HO CHI MINH CITY — Reputational risks are piling up for a Vietnamese lumber industry already beset by a falloff in demand from the heights of the pandemic.
One of the world’s biggest wood and furniture exporters, Vietnam enjoyed a surge in orders when overseas buyers spent COVID lockdowns renovating their home offices and kitchens.
But the Southeast Asian country faces accusations of importing Chinese goods for re-export with “Made in Vietnam” labels since the onset of the China-U.S. tariff war in 2018. Now an actual war in Ukraine is stoking concern that sanctioned products from Russia may be routed through Vietnam, which maintains a neutral stance on the conflict between Kyiv and Moscow, as it does with Beijing and Washington. A third concern, about logging of fuel wood, has added to the pressure.
Communist Party of Vietnam leader Nguyen Phu Trong, left, meets with China’s Communist Party leader Xi Jinping in Beijing in 2015. | Xinhua
HANOI—The Socialist Republic of Vietnam will not be coerced into joining the United States-led effort aimed at isolating China and provoking conflict as part of its Cold War 2.0 foreign policy.
That’s a major message expected to come out of the upcoming visit to China by Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam. Trong will travel to China to pay an official visit to the newly re-elected Communist Party of China leader Xi Jinping. Trong will be one of the first world leaders to visit China since the closing the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, earlier this month.
Vietnamese laborers attend a meeting in Hanoi where they are prepared for working in South Korea, July 21, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Hong ChieuBoth Hai in the northern-central Ha Tinh Province and Thang in Hanoi have the same dream: to go to South Korea to work.
But Thang is trying to achieve what he wants at Hai’s expense.
Hai is waiting anxiously for the South Korean government to lift its ban on workers from his home district, Cam Xuyen.
Since 2015, the Cambodian government has been addressing the politically and diplomatically sensitive issue of illegal Vietnamese immigrants through methods such as documentation, deportation, eviction, relocation and registration.
These actions are the ruling Cambodian People’s Party’s response to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party’s successful politicisation of anti-Vietnamese sentiments among Cambodian voters.
The Cambodian government’s Vietnamese immigrant policies also serve the ecological development goal of improving Cambodian water systems, as well as beautifying and developing its urban areas.
Given Cambodia’s asymmetrical power relationship with Vietnam and the sensitive issue of illegal Vietnamese immigrants, the closer bond between Cambodia and China serves as an enabling factor for the Cambodian government in adopting tougher policies.
The Cambodian government’s measures will however neither reduce the fear held by many Cambodians of Vietnamese domination nor will they alleviate the potential diplomatic fallout.
*Jing Jing Luo is Post-Doctoral Researcher at the School of Public Affairs, Xiamen University, China. Kheang Un is Professor of Political Science at Northern Illinois University, USA.
In 2023, the United States and Vietnam will celebrate the 10th anniversary of their comprehensive partnership. The occasion will provide a window of opportunity to elevate the relationship to a strategic partnership. However, there are signs that Washington and Hanoi are losing momentum in bilateral security cooperation and passing opportunities to make necessary preparations for the upgrade to happen.
During his nomination hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Ambassador Marc Knapper stated that, if confirmed, he would prioritize deepening the United States’ strategic relationship with Vietnam. He would take steps to raise the current comprehensive partnership to a strategic partnership by “strengthening even further our security relationship,” “deepening our economic partnership,” and “deepening our people-to-people ties.”
YOHEI MURAMATSU and TOMOYA ONISHI, Nikkei staff writers
September 6, 2022 04:22 JST
BANGKOK/HANOI — From wooing more Russian tourists to boosting trade, Southeast Asian nations are bolstering economic ties with Russia in hopes of curbing inflation and spurring their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S. and European countries have imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. But these efforts could be hindered by emerging nations as they prioritize addressing their own economic headwinds.
