Vietnam–US relations balancing ideology and geopolitics

U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam David Shear, second right, and Vietnam's Deputy Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh, third left, cut ribbon during a ceremony marking the start of a project to clean up dioxin left over from the Vietnam War, at a former U.S. military base in Danang, Vietnam Thursday Aug. 9, 2012. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Cuong T. Nguyen, University of Chicago

On 7 July 2015, Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong met US President Barack Obama at the Oval Office, marking a historic milestone in advancing US–Vietnam relations. But the trip was largely symbolic as Trong returned to Hanoi with only modest progress on comprehensive US–Vietnam relations. So, when eloquent rhetoric collides with hard logistics, what was the main roadblock in furthering US–Vietnam relations?

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With China’s oil rig back in the South China Sea, what’s Vietnam’s play?

Chinese Haiyang Shiyou oil rig 981, 320 kilometers southeast of Hong Kong in the South China Sea, 7 May, 2012. On July 16, 2014, China moved an oil rig that it had deployed in a section of the South China Sea, triggering a dispute with Vietnam. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Chau Bao Nguyen, University of East Anglia

The redeployment of a Chinese oil rig in the South China Sea (SCS) shows an inconsistency in the rhetoric and practice of China’s policy in the disputed waters. Together with its mass land reclamation activities, these actions are part and parcel of coercive diplomacy. It affirms China’s territorial ambition in the highly strategic sea. But is it likely to escalate into regional conflict? Read more…

Minorities forgotten as Vietnam–US ties improve

People protest for human rights and democracy in Vietnam outside the White House during the visit of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong of Vietnam, in Washington DC, USA, 7 July 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Helen Clark, Deakin University

Twenty years after the post–war normalisation of Vietnam–US ties, the two nations are increasingly close. This process has sped up with China’s moves in the South China Sea since 2014, although a number of issues still hold the relationship back:  Vietnam wants the embargo on weapons sales gone and the United States wants to see an improvement in human rights.  Read more…

Vietnam and rapprochement with the United States

US President Barack Obama and Vietnamese General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong shake hands during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, 7 July 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Peter Drysdale, East Asia Forum

The visit, the week before last, of the general secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party, Nguyen Phu Trong to Washington at the invitation of President Obama marked another important step on the long journey towards rapprochement between Vietnam and the United States. The visit marked the twentieth anniversary of the ‘normalisation’ of diplomatic relations and the removal of some of the embargoes after the end of the Indo-Chinese war nearly twenty years earlier. Read more…

On human rights, US and Vietnam still talking past each other

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong, left, speaks during a luncheon gathering hosted by Vice President Joe Biden at the Department of State in Washington, 7 July 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: David Brown, California

Human rights — chiefly political and religious freedoms — have been on the American agenda since Washington and Hanoi resumed direct dialogue about a quarter of a century ago. Though bilateral ties have grown vastly broader, US prodding on civil liberties still piques Vietnam’s one-party regime. Read more…

Vietnam and US deepen ties 20 years after normalisation

US President Barack Obama and Vietnamese General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong meet in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, July 7, 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Murray Hiebert, CSIS, Washington

The 7 July visit to the White House by Vietnam’s Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong signaled just how far the United States and Vietnam have come in the past two decades in moving beyond their ‘difficult history’, as President Barack Obama put it after their meeting. The leaders discussed how they would advance ties between the two countries in areas ranging from economic and political relations to security and education cooperation. Read more…

Strong export growth in Vietnam masks underlying challenges

Vietnam's export boom may be overshadowing some structural problems. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Suiwah Leung, ANU

Unlike many countries in Asia, and indeed in the world, Vietnam is for the moment blessed with a raft of positive economic news. But beneath the surface, structural problems and a lack of industrial deepening persist.  Read more…