Vietnam wants it all in balancing its ties with the US and China

President Joe Biden is heading to Vietnam for a visit that will upgrade bilateral relations to a “strategic comprehensive partnership,” a symbolic step that opens the door to wider cooperation between former Cold War foes who are now grappling with an assertive, powerful China.

The elevated status is a symbolic gesture that recognizes the developed state of U.S.-Vietnam ties, almost 30 years after they normalized diplomatic relations and a half century since the end of the Vietnam War.

But it doesn’t reflect a fundamental change in Vietnamese policy. Indeed, it should be seen as a manifestation of what Hanoi calls its omnidirectional and independent foreign policy. The overall growth of the relationship will remain hemmed in by the fact that the communist leaders who run Vietnam share the same world view as those who control China.

In a partnership hierarchy created by the Vietnamese government, at the very top are neighbors Laos and Cambodia. However, what was once Vietnam’s secure western flank is now a source of concern with China’s surge in influence through investment, lending, development projects, and corruption.

Comprehensive strategic partnerships had been reserved for Vietnam’s friends since the days of the revolution: Russia, China, and India. In 2023, in recognition of their burgeoning economic relationship, Vietnam elevated South Korea to that pantheon, recently followed by Singapore and Australia, and soon Indonesia.

For the U.S., the leapfrog from Vietnam’s comprehensive partner to a comprehensive strategic partner is important for three reasons.

First, for top leaders in Hanoi, symbolism does matter. That a former foe is now on a par with revolutionary era friends is a win.

Second, this upgrade will not please China, even though Hanoi has worked assiduously to try to convince Beijing that it is maintaining its independent foreign policy. It is inconceivable that Hanoi has not briefed Beijing on this, and Communist Party of Vietnam General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong has made party-to-party ties stronger than ever. He would not have approved the relationship upgrade if he felt insecure by Beijing’s reaction.

Five days before Biden’s expected arrival this weekend, Liu Jianchao, the head of the Chinese Communist Party’s International Liaison Department met with Trong, who no doubt gave him further assurances.

While Washington may want to rankle Beijing, which has overplayed its hand in the region with its aggressive South China Sea behavior and hawkish “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy, its real goal is to see Vietnam be strong enough to assert its vaunted autonomous foreign policy.

Hanoi will no doubt be sending a politburo-level delegation to assure Beijing that the upgrade is not a lurch towards the United States or in any way anti-Chinese, but a manifestation of Vietnam’s independent and omni-directional foreign policy.

Third, at the bureaucratic level, it’s hoped that the upgrade gives political top cover for the line ministries to increase their cooperation with U.S. counterparts across a range of issues, from countering narcotics and human trafficking to security cooperation.

The upgrade does not automatically lead to more market access, more trade and investment, more port visits and other military engagements, but it won’t hurt their prospects either.

In short, this upgrade is long overdue, and reflects the fact that the U.S. has far deeper ties than many other states ranked above it.

An economic imperative

The upgrade comes as Vietnam’s economy is slowing dramatically. Despite 8.5% growth in 2022, GDP only grew by 3.72% in the first six months of 2023, half the target. The Asian Development Bank and IMF have lowered their annual forecasts to 5.8% and 4.7%, respectively.

While Vietnam has benefitted from corporate supply chain diversification out of China, that trend has also made the economy over-dependent on exports, which have fallen for five consecutive months, the longest slump in 14 years. In July, exports fell 3.5%. Industrial production contracted 1.8% in the first half of 2023, causing a 13% year-on-year increase in industrial layoffs.

While Vietnam enjoys a large trade surplus with the U.S. – $44.3 billion in the first seven months of 2023 – that is down 24% year-on-year. Vietnam runs enormous trade deficits with China, as its manufactured goods are highly dependent on imported Chinese components. Without its exports to the U.S., Vietnam would run chronic trade deficits.

As a direct foreign investor, the U.S. lags behind South Korea, Singapore, China, and Japan. In early 2023, Boeing announced a production facility, while Apple shifted an iPad production line out of China to Vietnam. But there’s plenty of room for growth. We should also not lose sight of portfolio investment from the U.S., where one fund alone has invested $1.5 billion in six projects.

Corporate Vietnam is trying to make a splash in the U.S.. Electric vehicle maker VinFast broke ground on a $4 billion plant in North Carolina, and has seen wild stock valuations after its recent listing on NASDAQ. VinFast sees the United States as the key to its growth, if not viability, despite a rocky first nine months that saw few sales and a recall.

