Topics & Articles



Ethnic Groups




Viet Nam


or Browse the Archives

or Gets Posts by Tags

Most Popular Books on Asian-Nation


All posts copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le.
Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

The views and opinions expressed on this site and blog posts (excluding comments on blog posts left by others) are entirely my own and do not represent those of any employer or organization with whom I am currently or previously have been associated.

Blog powered by WordPress

Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

July 9, 2006

Written by C.N.

U.S. and China Compete to Befriend Viet Nam

Apparently, times are good to Viet Nam these days. Their economy is the second-fastest growing in Asia behind China and as the NY Times reports, both the U.S. and China are competing with each other to become Viet Nam’s principal trading partner, with possibilities for other types of closer collaboration:

Vietnam’s leaders have made plain they want the United States on their side for equilibrium against China, a longtime occupier. Vietnam, though an ideological ally of Beijing, fears an expanding Chinese sphere of influence and being reduced to an economic appendage by China, its northern neighbor.

It has fought wars against China, most recently in 1979. But now, relations have “never been so good,” said Ton Nu Thi Ninh, the vice chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the National Assembly. “But that doesn’t mean they’re perfect,” she added. . . .

China and the United States are rapidly increasing their economic presence here. Chinese and American investments in Vietnam last year were about equal — a little more than $2 billion each, according to government figures.

Two-way trade between the United States and Vietnam rose to nearly $8 billion last year — from less than $1 billion in 2001 — most of it shrimp, clothes and shoes exports for American shoppers. Not to be outdone, the Chinese commerce minister, Bo Xilai, said in a visit here this month that trade between Vietnam and China could reach $10 billion in 2006, an increase of almost 40 percent from 2005.

As I’ve said before, there will be plenty of diehard anti-communist Vietnamese Americans who oppose normalizing and strengthening relations with the communist government in Viet Nam, and who will see these closer economic ties as rewarding the communists’ human rights abuses.

Nonetheless, I continue to see this trend of incorporating Viet Nam into the international mainstream to be a positive strategy. Rather than isolating and antagonizing them — as we do to North Korea who then react with unpredictable belligerence and threats of war — a growing international presence and economic prosperity in Viet Nam will hopefully lead to a gradual liberalization of government control over the lives of the Vietnamese people.

As the article notes, this has already happened when the Vietnamese government allowed for the creation of privately-owned small and medium-sized businesses in the country. As the old proverb says, there is a time and place for everything. Progress in Viet Nam will come — not today, and certainly not with any dreams of an armed uprising against the communists. But it will come one day . . .

Author Citation

Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "U.S. and China Compete to Befriend Viet Nam" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <> ().

Short URL:

Translate Into Another Language