Since the country reopened in the early 1990s, Russia has remained Vietnam's main security partner. In March, during discussions in Hanoi with Tô Lâm, Lieutenant General Phan Van Giang and Nguyên Phu Trong, Nikolai Patrushev, the Secretary of the Russian Federation’s Security Council, reminded the Vietnamese of the importance Russia places on their country’s political stability. This especially in a region weakened by "the emergence of much social unrest" (Myanmar, Thailand, Hong Kong). At the same time, Vietnamese police arrested Le Trong Hung, one of the 70 independent candidates in the parliamentary elections scheduled for May, for propaganda against the state. Through his campaign, the Vietnamese had demanded the creation of a constitutional court, and the passage of laws relating to surveillance and the right to protest.
On the occasion of the 12th Congress of the PCV in 2016, which marked the start of Nguyên Phu Trong's second term, the Ministry of Public Security discreetly strengthened its partnerships with Chinese security organs. While the two countries often clash over maritime issues in the South China Sea, they agree on issues of social stability as well as the future place of the Party within society. A few days after the end of the 13th Congress, Chinese Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi visited Hanoi to co-chair the 7th conference on cooperation in the prevention and fight against crime, together with his counterpart Tô Lâm. During this visit, Zhao Kezhi spent several weeks with many of the new leadership’s most important figures.
In Vietnam, the Communist Party is responsible for securing the country’s legitimate interests, while benefiting from Chinese development. The choice of Pham Minh Chinh as the new Prime Minister confirms that the Vietnamese are still not able fully answer the call of the Indo-Pacific. Pham Minh Chinh is believed to be the closest leader to China - other than Nguyen Phu Trong. Speculation about his position abounds, with some commentators already predicting that he will eventually look to succeed Nguyên Phu Trong in the event the latter experiences further health problems. He is also seen as having pro-Chinese positions, after his support for co-exploitation projects in China and the South China Sea, and for the creation of special economic zones in the country. After all it was Pham Minh Chinh, then a young intelligence officer, who was posted to Bucharest in the spring of 1989 to observe the effect the popular protests in Eastern Europe had on the communist powers in the region. And if we look through the list of positions he has occupied throughout his career in the Ministry of Public Security, the future Prime Minister has been continually at the head of the human and economic intelligence structures that focused on the defense of strategic national interests. In Vietnam, the new leadership is now making the control of its population a political priority, while also trying to meet the consumerist aspirations of the people in this favorable economic context. The PCV is facing the fight for the future of the regime by focusing on the "economic" dimension of its mission, while ensuring that security figures hold key positions.
Copyright : NHAC NGUYEN / AFP