Archive for Robert Gates

The Meeting of Defense Ministers in Hanoi

Posted in Politics with tags , , on October 16, 2010 by Ian Pham

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.

Vietnam Raises Issue Over Chinese Piracy

Posted in Politics with tags , , , , , on October 8, 2010 by Ian Pham

On September 11, 2010, the Chinese navy captured several more Vietnamese fishermen in the Southeast Asia Sea.  The civilians are currently detained by the Beijing government, possibly awaiting ransom from Hanoi.  The incident took place in close proximity to the Paracel Islands (Hoang Sa) where the Chinese claim to control.

Days ago, October 6, 2010, Hanoi published statements demanding the release of the fishermen from Chinese custody.  The Chinese accuse the fishermen of carrying explosives on their boat and refuse to release them until a fine is paid (remember the “ransom” that I previously mentioned).  Hanoi, however, states that there were no explosives, no law has been broken and that the fishermen are not at fault.  The fishermen are still in Chinese custody and are yet to be released.

For the first time, the Vietnamese government has taken a less-than-shameful stance on behalf of their citizens.  A regional security meeting is to take place in Hanoi next week.  High-ranking Chinese officials will be there, U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, will also be attending.  What this means for Vietnam-China relations is still yet to be determined.  The situation has been quiet in Vietnam lately, hopefully something good will come in the near future.