Vietnam in 2015: Challenges Persist amidst Hope for Change

[Southeast Asian Affairs 2016] The year 2015 marked the eighty-fifth anniversary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) and the fortieth anniversary of Vietnam’s reunification under its rule. After almost thirty years of economic transformation, Vietnam has achieved considerable progress in terms of socio-economic development, but challenges to the country remain substantial as the economy has not regained full steam since the 2008–9 slowdown. Politically, the CPV has also been faced with a testing period. Its performance-based legitimacy has been undermined, while popular support declined due to widespread corruption as well as various socio-economic problems that cast doubts on the efficiency and accountability of the state and party systems. In terms of foreign policy, Beijing’s increasing assertiveness in the South China Sea presents a major challenge for the party. While seeking to maintain a peaceful relationship with its northern neighbour, Vietnam also needs to look into new options to deal with the rising China threat. Continue reading “Vietnam in 2015: Challenges Persist amidst Hope for Change”