vietnam

The Prime Ministers of Viet Nam and Japan reaffirmed yesterday their commitment to comprehensive development of the strategic partnership between both countries. In talks held between Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, the commitment found concrete expression in the latter's announcement of an official development assistance package of around US$1 billion (JPY1 trillion) for the second half of the 2013 fiscal year.

While China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos, and Cuba officially claim to be communist states, the country that adheres most strictly to communist principles, according to Oxford University scholar Robert Service, is North Korea. He should know, he wrote the book on it — Comrades! A History of World Communism. Today, he says, Karl Marx would hardly recognize his manifesto. "In it's original form, it's long been dead," said Service.

Congratulations are in order for CPD as Jay Wang took the helm this fall and began engaging with the public diplomacy community as the new CPD director. As often happens with such beginnings, the focus intuitively turns to the future. I would like to suggest a counter-intuitive move and challenge public diplomacy scholars around the world to explore the contributions of ancient heritages to the practice of public diplomacy.

When Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, meeting with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang, announced the decision to establish the first Confucius Institute, at Hanoi University, Vietnam, the news stirred considerable controversy among Vietnamese intellectuals. Any move by the Vietnam’s communist government that smacks of dependency on China is likely to prompt protest. However, setting up a Confucius Institute, with its overtones of cultural hegemony, may only be distracting the Vietnamese public from more substantial concerns.

The repercussions of poor governance in Vietnam are such that the system of governance and constitutional structure need to be fundamentally changed. Much discussion has focused on a roadmap leading to participatory democracy, market mechanisms free of socialist guidance, rule of law and civil society. The challenge is great, and any transformation will depend entirely on the political willingness of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV). Observers have been waiting to see if anything will change among its elites.

A plan to establish an organization that promotes Chinese languages and culture in Vietnam has drawn criticism from Vietnamese scholars, who say Beijing is trying to invade the country with its ideology. The agreement to set up a Confucius Institute in Hanoi was reached during Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s visit to Vietnam this month. The plan has sparked heated debate, however, on social networks in Vietnam.

Just before the American ground war in Vietnam began in March 1965 with the landing of a brigade of US Marines at Danang, General Vo Nguyen Giap, who had been commander in chief of Communist armed forces in Vietnam since 1944, told a television interviewer that “Things are going badly for the enemy, because the South Vietnamese soldiers do not want to fight for the Americans. But we are in no hurry. The longer we wait, the greater will be the Americans’ defeat.”

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera and his Vietnamese counterpart, Phung Quang Thanh, have agreed to boost cooperation in maritime security amid concern over China’s growing naval activities, Japanese officials said. During talks Monday in Hanoi, Onodera was quoted by the officials as telling Thanh that the rule of law and dialogue are vital in settling security disputes.

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