Posts Tagged ‘Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang’

Trump and Vietnam’s president underscore free and open access to South China Sea

November 12, 2017


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Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang and U.S. President Donald Trump review troops before their bilateral meeting at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam November 12, 2017. REUTERS – Jonathan Ernst

(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang underscored the importance of free and open access to South China Sea, in a joint statement issued on Sunday.

The two leaders called for the “full and effective implementation” of the declaration on the conduct of parties in the South China Sea, and for all claimants to clarify their maritime claims.

Trump and Vietnam’s Quang said parties should halt escalatory action and militarisation of disputed features.

Reporting by Mi Nguyen, editing by Larry King


Vietnam Hopes for Cooperation with Trump’s Letter

April 16, 2017

Voice of America

April 14, 2017
FILE - In this Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump signs an executive order to withdraw the U.S. from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership

FILE – In this Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump signs an executive order to withdraw the U.S. from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership

The Vietnamese president mentioned Trump’s letter during a meeting with Ted Osius, the U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam. But there has been no U.S. comment on the matter.

Experts on U.S.-Vietnam relations say Vietnam officials were worried that, under Trump, the U.S. would reduce support for the Southeast Asian nation. The letter eased Vietnam’s concerns. But they do not expect any immediate action.

Vietnam was expected to be one of the countries to benefit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But Trump pulled the U.S. out of the trade agreement after he took office in January.

Last year, Vietnam’s exports to the U.S. were worth over $38 billion, but it only received $8.7 billion of imports. It would take many years if Trump wants to negotiate a deal that would balance trade between the U.S. and Vietnam.

Adam McCarty is an economist in Hanoi. He said in spite of the letter, Trump might view Vietnam as a country that takes jobs away from the United States. That may affect how his administration deals with Vietnam.

Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang at the Presidential Palace.

Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang at the Presidential Palace.

Some experts on Southeast Asia say the relationship between the U.S. and Vietnam could become about more than jobs and trade. That would happen if the U.S. asks for Vietnam’s help in dealing with China.

Carl Thayer is a retired professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia. He said even if Vietnam pursues a good relationship with the U.S., the efforts could come undone if Trump mostly deals with China instead of countries in Southeast Asia.

The U.S., under both Barack Obama and Donald Trump, has expressed interest in limiting China’s expansion in the South China Sea. It is not clear whether Vietnam is part of the U.S. plan.

Kevin Snowball is the chief executive of PXP Vietnam Asset Management in Ho Chi Minh City. He said Vietnam will not want to offend China, its largest trading partner, by making deals with the U.S.

At the moment, worry about the U.S., Trump or China does not seem to be affecting Vietnam’s trade.

“We’re still doing extremely well with or without TPP, with or without Trump,” Snowball said.

I’m Dan Friedell.

Ralph Jennings wrote this story for Dan Friedell adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Do you think the relationship between the U.S. and Vietnam will be better or worse in the coming years? We want to know. Write to us in the Comments Section or on our Facebook page.



China, Vietnam mourn loss of ‘comrade’ Castro

November 27, 2016


HANOI: Communist heavyweights China and Vietnam were swift to lament the death of Fidel Castro on Saturday (Nov 26), with Hanoi’s state media leading tributes to the loss of a “great friend and comrade”.

Under the stewardship of Castro, the cigar-chomping socialist figurehead who died Saturday aged 90, Cuba showed solidarity with communist Vietnam in its war against US invaders.

State-controlled media in the Southeast Asian nation was awash with tributes to Castro, who led his country from 1959 to 2008 when he handed over power to his younger brother Raul.

Mourning Castro’s death the Vietnam News Agency said: “for all Vietnamese, Fidel was a great friend, a comrade and a very close brother”.

It added that he had been “a pure symbol of true internationalism in the fight for independence of nations.”

Castro, a thorn in America’s side, first visited Vietnam in 1973 as a sign of communist kinship two years before the north drove out the US army.

As a sign of those enduring ties, Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang was among the last heads of state to visit the firebrand Cuban revolutionary, meeting Castro on Nov 16.

The adoration extends to the Vietnamese public.

Pham Tran Van, an army colonel during the Vietnam war, told AFP of his admiration for

“Fidel Castro was like our President Ho Chi Minh. He was the symbol of the endless strggle for …. freedom,” the 78-year-old added.


Chinese President Xi Jinping said: “The Chinese people have lost a good and true comrade,” in a message read at the beginning of the nightly news on China’s main TV channel. “Comrade Castro will live forever.”

