The Rising Tide of Change in Vietnam

The Rising Tide of Change in VietnamUS Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski did not mince words when he urged Vietnam to improve on human rights at the end of his five-day tour of the country late last week. It may or may not have been a warning to the communist government, but the implication was clear: US–Vietnam relations will likely…

US-Viet Weapons Deal: No Room for Human Rights

US-Viet Weapons Deal: No Room for Human RightsVietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh can return to Hanoi content, if not delighted. His meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington, D.C., concluded late last week with the announcement that the United States would ease its arms embargo on Vietnam. Specifically, the State Department referred to the sale of maritime defense equipment…

US and Vietnam to Discuss Curbing China’s Sea Claims

US and Vietnam to Discuss Curbing China’s Sea ClaimsWhen Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and US Secretary of State John Kerry meet in early October, China's aggressive behavior in the waters of Southeast Asia will top their agenda. In the months leading up to the meeting, Washington’s foreign policy elite have been debating whether it is in America’s interest to get involved…

The US, Vietnam and Shifting Alliances in Asia

The US, Vietnam and Shifting Alliances in AsiaThe budding alliance between Russia and China may be redrawing old battles. The Soviet Union has long since collapsed, China has jettisoned much of its communist ideology, and the Soviet–Sino split has been relegated to another chapter of the Cold War. Certainly the frequency of Russia–China summit meetings suggests that these two countries have grown…

Vietnam Quickly Shutters ‘Land Reform’ Exhibit

Vietnam Quickly Shutters ‘Land Reform’ ExhibitIn Hanoi this week, a short-lived exhibition at Vietnam's National History Museum, Land Reform 1946-57, triggered a national moment to relive a long-ago trauma. On September 5, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports website posted an announcement saying that the History Museum would hold an exhibit from September 8 until December assembled from the…

Will the US Arm Vietnam?

Will the US Arm Vietnam?In a recent bipartisan press conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, Republican US Sen. John McCain, joined by Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat, expressed it best when he remarked how a partnership built on shared values is “the closest, strongest, and most enduring friendship two nations can have.” In the same press conference, McCain announced the possibility of…

Standing Up to China on the South China Sea

Standing Up to China on the South China SeaLast weekend’s Association of Southeast Asian States meeting in Naypyidaw in Myanmar has shown once again the impotence of the 47-year-old organization when it comes to defending the interests of concerned members over China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea. It will always be thus because the interests of mainland states, particularly small and…

US-Vietnam: Weapons for Reform

US-Vietnam: Weapons for ReformMomentum is growing in Washington, D.C., to remove the lethal weapons ban on Vietnam, a move that would undoubtedly agitate China. It is a gambit that would impel Beijing to view the United States in much the same way the US viewed the Soviet Union’s military assistance to Cuba during the Cold War. However, it…

Is China Only Playing Catch-Up in the South China Sea

Is China Only Playing Catch-Up in the South China SeaRobert Wade and Dic Lo, in a letter published by the Financial Times recently argued that China’s actions in the South China Sea and the Pacific have merely been attempts to catch up and respond to those activities occurring outside its borders. In their letter, academics Wade and Lo said China has controlled most of…

Another China Drillship Moves South

Another China Drillship Moves SouthChina's former Foreign Minister was in Hanoi on June 18, the first high level talks since Beijing deployed the deepsea rig Haiyang Shihua 981 (HY 981) in early May to explore for oil and gas in a promising patch in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone. Almost surely not a coincidence, news services reported the same day…