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Thayer Vietnam's Defence Minister to Visit the US

Thayer Vietnam's Defence Minister to Visit the US

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Published by Carlyle Alan Thayer
An analysis of the upcoming visit by General Phung Quang Thanh, Vietnam's Minister of National Defence, to Washington, D.C., 13th-18th December 2009.
An analysis of the upcoming visit by General Phung Quang Thanh, Vietnam's Minister of National Defence, to Washington, D.C., 13th-18th December 2009.

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Published by: Carlyle Alan Thayer on Dec 10, 2009
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12/09/2009

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Background Briefing:Vietnam’s Defence Minister toVisit the United StatesCarlyle A. ThayerDecember 9, 2009
[client
 
name
 
withheld]
 
QUESTION:
 
What
 
is
 
the
 
significance
 
and
 
purpose
 
of 
 
the
 
upcoming
 
visit
 
by
 
Vietnam’s
 
Minister
 
of 
 
National
 
Defence,
 
General
 
Phung
 
Quang
 
Thanh
 
to
 
the
 
United
 
States?
 
Last
 
year
 
Vietnam
 
and
 
the
 
United
 
States
 
initiated
 
a
 
strategic
 
dialogue
 
and
 
the
 
forthcoming
 
visit
 
by
 
Defence
 
Minister
 
Phung
 
Quang
 
Thanh
 
is
 
one
 
of 
 
the
 
outcomes.
 
His
 
visit
 
will
 
be
 
in
 
reciprocation
 
for
 
the
 
visit
 
by
 
Defense
 
Secretary
 
Donald
 
Rumsfeld
 
in
 
2006.
 
The
 
timing
 
could
 
not
 
be
 
better
 
as
 
Vietnam
 
searches
 
for
 
international
 
support
 
to
 
curb
 
Chinese
 
assertiveness
 
in
 
the
 
South
 
China
 
Sea.
 
The
 
United
 
States
 
has
 
been
 
pressing
 
Vietnam
 
to
 
step
 
up
 
the
 
level
 
of 
 
defence
 
cooperation
 
in
 
a
 
number
 
of 
 
areas,
 
such
 
as
 
US
 
assistance
 
to
 
train
 
Vietnamese
 
peacekeepers
 
to
 
serve
 
under
 
the
 
United
 
Nations.
 
The
 
US
 
is
 
also
 
pressing
 
for
 
a
 
cross
 
servicing
 
access
 
agreement.
 
The
 
Vietnamese
 
want
 
US
 
restrictions
 
on
 
the
 
sale
 
of 
 
military
 
equipment
 
to
 
be
 
eased.
 
They
 
also
 
want
 
more
 
forthright
 
US
 
assistance
 
to
 
address
 
the
 
legacy
 
of 
 
Agent
 
Orange.
 
On
 
the
 
surface
 
General
 
Thanh’s
 
visit
 
will
 
be
 
a
 
carefully
 
choreographed
 
event.
 
There
 
will
 
be
 
no
 
outward
 
sign
 
that
 
Vietnam
 
and
 
the
 
United
 
States
 
are
 
combining
 
to
 
contain
 
China.
 
But
 
beneath
 
the
 
surface
 
both
 
sides
 
know
 
that
 
any
 
step
 
up
 
in
 
bilateral
 
defence
 
relations
 
will
 
be
 
read
 
that
 
way
 
in
 
Beijing.
 
[client
 
name
 
withheld]
 
QUESTION:
 
Vietnam’s
 
defense
 
minister
 
Phung
 
Quang
 
Thanh
 
will
 
visit
 
the
 
Pentagon
 
from
 
December
 
13
18;
 
do
 
you
 
know
 
what
 
will
 
be
 
discussed?
 
Do
 
you
 
think
 
there
 
will
 
be
 
breakthrough
 
moves
 
in
 
the
 
military
 
relation
 
between
 
the
 
US
 
and
 
Vietnam
 
following
 
Thanh’s
 
visit?
 
Are
 
there
 
anything
 
relating
 
to
 
the
 
release
 
of 
 
White
 
Paper
 
with
 
Thanh’s
 
visit
 
to
 
the
 
US?
 
ANSWER:
 
Minister
 
Phung
 
Quang
 
Thanh’s
 
visit
 
to
 
the
 
United
 
States
 
is
 
a
 
belated
 
reciprocal
 
visit
 
of 
 
Defense
 
Secretary
 
Donald
 
Rumsfeld’s
 
trip
 
to
 
Hanoi
 
in
 
2006.
 
It
 
is
 
also
 
follows
 
the
 
first
 
strategic
 
dialogue
 
between
 
Hanoi
 
and
 
Washington
 
held
 
in
 
late
 
2008.
 
The
 
initiation
 
of 
 
the
 
strategic
 
dialogue
 
is
 
the
 
more
 
important
 
of 
 
the
 
two
 
events.
 
It
 
signals
 
Vietnam’s
 
willingness
 
to
 
advance
 
the
 
bilateral
 
defence
 
relationship
 
after
 
a
 
long
 
period
 
of 
 
going
 
slow.
 
Thayer Consultancy
ABN # 65 648 097 123

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