Castro was “a great man of our time,” said the president. “History and people will remember him,” he added.

Xi said relations between the two communist nations grew quickly thanks to Castro’s efforts after diplomatic ties were established in 1960.

In a documentary aired shortly after Castro’s death was announced, China Central Television (CCTV) said that Fidel Castro admired Mao Zedong and “regretted not being able to get to know him.”

Even though the two countries shared an ideology, they remained distant due to Cuba’s closeness to the Soviet Union, China’s rival from the 1960s, until Mao’s death in 1976.

There was a rapprochement after the fall of the Soviet Union, with Chinese leaders visiting Cuba several times.

President Xi “visited his old friend Fidel Castro” in July 2014, CCTV said.

Castro visited China for the first time in 1995.

China ‘may need a rethink’ as Vietnam moves closer to US

May 30, 2016

By Teddy Ng
South China Morning Post
May 29, 2016

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang after an arrival ceremony at the presidential palace in Hanoi, Vietnam May 23, 2016.

The stepped-up military ties ­between Vietnam and the United States is a worrying sign to Beijing, even though Hanoi is unlikely to acquire advanced American weapons, analysts say.

Some added that Beijing had not anticipated Vietnam would strike such a partnership with Washington, and called on Beijing to adjust its posturing in the South China Sea.

Last week, US President Ba­rack Obama lifted a decades-long embargo on lethal arms sales to Hanoi, saying the change would ensure that Vietnam had access to necessary equipment for defence.

“What worries Beijing is the prospect of an increasingly close strategic partnership between the US and Vietnam. The lifting of the arms embargo is a poignant symbol of this – and a sign of just how far US-Vietnam ties have come in recent years,” Ashley Townshend, a research fellow at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, said.

What worries Beijing is the prospect of an increasingly close strategic partnership between the US and Vietnam

Townshend said Vietnam was unlikely to become a US ally, but Beijing was worried about where the deepening defence ties ­between the two countries – and between other partners and Washington – might lead.

China and Vietnam have ­promoted political and economic connections in recent years, with bilateral trade topping US$60 billion, but ties have soured recently over South China Sea territorial disputes.

Phuong Nguyen, an associate fellow with the Southeast Asia Programme at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said Vietnam was unlikely to turn away from Beijing.

But China would scrutinise how US-Vietnam defence ties ­developed, and might need to think twice when handling the disputes, she said.

My understanding is that Beijing believed Vietnam would never go the extra mile to the United States because of political and human rights differences

“My understanding is that Beijing believed Vietnam would never go the extra mile to the United States because of political and human rights differences,” Nguyen said.

But Hanoi realised it had to ­improve ties with Washington in light of the crisis triggered in 2014 by the deployment of a Chinese oil rig in the disputed waters, which led to massive anti-China protests in Vietnam.

In the summer of 2014, China placed one of the world’s largest relocatable oil exploration drilling rig near Vietnam. Over 100 Chinese ships were in support of the Chinese drill and some rammed Vietnamese fishing and coast guard vessels. Vietnamese people rioted and burned several Chinese businesses in Vietnam. Here a Chinese coastguard vessel (right) passes near the Chinese oil rig in the South China Sea, July 2014. Photograph: Nguyen Minh/Reuters

Amid the crisis, Hanoi found that its communication mechanisms with Beijing failed to de-escalate tension.

“Hanoi realises that it cannot tap into any of these mechanisms it has invested so much into building with Beijing,” Nguyen said.

Zhang Mingliang, an expert in Southeast Asian affairs at Jinan University, said concerns over China’s military presence and construction activities on its artificial islands in the South China Sea had pushed Vietnam towards the US, and it was time for Beijing to reassess its approach with its neighbours.

Townshend said Beijing had few options for dealing with Vietnam’s pursuit of closer ties with the US, other than using the prospect of lucrative trade and investment deals as a form of leverage.

But unless Beijing reined in its conduct in the South China Sea, it was unlikely to alter the region’s efforts to side with America to balance China’s influence, he said.


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Vietnam’s PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc arrives in Japan’s Nagoya City on May 26, 2016. Photo by Anh Vu for Thanh Nien

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc was in Russian during the week of May 16, 2016. Photo by Ngoc Thang, Thanh Nien

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi. REUTERS/OLIVIA HARRIS

Hillary Clinton talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Ji on September 5, 2012


Vietnam not joining arms race in South China Sea, says new PM

In a rare interview with foreign media, Vietnam’s new Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc plays down military ambitions as it continues a diplomatic balancing act with China and the US.

HANOI: Vietnam’s new Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has said the country has no intention to join a military race in the South China Sea, and will pursue peaceful means to protect its territory – without threatening others with force.

The newly-elected Vietnamese leader spoke to foreign media in a rare interview on Wednesday (May 25), two days after US President Barack Obama announced a full lifting of the US’ longstanding embargo on arms sales to Vietnam.

“Vietnam has no policy of militarisation, but we have necessary measures together with other countries, and international friends like Japan to maintain peace, freedom of navigation, over-flight and trade in the South China Sea,” Mr Phuc said in Vietnamese.

“I repeat, no conflict – to ensure peace for our people,” he stressed.


Mr Obama’s announcement on Monday to end a blanket ban on lethal arms sales to its former war adversary comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking to upgrade its outdated military and maritime equipment.

Vietnam was the world’s eighth-largest arms importer between 2011 and 2015, growing 699 per cent in the five-year period, according to a study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

The spike in defence spending coincided with the escalation of Vietnam’s maritime dispute with its biggest trade partner and neighbour China. Bilateral ties soured in 2014 during an oilrig spat that triggered anti-China riots across several Vietnamese provinces.

“It’s true that the recent situation in the South China Sea has been complicated,” Mr Phuc said.

The developing ASEAN nation is seen to be drumming up defence partnerships with the US and Japan to counter Chinese influence and defend its more than 3,000-kilometre coastline.

Earlier this year, Japan completed a handover of six used patrol boats to Vietnam’s coast guard and is now mulling Vietnam’s request for new boats, Japanese officials told reporters during foreign minister Fumio Kishida’s visit to Hanoi in May.

“Vietnam is a country that loves peace … (it) has a multilateral and diverse foreign policy that maintains good relationships with other countries, including its 12 strategic partners like Singapore,” Mr Phuc said.

Rare interview with Vietnam’s new PM who took office in April.

Mr Phuc was appointed Prime Minister by lawmakers in April, placing him among Vietnam’s “big four” of political power headed by Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong.

Asked to respond to criticism that Vietnam’s conservatism and communist politics are not good for business, he defended the country’s economic performance and pointed to the slew of trade deals it has signed or will ratify, including the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“Our country is led by the Communist Party, but we follow the market economy model,” Mr Phuc said. “You can’t say Vietnam is a conservative country. A market economy must be dynamic, it cannot be conservative.”

U.S., Vietnam and China — “Love Triangles Never Work”

May 28, 2016
Peace and Freedom went in search of our “Many Asian Fathers” yesterday — in search for answers about President Obama’s recent trip to Vietnam and Japan and what it may mean for the future of U.S. relations with China, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines and other Asian neighbors.
My wife is Vietnamese and when I went in search of answers yesterday, as I entered one establishment filled with Vietnamese-Americans discussing world events, one man said, “There is the man with Many Vietnamese Fathers.”
We’ve found that for an American to understand Asia even a little bit, he needs Many Asian Fathers. I listen to “The Old Ones.”
One Vietnamese man in his nineties sad to me, “A love triangle almost never works. China treats Vietnam as a little brother. Vietnam’s largest trading partner is China. China cannot accept American in a love triangle.”
Another of my “Many Vietnamese Fathers” said, “Did you notice that no high-level Vietnamese met Obama at the airport? And did you notice that no high-level Vietnamese is smiling in the pictures with Obama?”
The Vietnamese have a well learned fear of their ancient neighbor, China.
“The Communist Party of Vietnam, just like the Communist Party of China, has one goal. To remain in power. No human rights, no freedom of the press and freedom of speech is the easiest way to remain in power. Even bloggers like you get punished Young One. If Vietnam embraces human rights the way America does, the Communist Party will fail. Same thing in China. These things take time.”
“Many Vietnamese love it that Obama came to visit — but they cannot smile. And they question his motives. He knows nothing of Asia. Hillary Clinton knows nothing. John Kerry and John McCain have tried to learn like you. You should bring Obama to lunch with us.”
Another quickly said, “Obama learns everything from Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes.”
There guys are very observant.
We also spent about an hour with Clyde, who is a ninety-three year old former U.S. Marine who landed on Leyte in the Philippines and on Okinawa in World War II.
Clyde is all alone now. His wife has died, he lives alone in his own house, and his children and grandchildren have deserted him. They were in Orlando, Florida yesterday for Disneyland, he said.
Clyde has “survivor’s remorse” from his World War II battle experience. It’s a nasty sort of PTSD. He saw hundreds, maybe thousands die. But he survived “as if God wanted me to get home,” he said.
He wanted to talk about President Obama yesterday.  He said that President Obama has never seemed to understand that he is the President of all Americans in some kind of mystical, timeless way.
“He is the president of me and my shipmates, just as he is president of some kid that thinks he’s trans-sexua,l” (he struggled with the word — and asked me what it meant).
When I told him, he said, “A small personal problem. The President should be worried about the future of a strong America. Obama embraces weakness. China loves him.”
I asked him about Hiroshima.
He said, “Hiroshima should not be discussed by any American president. America did what it did at Hiroshima to save lives and stop the war. No second guessing. This is part of Obama not understanding anything but weakness.”
I reminded him that President Obama is fighting against nuclear weapons.
He said, “Too late. North Korea has nuclear weapons. Iran has nuclear weapons. India. China. Pakistan. Russia. Israel. France. England. Who is Obama kidding?  He is trying to keep nuclear weapons away from who?”
My final stop was to see my Chinese Elder, who is also a practicing doctor. I’ve seen him write prescriptions for for antibiotics and opioids and rhino horn. “Whatever works,” he says.  Sometimes its all in the mind.”
After much talk, he said, “Sometimes I think guys like Obama and John Kerry will never understand that they are being played by the Chinese. It’s Sun Tzu.”
How about rhino horn I asked.
“Better than Viagra,” he said.
John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom
World | Fri May 27, 2016 8:09am EDT
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang after an arrival ceremony at the presidential palace in Hanoi, Vietnam May 23, 2016.

At a stroke, the U.S. and Vietnam have complicated the strategic outlook for China over the disputed South China Sea.

As U.S. President Barack Obama marked one of his last trips to Asia by the historic lifting of Washington’s arms embargo on Vietnam, he repeatedly insisted it was not directed at Beijing.

And yet regional military sources and security analysts say China will face short and longer term strategic headaches from the fully normalized relationship between former enemies in Hanoi and Washington.

Operationally, China faces the short-term prospect of Vietnam obtaining U.S.-sourced radars and sensors, surveillance planes and drones to better monitor and target Chinese forces, the analysts say.

In the longer term, the move makes Hanoi a key player in Obama’s strategic pivot to East Asia. U.S. arms manufacturers will compete with Russia for big-ticket weapons sales to Vietnam. The U.S. Navy may get a long-held wish to use Cam Ranh Bay, the best natural harbor in the South China Sea, military sources say.

Then there is the prospect of political cooperation and greater intelligence sharing over China’s assertiveness, according to diplomatic sources, even if Vietnam shuns any formal steps towards a military alliance.

Such moves dovetail with the goals of Vietnam’s military strategists who have told Reuters they want to discreetly raise the costs on China’s rapidly modernizing forces from attacking Vietnam again.

Vietnam understands that a future conflict with their giant neighbor would be vastly more difficult than the bloody land battles on their northern border that rumbled through the 1980s, or the sea battle over the Spratlys in 1988.


Chinese official reaction has so far been muted.

But Beijing is paying close attention to Vietnam’s acquisition of modern weaponry and deployments in the South China Sea, said Ruan Zongze, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, a think tank linked to the Foreign Ministry.

“It’s not impossible that this will then impact the territorial issue between China and Vietnam,” said Ruan, a former Chinese diplomat.

Zhang Baohui, a mainland security expert at Hong Kong’s Lingnan University, said he believed Vietnamese planners knew they could never prevail against the modern Chinese military, so they had to rely on diplomacy to keep stable relations with Beijing.

Zhang said he expected this to continue, despite the Obama visit, saying it was the “cheapest form of defense”.

“Vietnam is working the U.S. into an enhanced deterrence strategy,” he said. “To enhance its relations with China, they have to play the U.S. card,” he said.


U.S. naval officials say they are keen to gradually increase ship visits, but are aware of Vietnamese concerns over pushing China too hard.

When in March Vietnamese officials announced the opening of a new international port in Cam Ranh to foreign navies, China was one of the first militaries to get a formal invite, according to reports in Vietnam’s military press.

U.S. port calls are currently long-planned formal affairs. But U.S. military officials say a servicing agreement is one long term option to allow U.S. warships to make routine visits to Cam Ranh Bay.

Security analysts say even a small increase in ship visits, for example, would complicate China’s operations in the South China Sea, now centered on dual-use facilities being built on seven artificial islands in the Spratlys archipelago.

