A New Vietnam?

In contrast to his coolness toward China, President Bush can warm up ties with another Communist-run state in Asia.

Vietnam put on a fresh face this week in appointing a new party leader, Nong Duc Manh, who is university-educated and reform-minded - and has turned the National Assembly into something other than a rubber-stamp for the Communist Party. He's also the first Vietnamese leader with an ethnic- minority background, which may help him quell unrest among minorities.

The party made a point of ousting his conservative predecessor, Le Kha Phieu, a military man with a grammar-school education who made many mistakes. Mr. Phieu embarrassed President Clinton last year on a visit to Hanoi by lecturing him.

Vietnam models itself largely on China in imposing strong state control over a limited market economy. But the party hasn't provided much progress for the people or dampened official corruption. Mr. Manh has the skills to broaden the party consensus for further opening of the economy, a risky move in a one-party state that stifles dissent.

To help boost its exports, Vietnam wants Congress to pass a pending trade pact completed by Mr. Clinton. But Mr. Bush wants to package the deal with other trade matters before Congress, which would delay it.

Ironically, Hanoi plans to lobby in Washington for this capitalist measure. The president should listen.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK