Published daily by the Lowy Institute

Helen Clark

Helen Clark was based in Hanoi as a correspondent for over six years. She has written for Time, The Economist, the Australian Associated Press, Fairfax, The Diplomat and The Asia Times Online among others. She is now the editor of Energy News Bulletin, based in Perth. She still writes on Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

Articles by Helen Clark (20)

  • Vietnam: Where environmental concerns are a mobilising force

    Courts in Vietnam’s Ha Tinh province have rejected 506 legal actions lodged by fishermen and others, including salt producers, who tried to sue Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa for polluting the sea and impacting their livelihoods, as environmental concerns steadily increase across the country. In April, 100 tonnes of fish washed up dead on the beaches of four provinces, including Ha Tinh where Formosa’s US$10.6 billion steel plant is located.
  • Why Vietnam has India in its sights

    Narendra Modi is easily one of the India's most travelled prime ministers. His trip to the US in June, where he addressed Congress in English, was beneficial and ended with the declaration that India was now a 'major defense partner' of the US however more recently Modi stopped off in Vietnam on the way to the G20.
  • Laos: The US push to clean up the bombs it left behind

    In news that may help Laos successfully compete for the world's attention in a week cram full of colourful leaders' meetings, the US has announced it will spend another $90 million to help clean up unexploded ordnance (UXO), a legacy of the two million tonnes of bombs the US dropped between 1964 and 1973 on this small, landlocked nation. President Barack Obama made the announcement on Tuesday during his first visit to Laos, host of this week's ASEAN summit, and which remains the most bombed cou
  • Laos: Struggling to get out of China's shadow

    Laos probably hoped for more from last week's ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting. US Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Lao Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith (Photo: US Dept of State) In the lead up to the event held in the Laos capital of Vientiane, many wondered if the South China Sea dispute would wreak the same havoc as it did at the Cambodia meeting four years ago, when a failure to agree meant hat, for the first time in 45 years, no joint communique was issued. This time around, a j
  • Obama in Vietnam: Street food soft power trumps choosing fish

    President Barack Obama’s visit to Vietnam (the first by a US president in nearly 10 years) came at a time of unusual political turmoil. In mid-May I wrote on how the large 'fish kill drama' was the first test for the new government in Vietnam, and that until both the immediate problems were properly addressed and the deeper underlying public worries of food security and management of foreign investment taken into account, people would continue to 'choose fish’ over economic development.  Howeve
  • As fishing protests turn violent, Vietnam's new government faces its first test

    Almost every worry in modern-day Vietnam is represented in the fish kill saga. The test for the government is not just in how to respond to protests over pollution, but how to manage many of the deeper problems these protests reflect. Cracking heads at demonstrations has little long term viability. Even in a one-party nation, unexpected political landmines can wrongfoot a government, as the ca chet (dead fish) protests in Vietnam show.
  • Vietnam jails bloggers: Latest chapter in a sorry (and failed) saga of internet censorship

    Two bloggers went on trial in Vietnam last week, charged under Section 258 of the criminal code which relates to abusing democratic freedoms. Section 258 is one of the three, somewhat elastic, sections commonly used in these cases. They were soon sentenced, to five and three years out of a possible seven-year maximum by the Hanoi People’s Court. The United Nations, Human Rights Watch, The Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders all quickly issued condemnatory statements.
  • Vietnam's National Congress: With Dung out, will reform slow?

    Vietnam has just finished its 12th National Congress, the five-yearly event that decides the direction of the country. It is largely conducted behind closed doors, with the local press carrying little more than official statements or excitable-yet-boilerplate copy (see here for some communist elan). Outgoing Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.