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527 words - July 19, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
The relations between China and Vietnam are said to be "friendly and sincere" according to officials from the two countries. Yet in the framework of ancient rivalries dating back from the cold war and Vietnam's close relationship with former Soviet Union, and due to an ongoing resurgence of tensions regarding maritime sovereignty, Vietnam has been energetically seeking to build strong partnerships with other Asia-Pacific countries. As a country where investment from western countries has much increased to the detriment of China's workforce, Vietnam also worried about the growing strategic importance of China and has become part of some effort to contain China's possible rise to regional hegemony in the long term. As a result, India, like Japan, Indonesia and the United States, has become a top priority country for Vietnam's foreign policy.
Since 2007, the two countries started a bilateral strategic partnership and put in place the related dialogue mechanisms, prompting numerous exchanges of official visits. On the international stage, Vietnam has signed the G4 draft resolution on the reforms of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) that supports India's candidature for permanent membership of an expanded UNSC. On the economic stage, the ties have been expanding rapidly through growing trade and a strong flow of Indian private sector investments in Vietnam, now approaching a total of USD 936 million in 86 projects mostly in the sectors of energy, agriculture and Information Technologies (IT). "Bilateral trade has grown to USD 6.1 billion in 2012-13. We are well on track to cross the target of USD 7 billion that we have put for the 2015 deadline," Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid stated. Although India's share in Vietnam's economy hardly makes 18% of China's with if 925 projects worth USD 4,7 billion, it is representative of an unprecedented interest in Vietnam's economy that makes China ranking "only" 13th among the countries investing in Vietnam, according to the ASEAN-China Centre.
On July 11-12, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh paid an official visit to India where he met with Mr. Khurshid. The two officials presided over the 15th meeting of the Vietnam-India Inter-Governmental Committee on Economic and Science-Technology Cooperation and inked the 2013-2015 Action Plan to enhance bilateral cooperation. On the political stage, Vietnam gained renewed support from India regarding the East Sea issue with China. In line with ASEAN's agenda, Mr. Khurshid said that when an issue about international waters emerges, "it should be settled bilaterally through dialogue in a peaceful manner." Praising convergence from all sides, Vietnam is not deepening ties with India against China, but rather with a view of diversifying its foreign policy and trade interests enough for Vietnam to preserve national independence and to turn relations with China into a real "win-win."
For instance, Vietnam's capital city Ho Chi Minh City will host the Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business (APK) on November 21-22, whose latest edition was held in New Delhi, India. "The country's total exports to Germany increased by 9.9 percent in 2012, while German imports to Vietnam rose by 27.7 percent in the same year," said an official communiqué. Vietnam's vigorous diplomacy begins to pay.
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