Will Vietnam’s communist princelings deliver?

Vietnamese and Chinese communist youths wave flags to welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping and Vietnamese Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong at a meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam, Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Hai Hong Nguyen, University of Queensland

The Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) is preparing a new slate of leaders to replace the old guard who are retiring at the 12th National Congress in 2016. Public attention has been drawn to the rise of young ‘princelings’ — the children of current or former leaders in communist authoritarian regimes like Vietnam and China — to local executive positions and bodies. Read more…

Bloggers keep the windows open in Vietnam’s constitutional debates

A young woman uses social networking site Facebook on her phone in a cafe in Hanoi, Vietnam on 2 September 2013. Political commentary on social media is slowing influencing the thinking of the Vietnamese Communist Party. (Photo: AAP).

Author: John Gillespie, Monash University

Under President Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party is using the Seven Prohibitions to shut down discussion about liberal constitutional reform. In comparison, constitutional deliberations in Vietnam appear open, vibrant and far-reaching — prompting some commentators to speculate on whether Vietnam is a model for post-socialist institutional reform. Read more…

Vietnam’s latest minimum wage rise business as usual

Vietnamese workers sew trousers and shirts destined for the U.S. market at the state-owned Thang Long garment factory in Hanoi (Photo: AAP).

Author: Tu Phuong Nguyen, ANU

In September 2015, the National Wage Council (NWC) of Vietnam proposed an increase of 12.4 per cent to the minimum wage in 2016. The key parties — representatives of business in the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the state-sanctioned national union of workers, the Vietnam General Confederation of Labour (VGCL) — finally reached a consensus after two stalled meetings. Read more…

How Cambodian nationalism is driving border disputes with Vietnam

Cambodian senator Hong Sok Hour (C), who belongs to a CNRP-affliated party, is escorted by police at Phnom Penh municipal court on October 7, 2015, in a case in which he could be jailed for 17 years after a court charged him on August 16 over the posting of a disputed document on social media about the border with Vietnam. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Vannarith Chheang, Cambodian Institute for Strategic Studies (CISS)

To strengthen national unity and identity, Cambodian leaders have for generations tried to construct, or reconstruct, nationalist ideology around Cambodia’s enduring border disputes. The border disputes have become the main topic in Cambodian domestic politics and foreign policy since Cambodia gained independence from France in 1953. The disputes are the result of the unclear frontier demarcation by the colonial administration, and have led to armed conflicts between Cambodia and its neighbours.

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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…