The tech firm VNG, Vietnam’s first “unicorn,” has filed paperwork for its listing on NASDAQ.

If Vietnam is to escape the middle-income trap, it’s through trade and investment ties with the U.S., not China. To that end, executives from a swath of U.S. semiconductor and other tech industry will be joining Biden’s trip.

What remains missing in U.S. policy towards the Asia-Pacific is an economic architecture. Since the withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership in January 2017, the United States has abdicated its leadership. States are going along with the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) , but only to keep Washington engaged and prevent heavyweight China from completely dominating the trade agenda.

What would be far more meaningful to Hanoi than this upgrade would be a bilateral free trade agreement with the U.S.

People-to-people ties

Beyond the economic relationship, the upgrade in relations is the official recognition of what’s already happening.

There are more than 20,000 Vietnamese students in the U.S., making it the fifth largest source, behind China, India, South Korea, and Canada.

The U.S. enjoys stratospheric approval and trust in public opinion surveys – often over 90%.

In terms of the security relationship, the U.S. has been respectful of Vietnam’s “Four nos” policy: no partaking in military alliances, no siding with one country to act against another, no foreign military bases in Vietnamese territory or using Vietnam as leverage to counteract other countries, and no using force or threatening to use force in international relations.

Vietnam has reinterpreted its own law to allow more port visits by U.S. Navy ships, and there are more military-to-military exchanges.

Arms sales have started. A U.S firm built Vietnam’s submarine rescue pod, while Bell is hoping to conclude the sale of helicopters to the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security. U.S. defense titans showed up at Hanoi’s defense expo last December.

Despite U.S. concerns over Vietnam’s dismal human rights record, U.S. law enforcement enjoys close cooperation with their Vietnamese counterparts.

World view

Despite the formal upgrade in ties and deepening ties and economic interdependence, Vietnam is still governed by a communist party that brooks no opposition to its rule and is insecure about its hold on power. While the U.S. has repeatedly pledged its acceptance of Vietnam’s political system and put less priority on human rights, many conservatives within the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam still harbor mistrust about U.S. intentions.

In August, acting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang and reminded him that socialism must remain the foundation of Vietnamese foreign policy.

Chinese leaders are always quick to play to Vietnamese leadership’s fears of a color revolution. For many in the leadership in Hanoi, China might pose a territorial threat to Vietnam in the South China Sea, but it’s the U.S. that ultimately poses an existential threat to the party’s hold on power.

It is critical to look beyond state-to-state ties to the communist party ties that are Beijing’s real point of leverage.

Immediately following the Chinese Communist Party’s 20th Congress last October, Trong and a delegation of six politburo members flew to Beijing for four days of high-level talks. Trong was awarded China’s highest honor.

Truong Thi Mai, the standing chief of the Communist Party of Vietnam Secretariat, ranked fifth in the Politburo, recently made a high profile visit to Beijing, where she held meetings with CCP chief Xi Jinping, while Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh met his counterpart in Beijing in June.

Minister of National Defense Phan Van Giang attended the Moscow International Security Summit, while the New York Times has reported on a major arms deal with Russia, despite the threat of U.S. sanctions.

While Vietnam wants the United States economically integrated in the region, providing security assurances and freedom of navigation operations, the worldview of Hanoi’s leadership is still far more closely aligned with Beijing’s than Washington’s.

Hanoi doesn’t want to choose. It wants it all.

Source: Radio Free Asia

Prime Minister receives US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh received visiting US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry in Hanoi on September 9, expressing Vietnam’s wish to cooperate with the US in climate change response in a way that suits the Southeast Asian country’s socio-economic conditions.

The host leader shared his guest’s view that the two countries’ comprehensive partnership is increasingly substantive and stable on the basis of respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and political regimes.

He spoke highly of US President Joe Biden and Special Envoy Kerry’s efforts to help with global endeavours to improve the awareness of and actions in climate change response.

Highlighting Vietnam’s great potential for developing renewable energy, PM Chinh called for the US’s assistance for the country in this field.

He said climate change is a global issue needing global and people-centred solutions while just energy transition is required. Meanwhile, Vietnam is taking strong measures to promote green growth and climate change response.

Calling for the US’s support for Vietnam in the areas, the Government leader asked the North American country to help encourage organisations to assist Vietnam through concrete programmes and projects such as those on preventing subsidence caused by climate change in the Mekong Delta and boosting energy transition.

