Category: Opinions

China vexed by Vietnamese diplomacy

Vietnam’s drive for international support in the South China Sea is showing signs of riling the Chinese leadership, which is set on asserting Beijing’s dominance. Recent visits by the Vietnamese Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, to Washington and Tokyo have…

Trade and defence likely to trump rights and freedoms

Members of the US Congress have called on President Trump to stress human rights abuses in Vietnam when he meets the visiting prime minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, in Washington next week. “It is bad and getting worse by the day,”…

Authorities target priests on central coast

Tension is growing between the government and Catholic priests on the north-central coast as protests continue against the handling of last year’s devastating toxic leak. State media have accused two priests of inciting disorder. Officials are also thought to have…

ASEAN failure undermines Vietnam

Vietnam has suffered another setback in its South China Sea policy with the failure of ASEAN leaders meeting to Manila to stand up to China’s expansion in the region. Vietnam’s aims have already been frustrated by the apparent incoherence of…

Government shows restraint over farmers’ revolt

For nearly a week villagers rose up and openly defied government authority, in a district just 40 kilometres from the capital, Hanoi. The confrontation, over a long simmering land dispute, came to a peaceful end on Saturday, with the residents…

One year after Formosa – protests unsettle government

A year after tonnes of dead fish began washing up on the beaches of central Vietnam, the government is still reeling from the impact of one of the country’s worst national disasters. Almost weekly protests by affected communities in four…

Tillerson offers little comfort for Vietnam

China’s apparent delight at the visit of the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, at the weekend will not have been matched by a similar sentiment in Hanoi. The decision by the US official not to challenge China publicly over…

Vietnam anxious for Trump reassurance

Vietnam has demanded that China put a stop to cruise ship tours of disputed islands in the South China Sea. The appeal came amid signs of growing anxiety in Hanoi about ties with the United States and the degree of…

Japanese emperor in Vietnam

The visit by the Japanese emperor to Vietnam gives a timely boost for the leadership in Hanoi, at a time when its much vaunted multilateral diplomacy has suffered a series of hard knocks. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko are to…

Unprovoked assault by police

The police assault on an environmental march on February 14 has highlighted the communist authorities’ sensitivity to what they see as organised protest movements. Heavy handed tactics were used to break up the march by some five hundred Catholic parishioners…