Australia and Vietnam officially became strategic partners in 2018, promising to expand cooperation across multiple domains. Yet economic ties have grown slowly from a relatively low starting point, while defence relations are mostly restricted to training and high-level dialogues. Education and
When the 2019 Hanoi summit ended in failure, then–US President Donald Trump generously offered his counterpart, North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un, a ride home on Air Force One. Little did Trump know that unlike him, Kim was in Hanoi not only for the summit. He was also there to revive Vietnam–
On 9 September, the US embassy in Hanoi published on Facebook a map of Vietnam on a poster to commemorate the 25th anniversary of US-Vietnam diplomatic relations. At first the map did not attract much attention, given both countries had celebrated the occasion on 11 July, the official date of the
The latest reports from the Lower Mekong Basin are cause for growing concern that another period of drought will succeed that of 2019, affecting Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Expected rainfall from late May through June and July has not arrived, and the level of water flowing in the river is
After almost seven months, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to challenge the world, but some places seem to have managed surprisingly well. Thailand has not reported any local transmission for over 60 days. The countries of the Mekong region have reported so few cases that many people are asking
The Covid-19 pandemic is affecting democracies in the Asia-Pacific region in ways that demand Australian attention.
The ability to weather a crisis of this magnitude depends upon partnerships and collaboration – economic, social and political – with key countries in the region. These
Today the mere mention of multilateralism leaves many jeering that the heyday of international cooperation has past. Isolationist politics appear preferred. Yet Vietnam’s recent activism in multilateral forums appears to demonstrate that Hanoi does not believe that cooperation is a faded luxury.
If you want to see real Olympic-level panic-buying, head to a Vietnamese supermarket a week before Tet, or Lunar New Year.
Yet when the coronavirus broke out in China, Vietnam, with which it shares a border, there was only an hour or two of panic-buying before things settled down to
Around midnight on 2 April, a Vietnamese fishing vessel sank in the disputed waters in the South China Sea after allegedly being rammed by the Chinese coastguard. Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded swiftly, stating that the act had violated its country’s sovereignty. A similar
As Covid-19 continues its relentless spread to almost every country, Vietnam and North Korea stand out in Asia for reporting low numbers of infections and zero deaths, despite neither country possessing the resources of many of their neighbours.
So far, Vietnam has reported roughly 250 infections
Just over a year ago, I reported on the uncertain future of the Khon Pi rapids, located near the Thai town of Chiang Khong and lying in the riverbed between Thailand and Laos. At issue was the desire of a Chinese company to blast the rapids and thus open the course of the Mekong for commercial
Analysis as to how Hanoi might resolve its South China Sea disputes with other claimants has been overshadowed by a near exclusive depiction of its competition with Beijing. Hanoi’s current maritime disputes with Beijing have presented few opportunities for strategic progress. Comparatively, the
Since the announcement in July last year that the Lao government was notifying the Mekong River Commission (MRC) of its intention to proceed with the construction of a dam due to be completed by 2027, not far from the old royal capital of Luang Prabang, there has been a steady increase in the
Last year, China and Vietnam unveiled plans to refurbish a colonial-era railway between the two countries. It was an attempt to update a historical legacy – and also signified new bilateral dynamics in a consequential and sometimes fraught regional relationship.
Announced on 25 November, the
Visitors to Vietnam’s premier police training institution are greeted by a statue of the country’s first president Hồ Chí Minh with his right hand raised and the index finger gently pointing as if to convey an important lesson to the audience.
Vietnam has a reputation for valuing education
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s raising of the ASEAN gavel last month signalled not only Vietnam’s commencement as chair of the regional grouping, but also the start of a critically definitive period for its foreign policy in the South China Sea.
2020 is set to be a busy year for
Paying the piper
Last Thursday as Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne was talking up the role of values in foreign policy to a business audience in Canberra, Indonesia was promoting its tourism investment opportunities to a different business gathering in Sydney.
It will probably never be
Even as tensions between the United States and North Korea remain high – North Korea’s First Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui recently berated the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for describing Pyongyang’s behaviour as “rogue” – the North Korean charm offensive is still in full
Tensions have risen once again in the South China Sea. For weeks, Chinese and Vietnamese coastguard vessels have been involved in a confrontation after the Chinese survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 (HD8) entered waters near the Vietnam-controlled Vanguard Bank on 3 July. The incident has upset both Hanoi
Even a few hours in Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by the locals, will give you a feel for how much the Vietnamese economy is booming. The international airport completed in 2007 can handle 17 million passengers a year, the city’s first metropolitan train line is under construction, and
US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are set to begin two days of talks in Hanoi, Vietnam, in what will be their second meeting within eight months. While it might not draw as much attention as the earlier landmark event in Singapore, the Hanoi summit is expected to produce
The news is in. US President Donald Trump will meet North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un for the second time on February 27-28. Instead of Singapore, this time Vietnam will play host.