China claims 80 percent of the South China Sea as its territory, while Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei also have overlapping claims across one of the world’s most important shipping lanes.

Lifting the embargo not only offers an opportunity for U.S. arms makers in Vietnam but elsewhere in rapidly developing Southeast as well, said a military advisor in Thailand.

“The U.S. sees opportunity and demand opening up in various other countries, such as Laos and Cambodia, which use weapons from Russia and China,” said Panitan Wattanayagorn, an adviser to Thailand’s Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon.

“Their economies are expanding, but they still have old weapons so there is an opportunity.”

(Reporting by Greg Torode and Megha Rajagopalan. Editing by Bill Tarrant.)


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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi. REUTERS/OLIVIA HARRIS


At Hiroshima Memorial, Obama Says Nuclear Arms Require ‘Moral Revolution’

The New York Times

HIROSHIMA, Japan — President Obama laid a wreath at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial on Friday, telling an audience that included survivors ofAmerica’s atomic bombing in 1945 that technology as devastating as nuclear arms demands a “moral revolution.”

Thousands of Japanese lined the route of the presidential motorcade to the memorial in the hopes of glimpsing Mr. Obama, the first sitting American president to visit the most potent symbol of the dawning of the nuclear age. Many watched the ceremony on their cellphones.

“Seventy-one years ago, on a bright cloudless morning, death fell from the sky and the world was changed,” Mr. Obama said in opening his speech at the memorial.

“Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us,” Mr. Obama said, adding that such technology “requires a moral revolution as well.”

Read the rest:

Lifting the Vietnam Arms Embargo Is All About China

May 25, 2016

Obama, Like LBJ, is fudging about what’s happening

President Obama issued his own Gulf of Tonkin resolution Monday, declaring that his decision to end a 50-year old U.S. arms embargo on Vietnam was “not based on China.” The statement had a whiff of theoriginal 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution. That’s when President Lyndon B. Johnson misled the American people and Congress about a naval skirmish to justify a mammoth deployment of U.S. troops into what became the Vietnam War, which eventually killed 58,220 U.S. troops.

In fact, Obama’s decision to “fully” end the arms embargo was driven by China’s growing aggressiveness in seeking control of nearly all of the South China Sea, actions have unnerved Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan—as well as Vietnam and the U.S. “It’s all about China,” says Anthony Zinni, a retired four-star Marine general who fought in Vietnam. “No matter how much he denies it.”

If Obama had linked the embargo’s end to China’s actions, some Pentagon officials believe, it would have signaled to China that its moves have triggered a military reaction. Denying any linkage, they believe, simply delays an inevitable day of reckoning.

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang after an arrival ceremony at the presidential palace in Hanoi, Vietnam May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Tom Pepinsky, a southeast Asian expert, says lifting the embargo is all about China. “This decision is ultimately driven by regional concerns, with Vietnam emerging as a key strategic partner for the United States,” says the associate professor of government at Cornell University. “Although the Obama Administration denies that continued tensions in the South China Sea are at the heart of its decision to resume arms exports to Vietnam, this decision signals U.S. plans to contain China’s regional ambitions with Vietnam as a partner.”

Obama declared the end of the embargo with Vietnam’s new president, General Tran Dai Quang—former chief of Vietnam’s notorious Ministry of Public Safety—by his side. “The fact that Vietnam’s Politburo chose Quang to be president indicates a great deal about their priorities,” Human Rights Watch said in a letter to Obama last month. Zinni says that the U.S., in its effort to curb China’s expansionist aims, is letting pragmatism trump Hanoi’s horrible human-rights record.

Human Rights Watch recently called Vietnam a “police state,” and Obama said any arms sales to Hanoi would be dependent on an improving human-rights record. Vietnam, whose nearly 2,000-mile coastline is the western rim of the contested South China Sea, would like to check Beijing’s pressure with patrol boats and anti-submarine airplanes. But the sale of more sophisticated U.S. fighter jets, missiles and radars could follow. The U.S. also wants Vietnam to open up the port of Cam Ranh Bay, which served as a key base for the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter agreed with his boss, although he tossed in a dash of nuance when it came to explaining why the U.S. is lifting the sales ban. “There’s no question that China’s actions [in the South China Sea], particularly those over the past year, have heightened concern in the region, and that’s another factor that causes everyone to want to work with us,” Carter said. More nations in the region “are coming to the United States to do more and more with us because of their general concern with the security environment.”

Why Lifting the Vietnam Arms Embargo Is All About China