This picture taken on 2 December 2022 shows an employee working inside a packaging factory of Nam Thai Son Group in Ho Chi Minh City. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

Chinese investment and diversion of investment from China: Opportunities abound for Vietnam

While some Vietnamese are wary of Chinese investments, others see it as a good opportunity for their companies, especially SMEs to upgrade and upskill. With new opportunities afforded by investments from countries looking to diversify their supply chains from China, SMEs should be given a boost by the Vietnamese government in order for Vietnam to make the most out of the influx of capital.
Taiwanese soldiers demonstrate their combat skills during a visit by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen at a military base in Chiayi, Taiwan, on 6 January 2023. (Sam Yeh/AFP)

Taiwan Strait issue: Taking lessons from history

Tensions in China-US relations are increasing, with the Taiwan Strait issue central to the antagonism between the two major powers. Chinese academic Guo Bingyun assesses four models from history that the US may adopt in the event of an armed reunification, and why these approaches may or may not be effective.
Bustling Vietnam, with much potential to be a leading crypto hub in the future. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

Vietnam's vibrant crypto scene needs a regulatory framework

Vietnamese academic Huy Pham analyses Vietnam’s growth as a crypto hub. While it is high on the rankings in terms of crypto adoption rate, much still needs to be done to create a stable regulatory framework if it is to take advantage of the vast potential it has in growing its cryptocurrency industry.
Vietnam's Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong (C) walks with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (R) and National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue (L) as they attend the opening of the National Assembly's autumn session in Hanoi on 20 October 2022. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

Vietnam not veering closer to the US or China

It is not in Vietnam’s national interest to be overly dependent on China or the US. Hanoi is expected to continue to press ahead with efforts to build on its ties with the two major powers as part of its multi-directional foreign policy. There are, however, limits to both approaches. Given General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong's health situation, a physical trip to the US may not be feasible, and any diplomacy might have to be carried out long distance.
Chinese President Xi Jinping awarded the Friendship Medal to Communist Party of Vietnam General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in a grand award ceremony in the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, China, on 31 October 2022. (Xinhua)

China’s diplomacy in full swing after 20th Party Congress

Diplomatic activities appear to be back at full swing after the 20th Party Congress. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu notes that the visits by heads of states to China are driven by Beijing’s objectives of bringing its neighbours close, stabilising relations with Europe, and strengthening relations with developing countries. Will this help improve China’s relations and international image, especially amid the tense geopolitical background?
Superior EMS’s factory in the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park in Hai Duong province. It is using small modular machinery to automate its production lines. (SPH Media)

Can 'Made in Vietnam' replace 'Made in China'?

In this final of a seven-part Lianhe Zaobao-Business Times series on China and ASEAN, Lianhe Zaobao associate foreign news editor Sim Tze Wei travelled to Vietnam for a closer look at its economic rise, and whether “Made in Vietnam” can replace “Made in China”.
Workers assemble an electric car at the VinFast electric automobile plant in Haiphong, Vietnam, on 7 April 2022. (Nhac Nguyen/AFP)

Should Beijing worry about the exodus of manufacturing from China to Vietnam?

It appears that Beijing is losing some of its factory orders with MNCs and investors putting their bets on Vietnam. But maybe it is a win-win situation: as China moves to transition its economy to advanced manufacturing, countries like Vietnam with a young and relatively cheap labour force could fill the gap.
A woman walks pass the mural "No to war" by muralist Maximiliano Bagnasco in Buenos Aires on 5 March 2022. The mural is inspired by two war photographs from Ukraine and Vietnam. (Juan Mabromata/AFP)

The Russia-Ukraine war: Parallels and lessons for Vietnam

Vietnam’s nuanced approach to the Russia-Ukraine war and its refusal to single out Russia’s invasion suggest introspection in Hanoi over its foreign and defence policy calculations. Vietnam is well aware that a smaller state living next to a giant neighbour should not become a battlefield of great power conflict or depend on others for its survival. Learning from the experience of Ukraine, will it be able to strike a balance in its hedging between Washington and Beijing?
A Ukrainian man stands in the rubble in Zhytomyr on 2 March 2022, following a Russian bombing the day before. (Emmanuel Duparcq/AFP)

Russian invasion of Ukraine poses geopolitical quandaries for Vietnam

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine puts Vietnam in a bind, as the crisis is likely to sharpen the rivalry between Russia, China and the US. This will strain Vietnam’s efforts to balance its relations with the three major powers and have implications for its key concerns such as the South China Sea dispute. It remains to be seen how Vietnam can leverage its long-held omnidirectional foreign policy to manoeuvre its way through the crisis.