After considerable preparation, Nguyen Phu Trong, the Vietnamese Communist Party’s general secretary, is expected to embark on an important visit to the United States later this summer. Within the ambit of the U.S.-Vietnam-China triangular relationship, the high-profile visit of Vietnam’s party leader is expected to stir some controversy, raising critical questions over the evolving dynamic of Vietnam’s long-standing balancing strategy vis-à-vis great powers.
The exact date of Trong’s visit to the United States has yet to be confirmed, but Trong has already conducted a high-level visit to Beijing, where, together with President Xi Jinping, he has emphasized the importance of maintaining stable bilateral relations. Some analysts have interpreted this as a sign that Hanoi continues to place greater emphasis on maintaining stable, if not cordial, ties with its giant neighbor, despite their intensified jostling in the South China Sea. Upon closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that the trip to Beijing is largely designed as a “shock absorber” to offset the strategic fallout of Trong’s visit to Washington.
The Tragedy of Small Power Politics: Vietnam, the Philippines, and the Great Powers | cogitASIA CSIS Asia Policy Blog.