Inside Story

What’s behind Washington’s wooing of Vietnam?

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits Hanoi seeking closer relations.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been in Hanoi for talks with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and other leaders.

His trip came just after the 50th anniversary of the withdrawal of United States combat forces from South Vietnam, and the end of its direct military involvement in the Vietnam War.

Blinken enthused about a new era of cooperation – without mentioning Vietnam’s giant neighbour, China.

The US wants to deepen its relations with Vietnam. The once-warring countries already share strong trading ties.

Closer political and military cooperation, however, presents Hanoi with a difficult balancing act.

And Vietnam’s human rights record has been sharply criticised by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

So why is Washington wooing Vietnam?

Presenter: Dareen Abughaida


Chong Ja Ian – Associate Professor of political science at the National University of Singapore, and a nonresident fellow at Carnegie China

Natasha Lindstaedt – US foreign policy specialist and deputy dean of education in the department of government at the University of Essex

Donald Kirk – Veteran correspondent and author covering Asia and Vietnam extensively