Although there are many concerns regarding the prospect of success for the second summit and North Korea’s
During US Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ two-day visit to Vietnam last week, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) quietly released the high-profile dissident blogger known as ‘Mẹ Nấm,’ or Mother Mushroom, on the condition of her exile to the United States. While Mattis’ trip and the
A hand-crafted map on the wall of the Vietnam Academy of Agriculture Sciences (VAAS) neatly captures the country’s strategic vulnerabilities as it emerges as a dynamic new regional player. The map is fashioned out of grains of rice to demonstrate Vietnam’s agricultural production prowess, but it
The death of Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang was unexpected by the general public: he was due to address the UN General Assembly this week, and Vietnam’s one-party system has a long tradition of keeping a veil of secrecy around the health status of its top leaders.
But Quang’s passing
This article was co-authored with a Vietnamese journalist, Cecelia Nguyen. She is a freelance journalist in Vietnam working across a range of media. Her works focus on social injustice, culture, gender issues, youth and education. She has worked with a range of international news
June 2018 may go down as a new record for mass protests in Vietnam. Thousands of people across the three main regions of the country took to the streets, mostly in a peaceful manner, to protest against two controversial bills tabled at the National Assembly: the now-delayed special
In 2018, Vietnam and Australia marked the 45th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic relations by upgrading their ties to a strategic partnership.
On this occasion, however, it is hard not to reflect on the disparity between the Vietnamese diaspora and homeland. Almost 45 years after the
Since General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong emerged in firm control atop Vietnam’s political leadership in early 2016, Hanoi has gone on the offensive in a massive effort to clamp down on internal political dissent of all stripes, arresting bloggers and purging corrupt state officials.
On 5 March the USS Carl Vinson made a port call to Danang, in central Vietnam. It was the first time since the War (the Vietnam War to Americans, and the American War to Vietnamese) that a US aircraft carrier anchored in Vietnamese waters – by invitation this time – for an official visit.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu visited Myanmar recently in a clear display of Moscow’s pragmatism.
Many Western observers, especially from the US, present Vladimir Putin as either a Machiavellian mixer with almost superhuman abilities – he who put Donald Trump in the White House and
On Monday, Vietnam’s former transport minister Dinh La Thang was sentenced to 13 years in prison. Another prominent figure, Trinh Xuan Thanh, received a life sentence for “deliberate violation of state regulations on economic management”. It is first time in Vietnam’s recent political
Foreign investors and world trade institutions have long wished one thing for Vietnam: reform of its inefficient and corrupt state-owned enterprise sector. Competency, transparency and a measure of real competition would aid the nation’s economy and its business and trade relations tremendously.
Vietnam's recent request to India to play a more prominent role in Southeast Asia and the South China Sea did not come as a total surprise. It's not the first time Vietnam has asked a nation with no direct interest in the area for backing – it made a similar call to South Korea a few months ago.
It was trade, not China's manoeuvring in the South China Sea, that was top of the agenda when Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc met US President Donald Trump on Wednesday in the first visit by an ASEAN leader to Washington under the new administration. It was a slightly surreal affair with
Australia's Vietnamese diaspora is a remarkable element in the fast-evolving relationship between the two countries. Hanoi and Canberra are both doing what they can to help Australian Vietnamese to forge and strengthen links that can pay enormous dividends in trade and tourism.
This latest chapter
Those who have written off last July’s Hague Arbitral Tribunal ruling in the South China Sea as a dead letter should keep an eye on Scarborough Shoal.
Late last week, reports surfaced on Twitter, showing the AIS signals from a flotilla of Vietnamese trawlers close to the shoal. Significantly,
Vietnam is to hold a national day of mourning for Fidel Castro this Sunday, 4 December. Even now the old comrade commands respect in Vietnam.
The country has been cultivating a varied network of foreign relationships in recent years, lately strengthening its ties with India and dismantling
Vietnam was thought to be a big winner from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). As such, US President-elect Donald Trump's promise to withdraw from the deal is obviously bad news. Though it wasn’t unexpected, Vietnam has several reasons for disappointment:
It might be a signal of a slowdown in
A few days after Donald Trump's stunning election victory, a potentially bigger story broke for the millions who depend on the Mekong river for their food and livelihood: Laos informed the Mekong River Commission that it intends to proceed with a new hydro dam in the Pak Beng district, its
It is early days, granted, but the Philippines' crude and crass new president Rodrigo Duterte appears increasingly intent on reversing his predecessor's plucky South China Sea policy and pro-Alliance leanings, opting instead for a tilt towards China.
The Philippines' proclivity to flip-flop in its