Vietnam’s balancing act

[American Review Magazine – Nov 2012]  In early 1833, a United States delegation led by Edmund Roberts arrived in Vietnam on the sloop-of-war USS Peacock, which anchored in Vung Lam Bay, off modern Phu Yen province. As a “special confidential agent” of President Andrew Jackson, Roberts proposed to sign a treaty of commerce with the Nguyen Dynasty but failed in his mission due to misunderstandings caused by language barriers and Vietnam’s isolationist policy. It took the two countries another 166 years to conclude a bilateral trade agreement. Roberts’s failed mission was one of the many missed opportunities that, right from the early days of their interaction, prevented Vietnam and the United States from establishing a stronger relationship. Continue reading “Vietnam’s balancing act”

Advertisements

Vietnam’s strategic trajectory: From internal development to external engagement

[ASPI Strategic Insights] Vietnam has recently emerged as a key player in Southeast Asia. Strategically located at the heart of the Asia–Pacific region, Vietnam is home to a population of 88 million people and a promising economy that has registered an average annual growth rate of around 7% over the past decade. Since adopting the ‘Doi Moi’ (‘renovation’) policy in the late 1980s, Vietnam has also been pursuing an active and constructive foreign policy aimed at diversifying and multilateralising its external relations. Vietnam’s quest for deeper international economic integration and a greater political role has therefore brought the international community an opportunity to engage the once‑pariah state in building a peaceful, stable and prosperous regional order.  Continue reading “Vietnam’s strategic trajectory: From internal development to external engagement”