Xi Jinping in Vietnam to rekindle a love-hate relationship

What they will certainly not talk about, at least publicly, is the bitter territorial dispute between them over islands in the South China Sea, nor their acrimonious relationship in the 1970s and 80s, which included a full-scale border war in 1979 that killed thousands of soldiers on both sides. There will also certainly be no mention of China’s long historic colonisation of Vietnam, known there as “nghìn năm bắc thuộc” or 1,000 years of northern occupation, or of Vietnam’s grievances over the impact of Chinese dams on the Mekong river.