the second Philippines.

Therefore, we must pay attention to Vietnam’s sudden strong statement this time. There should be some reason behind this, which gave Vietnam some new ideas on the South China Sea issue. Judging from the recent overall situation in the South China Sea and even Vietnam’s actions, the following factors may have a relatively large impact.

First, the current situation in the South China Sea has indeed changed compared to the beginning of this year. Since the Philippines took the initiative to “lead the way” for the United States, and the United States has also expanded its military presence in the South China Sea, the situation in the South China Sea has become quite unstable. Moreover, thanks to the support of the United States, the Philippines has a wave of “sense of presence” on the South China Sea issue this time, making some hardliners in the country feel that they have really benefited. The behavior of the Philippines has also been seen by countries around the South China Sea, such as Vietnam. Since the Philippines made such a bad start, other countries in the South China Sea may indeed have thought carefully.

The behavior of the Philippines has already started a bad start

The second is the vigorous promotion and instigation of the United States. Although Vietnam has always been wary of the United States, especially in the field of military cooperation, this does not mean that Vietnam does not want to develop relations with the United States in other fields. Moreover, a trend of Vietnam’s foreign policy toward the US in recent years is to strengthen Vietnam-US economic ties and normalize Vietnam-US relations. Therefore, we can see that within this year, luxury delegations led by US Secretary of State Blinken and other senior US officials have gone to Vietnam one after another. The United States is still eager to improve the relationship between the United States and Vietnam, but Hanoi is still more cautious in this matter.

Although Vietnam is still wary of the United States in general, it is not willing to choose between China and the United States. However, under the multi-level and intensive lobbying by the US, Vietnam’s attitude may indeed be affected to some extent. Therefore, it is not ruled out that this will make some people in Vietnam think that “the opportunity has come” and feel that China may not have the energy when the confrontation between China and the United States is intensifying. To take into account too many directions, and then take advantage of the current situation to fish in troubled waters.

Third, although Vietnam has suddenly changed its position on the South China Sea issue for a period of time, it does not represent a change in Vietnam’s overall official position. Although it was the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs who took the initiative this time, as long as the Vietnamese side feels that the situation is not right, it can be used to communicate directly with the Chinese side at a higher level to cool things down. Therefore, on the issue of the South China Sea, the Vietnamese side should still be exploring. If they find an opportunity to take advantage of it, they may continue to act; and if the Chinese side stabilizes the overall situation in the South China Sea, the Vietnamese side finds that there is no chance, and will shrink back. .

Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam

Fourth, Vietnam’s move objectively echoes the recent Philippines’ actions in the Nansha Islands. The two countries are suspected of “cooperating”, but it is not completely sure that Vietnam has this willingness subjectively, because the overall situation of Sino-Vietnamese relations is still stable. However, Vietnam’s high-level officials still attach great importance to their relations with China, so it is unlikely that they will do anything that really angers China.

Fifth, Vietnam’s recent relationship with Russia. Russia has always attached great importance to Vietnam. Medvedev, vice chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, recently visited Vietnam and made commitments to Vietnam in areas such as grain exports. It can be seen that Russia, which is sanctioned by the West, is trying to win over developing countries, including Vietnam. The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs specifically mentioned this time that the Chinese ship “approached” a natural gas project operated by a Russian company in the South China Sea, which is worth pondering.

The Vietnamese side seems to want to create a “sense of conflict” and give the outside world a feeling that Chinese ships may interfere with Russian projects. You must know that China-Russia relations are currently quite good. Even if Vietnam does not have the suspicion of provoking China-Russia relations, there is a high probability that it wants to move out of Russia to influence China.

Medvedev recently visited Vietnam

However, Vietnam’s behavior cannot change the fact that China has sovereignty over the South China Sea, and it does not have any benefits. At the same time, China is strengthening its military presence and maritime law enforcement capabilities by setting navigation marks. In addition, China is engaging in closer diplomatic interactions with neighboring countries in the South China Sea and ASEAN, including military diplomacy and other means, to actively stabilize the overall situation in the South China Sea. In general, China has the ability and confidence to ensure peace and stability in the South China Sea. Therefore, if Vietnam has a long-term vision, it should abandon this “opportunistic” approach, return to the right track of peaceful dialogue, and do more for regional peace. beneficial thing.