For his part, Kerry said the US consistently attaches importance to relations with Vietnam; supports the latter to play a proactive role in the region and respond to international issues, including climate change; and highly values Vietnam’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

The US will continue enhancing cooperation with and assistance for developing countries, including Vietnam, to cope with climate change, especially in the development of clean energy and sustainable infrastructure, and the smart management of water resources and other resources in the ecosystem, he went on.

The Special Envoy affirmed that as a long-standing friend of Vietnam, he will support the continued reinforcement of ties with the country in realising the commitments made at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) as well as coming meetings of the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

“Anutin” orders seizure of gun license of “Kamnan Nok”

Anutin” speeds up the “Kamnan Nok case” with the most recent order being the most urgent. Let the police send updates on the case – confiscate gun licenses

Reporters reported that from the case of Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior. Has ordered the administration to expedite the suppression of influential leaders throughout the country. After the shocking case A gunman close to Mr. Praveen Chanklai or “Kamnan Nok” attacked and shot a police officer dead.

Recently, there has been a most urgent order, dated September 8, 2023, to the Superintendent of Nakhon Pathom Provincial Police Station. Signed by Mr. Yutthana Photivitiwihok, local registrar of Mueang Nakhon Pathom District, subject: Requesting to know the details of the prosecution, stating that in the case of Mr. Praveen Chanklai, village headman of Takong Subdistrict. Mueang Nakhon Pathom District Nakhon Pathom Province An arrest warrant was issued in a criminal case according to the arrest warrant of the Nakhon Pathom Provincial Court. who must be found to have committed the crime of being a person who causes another person to commit the crime of intentional murder and attempting to murder another person To obtain information to consider revoking the license of Mr. Praveen Chanklai according to the guidelines set by the Ministry of Interior. Mueang Nakhon Pathom District

Therefore, I would like to know the details of the litigation results and various documents. Relevant arrest records along with information regarding the circumstances of the offense. Detailed information on the firearm used in the incident And where are the firearms and the license to own and use firearms (Form Por 4) of Mr. Praveen Chanklai kept? By requesting that the information be gathered and sent to Mueang Nakhon Pathom District immediately.

On the same day A most urgent document has appeared for Mr. Praveen. Signed by the local registrar of Mueang Nakhon Pathom District, it stated that Mr. Praveen’s behavior was an act of outrageous conduct with no fear of the

law .

Therefore, you are prohibited from issuing a license. According to the Firearms Act Ammunition, explosives, fireworks and imitation firearms, 1947, Section 13 (3), which causes the license to be revoked in accordance with the Firearms Act, Section 66. The local registrar of Mueang Nakhon Pathom District therefore deems it appropriate to revoke the license to have and use Your firearm (Type 4)

Therefore, in order for the process of revoking the license to own and use firearms (Form Por 4) to be in accordance with the legal procedures. Therefore, I have informed you so that you are adequately informed of the facts. and have the opportunity to argue and present evidence to the local registrar of Mueang Nakhon Pathom District within 7 days from the date of receipt of the letter

Mr. Anutin said that this matter must be dealt with quickly. We can’t let it go. With community leaders accumulating influence and then acting arrogantly, defying the law, firearms ownership must be limited. It’s not in the hands of bad people, bad people. Now we have to reorganize. We have to take it seriously. The law must be enforced effectively. .

Source: Thai News Agency

“Livestock” accepts the policy of the Minister of Agriculture to speed up the suppression of illegal pigs.

Director General of the Department of Livestock Development Declared ready to drive the minister’s urgent policy. Agriculture hastened to crack down on illegal pigs and wipe out the nation-destroying movement. To help farmers and protect the food safety of Thai people.

