Speaker: Hoang Yen Nguyen (Vietnam National University, HCMC)
Discussant: Sean S. Han (St. Lawrence University)
China and Vietnam have had a long and close relationship over the years. Especially when it came to the 19th century, facing the invasion of Western countries, this relationship underwent tremendous changes and became more complicated than ever. In such circumstances, Vietnam’s attitude toward China – the Heavenly Kingdom had had a big difference from the previous period. However, this is not clearly presented in the literature because of the lack of relevant documents. To fill this gap, this paper makes use of Vietnamese envoys’ travel writings to China from 1868 (the first tributary trip of Vietnam to China after 16 years of interruption) to 1883 (the last tributary trip of Vietnam to China) for analyzing, to investigate the changing attitude of Vietnamese official-scholars and government toward China in the late 19th century; and to address the China’s influence on Vietnam in particular, and on East Asia area in general at the time, as well as to illustrate the changing thoughts of Vietnam in the pre-modern time. Finally, the result can suggest some lessons learned from those experiences for recent international relations between China, Vietnam and the other Asian or Western countries.