Vietnam will send an envoy to China this week in an attempt to repair the troubled relationship between the two countries. The meeting is expected to be a crucial one as it could set the tone for future dialogue between the two countries, which have sparred over a Chinese oil rig in disputed waters of the South China Sea.
Le Hong Anh, a Politburo member and permanent member of the Secretariat of the Communist Party of Vietnam Central Committee, is scheduled to reach China on Tuesday for a two-day visit. Le will represent Vietnam’s Nguyen Phu Trong, the committee's general secretary, Xinhua reported, and both sides are expected to resolve issues that cropped up after China sent an oil rig to the South China Sea in May. The move had triggered violent protests in Vietnam against China's growing assertion in the region.
Le’s visit will “promote the healthy, stable and long-term development of relations between the two parties and states," the Vietnamese government said, in a statement, according to Associated Press, or AP.
In May, China had denied Hanoi's request to move the oil rig out of the disputed waters. However, after clashes in Vietnam targeted Chinese-owned factories in Hanoi, China evacuated its citizens and moved away a second set of four oil rigs it had deployed in the South China Sea in July.
"There will be nothing," Nguyen Quang A, an economist and a critic of the government, said, according to AP, adding: "China will never compromise. Their removal of the oil rig was only temporary. They will never abandon their wicked ambitions of taking a monopoly over the East Sea.”
China is also reportedly suspicious of Vietnam's growing friendliness toward the U.S. Beijing and Washington, in recent months, have exchanged a series of diplomatic barbs over China's growing aggression in the region and over issues of cyber espionage.