(LLCT) – Chính sách đối ngoại của Đảng giai đoạn 1976-1986 đã để lại những kinh nghiệm quý báu, đó là: cần phải đánh giá đúng sự vận động, biến đổi của bối cảnh quốc tế, khu vực; bám sát thực tiễn đất nước, kịp thời điều chỉnh chủ trương, chính sách đối ngoại, thường xuyên phòng, tránh nguy cơ mất độc lập, tự chủ về tư duy và đường lối đối ngoại; coi trọng công tác dự báo, tổng kết thực tiễn; chủ động khắc phục đường lối đối ngoại “nhất biên đảo”; tích cực thiết lập các mối quan hệ với các nước lớn và các nước láng giềng… Những kinh nghiệm này đã góp phần định hướng đường lối đối ngoại của Đảng trong thời kỳ đổi mới và hội nhập quốc tế; cần được vận dụng, phát huy có hiệu quả trong sự nghiệp xây dựng và bảo vệ Tổ quốc hiện nay.
HANOI – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met this week with Vietnamese Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, a top-level sign that the Cold War allies remain close in the New Cold War era.
Lavrov’s visit was at the invitation of Vietnam’s foreign ministry, per the Vietnamese government, and is the first by a Russian official since hostilities broke out with Ukraine on February 24. Vietnam is Russia’s top Southeast Asian partner and is viewed as a lynchpin for maintaining stable relations in the region.
Lavrov held separate meetings with Son, Chinh, and Trong during his two-day visit, representing the ministerial, state, and Party levels of Vietnam’s leadership. The diplomatic message is clear: Vietnam highly values its relationship with Russia at all levels. Vietnamese state media underscored that the visit further solidifies Russia as one of Vietnam’s pre-eminent diplomatic partners.
On February 11, 2022, the Biden administration released its Indo-Pacific Strategy. The document covers a vast geographic area including many nations and touches on a wide range of issues. What does the new strategy mean for U.S.-Vietnam cooperation?
The strategy names Vietnam as one of the United States’ leading regional partners. Keen observers have anticipated the U.S.-Vietnam Comprehensive Partnership signed in 2013 to be upgraded to a strategic partnership. Although some U.S. and Vietnamese officials have said that the name does not matter, formally upgrading to a strategic partnership with a written joint statement will assure both sides’ commitments.
Vietnam’s digital economy is rapidly expanding. In 2011, only 35 percent of the Vietnamese population used the internet, which doubled to 70 percent by 2020. According to the e-Conomy SEA 2021 report, 71 percent of Vietnamese internet users have made at least one purchase online. The report projected Vietnam’s gross merchandise value (GMV) to reach a total value of $21 billion in 2021, when all sectors, except online travel, experienced double-digit growth. E-commerce is leading the pack, with a 53 percent increase from $8 billion to $13 billion. Vietnam’s GMV is expected to grow from $21 billion in 2021 to $57 billion in 2025.
Today, Japan and the United States affirm a partnership that is stronger and deeper than at any time in its history. Guided by our shared values; anchored by our common commitment to democracy and the rule of law; inspired by the innovation and technological dynamism of our economies; and rooted in the deep people-to-people ties between our countries, the Japan-U.S relationship is the cornerstone of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
It is in this spirit that Prime Minister of Japan KISHIDA Fumio welcomed Joseph R. Biden, Jr to Japan in his first visit as President of the United States. President Biden commended Prime Minister Kishida’s global leadership, including in the Japan-Australia-India-U.S. (Quad) Summit meeting.
President Biden will welcome the leaders of the Association of Southeast Nations (ASEAN) for a historic U.S.-ASEAN Special Summit, held for the first time in Washington D.C. and at the White House, to re-affirm the United States’ enduring commitment to Southeast Asia and underscore the importance of U.S.-ASEAN cooperation in ensuring security, prosperity, and respect for human rights.
Over many years, the United States has steadily deepened our partnership with Southeast Asia. The United States has provided over $12.1 billion in development, economic, health, and security assistance to Southeast Asian allies and partners since 2002 and over that same period of time, the United States has provided over $1.4 billion in humanitarian assistance, including life-saving disaster assistance, emergency food aid, and support to refugees throughout Southeast Asia. Building on our long-standing commitment to this critical region, the Biden-Harris Administration’s FY 2023 Budget Request included over $800 million in bilateral assistance for ASEAN partners and over $25 million to deepen relations with ASEAN and enhance ASEAN’s capacity to tackle pressing regional challenges.
