America won. China lost. Not an obvious answer because most media attention has focused on the Vietnam failures and loses. Not the win. America and Vietnam’s wins.
That applies not only to last week’s Trump-Kim Summit, but today’s geopolitical regional reality.
America’s win was brought into focus at the failed Trump-Kim Summit by the global media spotlight in Hanoi.
The summit’s failure also reminds us of America’s failure with its Vietnam War — and the less well known failure of China’s war in Vietnam from February 17-March 16, 1979. The ongoing conflicts in the South China Sea today only magnify China’s loss.
The Summit was taking place in Hanoi during the 40th Anniversary of the short-lived bloody Sino-Vietnamese War. A war an editorial in the Communist Party paper The Voice of Vietnam called a “righteous … struggle to defend the motherland” and condemned China’s “brutal and illogical invasion.”
At the time, Beijing made it clear it wanted to teach an “ungrateful” former ally a lesson for switching its alliance to the Soviet Union, China’s arch enemy, by signing the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in November 1978.
China was angry because of its support of Vietnam during its decades of war with France and America. Beijing had poured billions of dollars in aid to support its ideological friend and also sent about 320,000 soldiers to help fight.
China supported Vietnam militarily during the Vietnam War, just as it did North Korea during the Korean War.
North Korea also supported Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
The Sino-Vietnamese War was also believed to be an effort by China to stop Hanoi’s campaign to oust the China-backed murderous Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. The campaign included Vietnam invading Phnom Penh.
It is estimated that 28,000 Chinese soldiers were killed and 43,000 wounded during the conflict. Vietnamese casualties range from 20,000-35,000, many of them civilians because the war was fought exclusively in Vietnam.
The Sino-Vietnamese war tarnished and undermined China’s image as a peace-loving nation and raised suspicions about Beijing’s non-hegemonic claims. Neighbors were horrified to see more than 600,000 Chinese troops cross into Vietnam just to teach a lesson to an “unthankful” former ally.
Sino-Vietnamese conflicts date back to 1BC and continue to date over a contested reef in the South China Sea.
Trump praised President Xi Jinping for being “very helpful in his support” of the Hanoi talks.
The Trump-Kim Summit, facilitated and set up by Beijing in Hanoi, is symbolic and representative of who the players and real winners of the Vietnam wars are. Vietnam and America. Not China or North Korea.
The Sino-Vietnamese War of 1979 and ongoing conflicts in the South China Sea, have reshaped today’s regional geopolitical equation, by pushing a former comrade-in-arms into the warm embrace of America!
Trump’s second visit to Vietnam since taking office two years ago says it all. America and Vietnam have consolidated their ties at China’s expense.
The American and other foreign enterprises moving their factories from China to Vietnam further consolidate these ties as the U.S.-China tariff crossfires continue.