Category: Opinions

China turns the screw

Vietnam is struggling to revive its China policy following a series of snubs and threats that have left it looking isolated and vulnerable. China’s last-minute cancellation of a meeting between the two foreign ministers – on the sidelines of the…

Battle against motorbikes doomed to failure ?

Vietnam’s Communist party is stepping up an undeclared war on the motorcycle – with Ho Chi Minh City the latest conurbation to plan radical curbs on its swarming scooter traffic. The authorities in Hanoi were first to take the offensive…

Vietnam stands up to China in disputed waters

Vietnam is increasingly seizing the initiative in the South China Sea in a calculated challenge to China’s dominant position. In recent days Vietnam openly defied China by drilling for oil in contested waters near the Spratly Islands. It has also…

Vietnam defiant despite international outrage

The imposition of a ten-year prison sentence on one of Vietnam’s most acclaimed bloggers signals a growing mood of defiance in the Communist party leadership. The harshness of the prison sentence announced on Thursday for Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, who…

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…