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Huong Le Thu:
By Huong Le Thu - 10 Nov 2017
US President Donald Trump’s attendance at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Da Nang, as well as a call in Hanoi, along with his appearance at the East Asia Summit in Manila, will show whether the US-Vietnam momentum will continue or slow down.
A cancelation of or suspension of talks on the TPP means Vietnam will lose an important opportunity for international economic integration. And it is likely to result in a slow-down in Vietnamese reforms.
The river security of the Mekong has emerged as another area of growing contestation and despite its lower international profile and arguably lower global impact, this sub-region will have a determining factor on China’s relations with Southeast Asia.
The current regional political constellation — in particular the trend of concentrating on domestic politics at the expense of regional matters — partially explains the weakening commitment to ASEAN across Southeast Asia. This contributes to an expectation for countries with strong regional agendas, like Vietnam, to step up.
It was in Hanoi that the US President Barack Obama announced a full annulment of the US arms embargo on Vietnam — a decision hailed as a symbolic milestone in the closure to the painful wartime past.
Economic policies beg for a major update from the implementation of the Doi Moi reforms in 1986. To ensure full integration into the global economy, including fulfilling expectations of the TPP, Vietnam need to do some serious adjustments.