Vietnam’s careful dance with the superpowers


Author: Phuong Nguyen, CSIS, Washington DC

US–Vietnam military relations have improved remarkably in recent years but talk of an enhanced alliance between Washington and Hanoi overlooks important geopolitical and historic nuances. Defence relations between the two countries turned a page in the early 2000s, when both countries moved beyond the legacy of the Vietnam War. Both countries began to actively explore new ways to work together. Read more…

Vietnam’s economy steady as it grows

A bicycle stands in rice fields in Vietnam. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Suiwah Leung, ANU

The Vietnamese economy has stabilised but is growing below trend. In 2014, the economy relied principally on manufactured exports. The government seems to be pushing on with structural reforms of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and the banking sector. But it remains to be seen whether its current efforts will be sufficient to restore economic growth in time for the country to transform itself into a high-income industrialised economy in the longer-term future. Read more…

Vietnam’s role in ASEAN

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, China's Premier Li Keqiang, Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah during a family photo session for the 16th ASEAN-CHINA Summit on 9 October 2013. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Sadhavi Chauhan, Observer Research Foundation

In 1988, a year before the Soviet Union collapsed, the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam adopted a resolution to have ‘more friends and fewer enemies’. So it was not surprising when Vietnam expressed interest in joining ASEAN as early as 1992, or when it did in fact join in July 1995.

Joining ASEAN had crucial social, political, economic and security implications for Vietnam. Read more…

Asia’s political problems and land

A group of Chinese residents hold a banner outside the Beijing municipal bureau of land and resources as they protest against a land auction in Beijing on 6 July 2011.  The banner says: no compensation, not allowed to auction land. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, Editor, East Asia Forum

Wherever there is successful industrial and economic transformation in Asia, the tussle over possession of land is at the centre of the politics of development.

There are two main reasons for this. Economic growth in land and resource-deficient economies depends crucially on the shift away from agriculture and other activities that use land intensively, towards manufacturing and urban services that use labour, capital, technology and human skills intensively. Read more…

Is Vietnam in denial on military strategy?

A Chinese coast guard vessel near the area of China's oil drilling rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea, off shore Vietnam, 14 May 2014. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Shang-su Wu, RSIS

Vietnam’s recent, and significant, investment in military hardware is aimed at coping with a changing strategic environment. But will it make any significant difference in balancing against China’s military might in the South China Sea? Read more…

Vietnam looks for renewal in an intensely political 2015

A Vietnamese worker paints a communist sign before hanging it over a street as decoration prior to New Year celebrations in Hanoi on 22 December 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: David Brown, California

Vietnam will begin 2015 on a fairly sound economic footing. The national economy has largely recovered from Hanoi’s ill-advised efforts to mitigate the impact of the 2009 Great Recession. That sobering experience exposed structural weaknesses which, left unfixed, could condemn Vietnam to languish in a middle-income trap, unable to realise the potential of its relatively young and well-educated population. Read more…

Vietnam’s education system: still under construction

Vietnamese school pupils cheer as they release balloons during a ceremony held to mark the new school year. Debates on the quality of the country's education system continue. (Photo: AAP).

Author: David Brown, California

For Vietnamese youth, a university degree is the entry ticket to the middle class and a promise (often unfulfilled) of an urban professional job. Enrolment in higher education has grown from 162,000 in 1992 to over two million last year, some 25 per cent of the nation’s college-age population. Read more…

Vietnam’s leaders look to consolidate gains in 2015


Author: Thomas Jandl, MRTJ Asia Consulting

For Vietnam’s leadership, 2014 was another year of growing into a role as an increasingly active international player, both diplomatically and economically. Two events — the Haiyang 981 oilrig incident and TPP accession negotiations — gave Vietnam a place in the spotlight and shed light on a continued path for 2015. Read more…

US links arms with Vietnam in maritime security fight


Author: Murray Hiebert, CSIS

The United States partially lifted its decades-old ban on weapons sales to Vietnam on 2 October 2014. This was one of the most significant steps in improving relations between the two former enemies since they normalised diplomatic ties nearly two decades ago. Read more…