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Vietnam and the New US: Developing ‘Like-minded’ partners

By Huong Le Thu

Half a century ago, few countries would have been happier with the idea of the ‘American decline’ than the North Vietnam. Forty years later, however, a few in the Asia-Pacific region appear to be more disappointed about American ‘abdication’ from strategic presence in the region than Vietnam (that unified under formerly North Vietnam in 1975). While the change seems paramount, one thing is constant – the relationship has never been free from geopolitics.

This chapter explains how the former adversaries have become the “like-minded partners” and what implications for regional power balance would that have. It argues that Trump’s presidency, while not without concerns, is not likely to hamper the positive momentum in the bilateral security cooperation. Vietnam is likely to play a stronger role in American vision of the free and open “Indo-Pacific”, and it is the maritime cooperation that will draw the two parties closer.

The above is an extract from the Perth USAsia Centre report, Vietnam in the Indo-Pacific: Challenges and opportunities in a new regional landscape. The chapter, Vietnam and the New US: Developing ‘Like-minded’ partners. was contributed by Dr Huong LeThu.

Download the full report here.