Category: Opinions

The two faces of China on display as fleet enters SCS

The Chinese foreign minister was all smiles and compliments in Hanoi this week, while a powerful Chinese naval fleet entered the South China Sea in an unprecedented show of force. Beijing’s combined strategy of cooperation and military muscle was on…

Vietnam loses nerve over another oil project

Vietnam is reported to have halted another major oil project because of Chinese pressure, despite Hanoi’s recent efforts to bolster its strategic position in the South China Sea. The Spanish firm, Repsol, was ordered to suspend imminent plans to move…

China vigilant but unworried by carrier visit

There was a time when China would have been alarmed at the sight of a US aircraft carrier docking in a Vietnamese port. The Communists, after all, had triumphed in Vietnam, and for many years the return of the US…

US carrier in Danang – but will it deter China ?

For the first time since the Vietnam War a US aircraft carrier is visiting Vietnam, a physical manifestation of new strategic realities buffeting the region. The arrival of the USS Carl Vinson in Danang is heavy with symbolism, and it…

Is Vietnam becoming less corrupt ?

According to the latest index published by Transparency International, Vietnam is more corrupt than 106 other countries – at first sight hardly a cause for celebration. And yet, the annual survey has picked up a slow but steady improvement by…

China consolidates grip

China’s military build-up in the South China Sea means it will soon be able to challenge the United States at all levels, according to the US military. The latest warning highlights the extraordinary scale of China’s construction of military bases…

Drive to break the spirit of environmental campaigners

The Vietnamese authorities have moved the blogger, Mother Mushroom, to a new prison hundreds of kilometres from her home. Her mother arrived at the jail near her home in Nha Trang to give gifts and supplies for the Tet holiday,…

Official thuggery exposed as Buddhists jailed

The jailing last week of six Buddhists on public disorder charges has highlighted the underhand tactics and thuggery used by the authorities to harass independent religious groups, according to human rights campaigners. Four family members and two others received prison…

No escape: runaway agent returned to Hanoi

A fugitive Vietnamese property developer and intelligence agent has been arrested in Hanoi following a desperate bid for freedom that ended with his arrest in Singapore. Officials in Singapore said that Phan Van Anh Vu had been deported for using…

Army joins battle for internet

An announcement that the Vietnamese military is joining an offensive against the free use of social media marks a significant escalation in the Communist party’s drive to reassert control. The army said it was deploying a 10,000 strong cyber warfare…