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”

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