Veterinarian Somchuan Rattanamangkhalanon Director-General of the Department of Livestock Development revealed that as Captain Thammanat Phromphao, Minister of Agriculture, ordered all agencies under the Ministry of Agriculture Immediately accelerate the development of guidelines to help farmers in every aspect. The Livestock Department is tasked with solving the problem of illegal pigs and illegal importation of livestock products. which has a huge impact on farmers Especially in terms of costs Farmers have to bear the burden of high costs but cannot sell at a price. and also risk the spread of animal disease outbreaks It also affects the safety of consumers, emphasizing that the crackdown must be taken seriously and results will be seen within 1-2 months. The Department hastened to take action immediately in accordance with Minister Thammanat’s policy by holding an urgent meeting with all relevant agencies. both central and regional throughout the country To continue the crackdown on illegal pigs that has been carried out continuously. to be more concentrated

“Suppression of feral pigs It is an urgent matter that the Minister of Agriculture attaches great importance to. The Department of Livestock Development is the agency that directly oversees the production of livestock products. and has declared war on the feral pig movement that causes damage to Thai farmers by trapping them in every direction To wipe out illegal pigs that have infiltrated the country. and is corrosive to the health of Thai consumers on a large scale. In the past, the Department has enforced the law in 238 cases, totaling 1,142 tons of seized items, with a total value of more than 190 million baht, and is preparing to destroy large amounts of seized items in September. and raised the level of work to be more strict By expediting the operations of WARROOM in every district and every province. To be carried out every day, excluding public holidays. and Saturday-Sunday to eradicate illegal pigs as quickly as possible,” said the Director-General of the Department of Livestock Development.

The Director-General of the Department of Livestock Development also said that the Department has appointed a team of officers from the Cyber Livestock Inspector Unit. Responsible for searching for information and finding evidence of violations of livestock laws via online channels. Including measures to prevent smuggling at the airport animal quarantine station. With the mission of Inspector Beagle Including illegal measures at the port animal quarantine station. By opening 100% inspection booths for livestock products at the entry checkpoint. as well as setting up checkpoints, extraction points and patrolling along the border. Which will be carried out to arrest the perpetrators. By taking decisive action against illegal activities. According to the Animal Epidemics Act The first punishment is that all captured pork will be destroyed. And this case is a criminal case and is punishable by both imprisonment and a fine. which depends on the court’s decision As for the cold storage case, if the request to import meat has been previously registered with the Department and is found to have broken the law like this, the Department will also revoke the license.

For his performance in enforcing the law in the smuggling of pig carcasses. enter the kingdom From fiscal year 2022 to fiscal year 2023 (latest on September 1, 2023), both in the pork, entrails, and parts sections, a total of 238 cases, a total amount of 1,142,487 kilograms, a total value of 190,426,840 baht, there have been 202 cases of destruction of seized items, a total amount of 1,049,920 kilograms, calculated as Value 175,216,249 baht by the Department of Livestock Development Has integrated with relevant agencies to follow strict measures to check the smuggling of pork, including the Royal Thai Police. Consumer Protection Crime Suppression Division (Consumer Protection Crime Suppression Division) ) Ministry of Interior Internal Security Operations Command, Customs Department, Ministry of Defense and border agencies Together we must strictly suppress the smuggling of pork parts. To protect pig farmers and prevent African swine fever or ASF that may be contaminated with pig parts. Including to ensure the safety of consumers which are smuggled pig parts It has not been inspected by the Department of Livestock Development. There may be residue such as red meat accelerator. or other pathogens that are dangerous to the pig farming industry and consumers

Meanwhile, on the issue of smuggling live cattle and buffaloes from neighboring countries Including the meat parts of cows and buffaloes. The Livestock Department has strict suppression measures and has always enforced the law seriously. To protect farmers from ongoing illegal movements.

Source: Thai News Agency

morocco earthquake No Thai people were affected.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reveals the Morocco earthquake. There were no reports of Thai people being affected, while the Prime Minister ordered to closely monitor the situation.

Mrs. Kanchana Phattharachoke, Director-General of the Department of Information and Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Revealing the progress of the earthquake on September 9, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. Thailand time in Marrakesh, Kingdom of Morocco.

On this level, the Royal Thai Embassy in Rabat reported that no Thai people were affected by the earthquake. It was centered in Al-Haouz province, about 80 kilometers southwest of Marrakesh, and the tremors were felt in almost every city in Morocco and nearby countries. At least 632 people were killed and 329 injured. It was also found that many old buildings in Marrakesh, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, were damaged.

Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs We attach great importance to this matter and receive the above news with great concern. Along with a message of sincere condolences to the Moroccan government and the families of the victims. Including the Prime Minister has ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to closely monitor the situation and report progress.

In this regard, Thai brothers and sisters living in the area nearby and was affected by the earthquake in Morocco. You can contact the Royal Thai Embassy in Rabat via telephone number +212 6611 55885 and email consular.rabat@mfa.go.th. .

Source: Thai News Agency

Kamnan Nok’s gardener confessed to burying a gun to conceal the case.

