Completing the Vietnam-
US Normalization Process

The Bush II Administration's Economic and
Security Policy in East/Southeast Asia and
Implications for Vietnam

June 9-20, 2001
Washington, DC

Project Description

Although Vietnam and the United States are no longer involved in a military or Cold War conflict and bilateral political and economic relations have improved considerably after the lifting of the US trade embargo and the normalization of diplomatic relations, US-Vietnam relations are still characterized by tensions and issues unresolved from the war, disagreement about human rights, and the lingering effects of the protracted negotiations over the Bilateral Trade Agreement (BTA). Nonetheless, both countries share common interests in the region, including supporting a constructive role for China in Southeast Asia and the South China Sea, political stability and economic prosperity in Indochina and among ASEAN countries, and a peaceful settlement of the China-Taiwan dispute. For the United States, Vietnam has an increasingly important role to play in regional stability, especially given the recent upheavals in Indonesia, Burma, Cambodia, and Laos.

This project focused on the current bilateral relationship and moving it one step further toward mutually beneficial relations. The program included ten younger-generation foreign, economic, and security policy specialists from the Vietnamese government who are expected to move into more prominent and high-profile roles in Hanoi in the near future.

The project included a one-day seminar at the School for Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University aimed at assessing the Bush II administration's current and ongoing review of its East and Southeast Asian economic and security policies as well as issues surrounding the ratification of the BTA. The delegation attended briefings at the Department of Defense, Department of Commerce, Department of State, and met with congressional staff and members. The group also participated in briefings with NGOs, business groups, and think tanks including the US-Vietnam Trade Council, the Center for National Policy, the Brookings Institution, and the Center for Strategic International Studies.

The briefings and meetings provided an opportunity for dialogue for officials and policy analysts from both the United States and Vietnam. The sessions focused on key questions such as economic trade integration, regional security concerns in Southeast Asia, and the future of US-China relations and its impact on Vietnam.

The project was organized by Jennifer Davies, program associate at the Stanley Foundation and coordinated with Nguyen Thai Yen Huong, deputy head of Euro-American Studies Division, Institute of International Relations.

For more information about this project, please contact Jennifer Davies.