The ‘Same Bed, Different Dreams’ of Vietnam and China

How (Mis)trust Could Make or Break It

In: European Journal of East Asian Studies

Abstract

Vietnam–China relations could be captured in the Chinese expression ‘同床异梦’, ‘same bed, different dreams’. Analysing Vietnam–China’s asymmetric relationship, cultural and political similarities, divergences in global ambition and the involvement of foreign powers, this study shows how the relationship is increasingly interdependent but is equally fragile. One possible cause is the low level of trust on both sides, evidenced by repeated calls to ‘consolidate political trust’ or ‘enhance mutual trust’ in their high-level bilateral dialogues.

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