The investigative team questioned Mr. Keng, the gardener at Kamnan Nok’s house, who confessed to being the person who took the gun used in the incident and buried it in the ground. to conceal the case Found the gun used in the crime. It belongs to a policeman who is on the job.

Progress in the investigation of the said case The investigative team brought Mr. Keng Gardening workers inside the house, “Kamnan Nok”, came for questioning at Provincial Police Region 7. Initially, they confessed. He was the one who took the gun used in the crime and buried it in the ground. To conceal the case, then take Mr. Keng to point out the spot where the gun was dug. and other valuables, totaling 3 locations, such as at the end of the Nakhon Waterworks Reservoir, Mueang District, Nakhon Pathom Province

Mr. Keng said he was the one who took the gun used in the incident and buried it near his own house the next day. Using white and gold cloth, similar to a Chinese tablecloth, to wrap the gun. Before digging a hole and burying it in the ground At the end of the reservoir, it took only 5 minutes to dig up and find the 9 mm Glock gun used in the crime. Then take the pickaxe made from clay and hide it at Kamnan Nok’s factory. It is reported that firearms that was used to cause the incident It belongs to a police officer. at the scene The central part that was detected will be sent to the evidence division To check and find the name of the person who registered the firearm. That is clear again.

Source: Thai News Agency

“Kamnan Nok” did not ask for bail in court.

Kamnan Nok’s lawyer revealed today that “Kamnan Nok” did not wish to ask for bail. Without specifying the reason for the family, “Nong Tha Pha” received the body for charity. Ready to plead to stop the attack

Mr. Chao Kaensawat, Kamnan Nok’s lawyer, revealed today that he did not apply for bail because Kamnan Nok did not want to ask for bail. without specifying reason After that, correctional officers took him to the Bangkok Remand Prison.

As for the Institute of Forensic Medicine, Police Hospital, the family of Mr. Thananchai or Nong, the gunman, came to ask for the body to make merit at Nong Kob Temple, Ban Pong District, Ratchaburi Province after being hit by an extraordinary officer. While escaping to hide in the area of Kanchaburi province, the autopsy results showed that the body was hit by bullets in 4 points, namely under the left chin, neck, breasts, left armpit, the bullet destroyed the spine, chest, lungs and liver, resulting in death. This story ends.

Source: Thai News Agency

Jokowi lauded for gaining US$38 billion projects at ASEAN Summit

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs Association (HIPMI) Chairman Akbar Buchari commended President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) for his success in gaining commitments to cooperation projects, with a total value of US$38 billion, at the 43rd ASEAN Summit.”Mr. Jokowi has been working hard this year to lead Indonesia as the 2023 chair of ASEAN. The value of cooperation (projects) is fantastic. Hopefully, the cooperation will be well-implemented and benefit the people,” he noted in a statement received here on Saturday. s the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year, Indonesia has successfully hosted numerous agenda items for the regional bloc, including the 43rd ASEAN Summit that was recently held in Jakarta on September 5-7. The recent summit featured several side events, including the ASEAN-Indo-Pacific Forum (AIPF), that resulted in commitments among ASEANmember states and partners that include 93 cooperation projects whose overall value reached Rp580 trillion, or equivalent to US$38.2 billion. Buchari urged the government to make genuine efforts to ensure that the benefits gained from the 43rd ASEAN Summit reach the people, especially those who run micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), in the hopes of sustaining the positive trend in national economic growth. He also commended President Jokowi for his tenacity in voicing the interests of not only Indonesia but also of other developing countries in the Indo-Pacific region. He stated that cooperation between public and private sectors involved in the AIPF can be manifested in various investment projects that support the development of new and renewable energy, hydrogen, ammonia, battery supply chain, as well as construction of toll roads and ports. Furthermore, he described the president as a leader figure, who has the courage to consistently voice the importance of maintaining stability and peace. President Jokowi had earlier affirmed that stability and peace are the keys to prosperity. The HIPMI chairman then underscored Jokowi’s success in attracting leaders of partner countries, such as the United States and China, to personally attend the 43rd ASEAN Summit and commended Indonesia’s leadership in ASEAN. “It should be noted that the Vice President of the United States Kamala Harris and the Prime Minister of China Li Qiang personally attended (the summit) and lauded Jokowi. Moreover, Japan, Canada, and South Korea also participated in the summit,” he stated.

Source: Antara News Agency