The Meeting of Defense Ministers in Hanoi

Last sunday, October 10, 2010, the meeting of the defense ministers took place in Hanoi.  In attendance were Vietnam, China, the U.S., and the rest of the members of ASEAN.

The highlights of these meetings were the further improvements between Vietnam-U.S. relations.  It has been 15 years since diplomatic relations have been normalized and today it is stronger than ever.

However, both sides are still somewhat weary of each other.  Vietnam is aware that U.S. involvement is part of a larger American national interest, something that will shift, as national interests often do.  The U.S. are still concerned over Vietnam’s dictatorial regime, and human rights is still a big issue.

Also taking place in Hanoi was America’s offer of reconciliation to China.  U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates had a personal meeting with his Chinese counterpart to discuss fixing military ties.

Finally, one may be delighted to hear that China has finally released the Vietnamese fishermen captured earlier last month.  The Chinese still want a fine, but the Vietnamese are not paying for it, firmly stating the innocence of the civilians.

That’s the summary of what took place in Vietnam last week.  Maybe in time they might finally get around to talking about human rights and freedom of speech.  I know it’s a stretch, but anything is possible.

U.S. Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates, at the meeting in Hanoi last sunday, October 10, 2010.

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