China launches ‘charm offensive’

Scott Tong May 15, 2007


SCOTT JAGOW: China and Vietnam have a long and messy history. China colonized Vietnam 2,000 years ago, but the two countries are trying to let bygones be bygones. Today, Vietnam’s president landed in China for three days of schmoozing and trade deals. Our Shanghai correspondent Scott Tong has more.

SCOTT TONG: In the 1970s, Vietnam invaded China’s ally, Cambodia, at which point Beijing attacked Vietnam to get even.

But today . . .

IAN STOREY: The relationship between Vietnam and China has never been better.

Ian Storey of the Institute for Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore says in the last decade, trade has taken off.

Today, the countries announced a new joint power line, and to Storey it’s all part of a charm offensive by Beijing.

STOREY: China has tried to underscore the message that its rise is peaceful. The Vietnamese are happy I think that the relationship has improved, but they still harbor a lot of concerns and anxieties.

Such as, what China will do with its economic clout in say 20 years, and whether it will once again see Vietnam as a colony.

In Shanghai, I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

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