China-Vietnam ties remain more sour than sweet

Despite official attempts to paper over their differences, the historically fractious ties between Beijing and Hanoi have recently taken a turn for the worse over a flock of geographically insignificant but strategically important dots in the South China Sea that are claimed by every country that abuts them. The disputed islands, known to the west…

Vietnam Cracks Down on the Catholics

Vietnam’s communist authorities have upped the ante in a continuing dispute with the Catholic Church. Now, they’re calling for the removal of Archbishop Joseph Ngo Quang Kiet of Hanoi. According to the state-run Vietnam News Agency, Nguyen The Thao, chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee, told foreign diplomats Oct. 15 that “a number of priests,…

Vietnam: Behind the Journalists’ Jailings

The conviction of two senior journalists in Hanoi last week had more to do with tussles within the leadership of the ruling Vietnam Communist Party than anything else. The much-derided show trial of the journalists and two anti-corruption investigators indicates the intensity of the conflict between the party's conservatives and reformists.   The loser appears to…

Hanoi Pain

Divisions within Vietnam's ruling Communist Party have widened in the wake of the nation's continued economic downturn, threatening the nation's long term political stability. The party's key Central Committee last week held an emergency meeting in an attempt to bolster the fight against rampaging inflation, continued labour unrest and a widening trade deficit. It is no secret…

Economic Waves Imperil Vietnam’s Leaders

A year ago, in August 2007, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung confidently addressed a gathering of regional businessmen at an Asean 100 Leadership Forum at the Melia Hotel in downtown Hanoi. He gave a typically punchy speech about how Vietnam valued its membership in Asean, how it was increasingly integrating with the global economy…

Economic Woes Imperil Vietnam’s Leaders

  A year ago, in August 2007, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung confidently addressed a gathering of regional businessmen at an Asean 100 Leadership Forum at the Melia Hotel in downtown Hanoi. He gave a typically punchy speech about how Vietnam valued its membership in Asean, how it was increasingly integrating with the global…

Two Crusading Journalists Arrested in Vietnam

In a move that has rocked Vietnam’s media, authorities on Monday arrested two journalists who reported aggressively on the country’s biggest corruption scandal in years. The police major general who led the corruption investigation has also been charged with distributing false information to the media. The Public Security Ministry said that the two journalists and…

Death in Saigon’s Cholon District

It was the telltale drifting smoke that Sunday morning in the sky over Cholon, Saigon's teeming Chinese sector, that first alerted correspondents to the possibility that the second shoe was about to drop in what had become a decisive turning point of the Vietnam War.     The first wave of the Tet (or Lunar New Year) offensive…

Vietnam’s Easy Riders

Photos by Andrew James Armed with cigarettes, bad jokes, and a nifty Honda motorbike, Endy, 42, lives a life on the road with strangers. For the past six years, he has been an ‘Easy Rider’ — one of a group of self-styled tour guides that ferry tourists through the war-ravaged, coffee-drenched and starkly beautiful Central…

Two Steps Forward for Vietnam, Two Steps Back

Michael Michalak, the new US ambassador to Vietnam, has arrived with a pledge to push for improved human rights and enhanced economic relations. Michalak, a 32-year Foreign Service veteran, takes over from Ambassador Michael Marine amid tensions over the treatment of political dissenters. During his three years in Hanoi, Marine saw growing bilateral trade relations…