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Modern Vietnam’s Relations with the World


Vietnam has changed rapidly in recent years. The country has developed economically and has sought to move on from the decades of conflict that it experienced during the 20th century. The government’s cancellation of the battle of Long Tan memorial ceremony in August 2016 highlights this desire.

Vietnam’s foreign relations are also growing deeper. It has upgraded its relationship with India to the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership. It has deepened relations with the US, to the point where the US has agreed to enhanced military cooperation. And, of course, China looms large on Vietnam’s horizon: the country has a substantial trade deficit with China and is locked into territorial disputes across the South China Sea. Much of what Vietnam does these days will impact upon its relationship with its enormously powerful northern neighbour.

Helen Clark, a foreign correspondent who spent more than six years in Southeast Asia, spoke with the AIIA for WA’s Flavia Zimmermann to reflect on Vietnam’s shifting relations with the world prior to her talk at the AIIA for WA on 27 September 2016.

Helen Clark spent over six years in Southeast Asia, largely Vietnam, as a foreign correspondent and magazine editor. She has written for The Economist, Time, The Diplomat and the AAP. She still writes on Vietnam for the Lowy Institute, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and the Huffington Post. She is the Oceania correspondent for The Diplomat.

Interviewed by Flavia Belllieni Zimmermann

Filmed and edited by: Nancye Miles-Tweedie

Published October 5, 2016

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