The United States and Southeast Asia also benefit from our far-reaching commercial and trade ties. ASEAN represents the world’s fourth largest market and the United States is ASEAN’s largest source of foreign direct investment, while our two-way trade amounted to over $360 billion in 2020.
U.S.-ASEAN relations are ultimately anchored in the special friendship shared by our combined one billion people. Our ongoing commitment to deepening people-to-people ties is marked by 7000 programs at 83 American Spaces in ASEAN countries, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative’s 155,000 alumni, and the connections forged through nearly 6 million U.S. visas, including student visas, granted to Southeast Asian travelers since 2010.
At the annual U.S.-ASEAN Summit in October 2021, President Biden announced an unprecedented investment of up to $102 million in U.S.-ASEAN relations, significantly expanding our cooperation on health, climate, science and innovation, trade facilitation, education, and more. Today, the United States and ASEAN will inaugurate a new era of partnership, guided by the complementary objectives of the Indo-Pacific Strategy of the United States and the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. In that spirit, President Biden is announcing over $150 million in initiatives which we expect will mobilize billions more in private financing that will deepen U.S.-ASEAN relations, strengthen ASEAN centrality, and expand our common capacity to achieve our shared objectives.
ACCELERATING CLIMATE ACTION, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, AND INCLUSIVE PROSPERITY
In support of U.S.-ASEAN Climate Futures and U.S.-ASEAN Economic Futures, the United States and ASEAN will raise our collective climate ambition while working together to support implementation of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025. We will help meet the region’s enormous infrastructure needs in a sustainable manner that accelerates the clean energy transition, helps the region to achieve a path to net zero emissions by mid-century, and drives inclusive, broad-based prosperity.
Much of Africa has been on the receiving end of the North-South development cooperation where Western donors and multilateral institutions provide aid and technical assistance to countries on the continent.
Progress has been made from this type of cooperation, but much is still needed to transform the continent.
The Chinese have arrived on the scene with the Belt and Road initiative to a mixed reception. While the North-South relations and the Chinese influence will continue to be a critical part of development cooperation for Africa, leaders on the continent are increasingly seeking more horizontal partnerships based on equity, trust, and shared prosperity.
What Vietnam has achieved in the last thirty years, and what it is on course to achieve in the next, makes the country a good candidate for low- and middle-income countries in Africa to partner with for shared prosperity.
The special summit between the United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is set to take place on May 12–13 in Washington, D.C. But even as the Biden administration aims to advance its foreign policy goals related to the 10-nation bloc, it will also want to take advantage of the opportunity to make progress bilaterally with strategically important partners, including Vietnam. Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh will make his first trip to the United States for the summit and will give public remarks at CSIS. Judging by his recent visit to Japan, Chinh is likely to address a wide range of issues with U.S. counterparts, including trade, security, and Covid-19 recovery. The two partners have a chance to make important progress in these areas, as well as on people-to-people and historical issues specific to the U.S.-Vietnam relationship.
SINGAPORE—For the past five years, Southeast Asia has ranked as America’s top source of solar panels from abroad, driven in large part by Chinese manufacturers who expanded into the region after the U.S. in 2012 imposed duties on exports from China. A new U.S. probe has cast a shadow over that growth run.
Washington wants to know how much China-made material is used in solar panels shipped from Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia—countries that accounted for 85% of American imports last year. It is investigating whether producers do small-time processing in these countries to skirt tariffs while reaching back into China-based supply chains for critical components.
The low-cost carrier Thai VietJet Air has been forced to make a public apology after an April Fool’s tweet prompted a flood of criticism in Thailand, one of its major markets, for making fun of Thailand’s King Vajiralongkorn. The post described the creation of a fake new route between the city of Nan in northern Thailand and Munich, Germany, where the king has for many years spent considerable amounts of time.