Vietnam

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While vacation travel remains slow to non-existent in many parts of the world, diplomatic visits are continuing. And that’s true this week in Asia — where Japan’s new prime minister is on his first overseas trip since taking office just about a month ago.

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Areas that have been the most successful in dealing with the coronavirus have generally acted quickly to fight it. That’s been the case in Vietnam — which is facing a new challenge this week.

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Governor David Ige says he’s close to announcing details of a plan to re-open trans-Pacific travel to Hawaii. Other locations in the region are taking a cautious approach, but moving to a new phase this week.

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Government officials in Hawaii and many other travel destinations are trying to figure out how to safely encourage tourism. In southeast Asia, the short-term answer is closer to home.

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Some restrictions are gradually loosening on businesses around the state this week and next week –although we are still some time from ramping up travel to Hawaii. But there are some countries in the Asia Pacific that are taking a different kind of attitude to certain types of travel.

AP Photo/Hau Dinh

The World Health Organization is updating its advice to countries when it comes to dealing with COVID-19.  The recommendations cover topics from transmission to testing and contact tracing. WHO officials have recently praised several countries for their handling of the pandemic—and that list includes a surprise for some people: Vietnam.

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Today closes out the first month of the new year. And it’s a chance to look at the early impact of some laws that changed with the start of 2020. There is one legal adjustment in Vietnam that has already had a big effect.

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Details are still settling on the first phase of a trade deal between the United States and China. One country that has benefitted from the recent trade tension is Vietnam — and other countries in the region are taking note.

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DO THANH, Vietnam — One family received a final text from their daughter saying she couldn't breathe and was dying. Another grieving family set up a makeshift altar for their missing daughter who paid $10,000 in hopes of pursuing a career as a nail technician in Britain. A desperate father is searching for his son, who frequently calls home but hasn't since last week.

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Indonesia’s Navy reports that one of its patrol boats was rammed by a Vietnamese coast guard vessel in the South China Sea. The incident stemmed from a dispute over fishing rights.

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As President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un prepare for their second summit, a lot of attention has shifted to the country hosting the meeting: Vietnam. While the country’s political system is still under the tight control of the Communist Party, the economy has expanded its ties with international businesses.

California Surf Museum

In the early years of the Vietnam War a cultural revolution was underway on the West Coast of the United States. It wasn't women's liberation or the counterculture. It was the Shortboard Revolution. As the modern sport of surfing was taking shape, many of its earliest adopters were being sent to war the jungles of Vietnam.

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Two Americans are among a group of twelve people convicted of subversion in Vietnam yesterday. A court in Ho Chi Minh City said the Americans were sent to Vietnam by a group in California that’s still loyal to the South Vietnamese government that collapsed in 1975.

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Over the weekend, more than a hundred people were arrested during sometimes violent demonstrations in Vietnam. The protests followed a government proposal to create Special Economic Zones, but the real issue was China.

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China has stepped up military activity in the disputed waters of the South China Sea. As part of a training exercise, Chinese strategic bombers landed at a base in the Paracel Islands for the first time. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

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After a meeting in Hanoi, the foreign ministers of China and Vietnam agreed to settle their differences in the South China Sea peacefully. But the announcement may not be what it seems. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Negative Space / Pexels
Negative Space / Pexels

Criticism of the government is a daily occurrence on line in this country. But that’s not the case everywhere. And leaders in one nation in the Asia Pacific are taking new steps to crack down on views they don’t like. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

StockSnap / Pixabay
StockSnap / Pixabay

A blogger in Vietnam has been sentenced to seven years in prison for “disseminating propaganda against the state.” The charges involve the way he covered the reaction to a toxic spill from a steel plant. They also illustrate the extent to which Vietnam’s government cracks down on freedom of expression. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

As you’ve been hearing on NPR this today, the annual APEC leaders’ meeting is now underway in Vietnam. APEC stands for “Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation,” and the gathering is familiar to residents of Honolulu—which hosted the event in 2011. But this year, it’s a new experience for a very old city. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

The Prime Minister of Vietnam has wrapped up a three-day visit to the United States—meeting President Donald Trump at the White House. The two leaders talked about trade deals worth billions of dollars, but they also talked about a trade imbalance that has changed dramatically in recent years. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

King Kong will not be heading to Vietnam. Government officials are abandoning plans to build a life-size statue of the movie star by a popular lake in the nation’s capital. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

People around the world are eating more fish than ever before. That word comes from the United Nations—which also reports most of the biggest consumers of seafood live in Asia. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

French Naval forces caught three Vietnamese vessels fishing illegally in New Caledonia. Four others were detained there two weeks ago and last month Papua New Guinea’s Fisheries minister described the so-called Blue Boats as a threat to national security. We have more from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

More military activity in the South China Sea: according to Fox News, China sent a long range bomber to patrol the area last week. The Fox report cited two American officials who described the show of force as a message to the incoming Trump administration.

Arian Zwegers / Flickr
Arian Zwegers / Flickr

Motorcycles are a common form of transportation in many developing countries, in part because they’re cheaper than cars. But in one of the biggest markets in the world, radical change may be coming. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

If you’ve ever tried to cross a road in a major city in Vietnam as a pedestrian, you’re familiar with the local popularity of motorcycles.  Honda—which produces more motorcycles than any other company in the world---says Vietnam is the number four global market for the two-wheelers.

President Obama's visit to Vietnam this week has focused on economic and strategic issues and on Human rights. Vietnam rigorously suppresses dissent and, late this week,  four Vietnamese go on trial for an act regarded as a right in much of the world...trying to leave the country. We have details from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.

Prince Roy / Flickr
Prince Roy / Flickr

(As you heard earlier on Morning Edition/ATC), President Obama continues his Asian travels today with another day in Vietnam. While the president’s meetings include a focus on political and security issues, trade is another key topic. And it’s one that U.S. companies have been paying attention to for decades. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

23 years ago, the United States still had a trade embargo against Vietnam.

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons

This is an important week for the political future of Vietnam. The country’s leadership will be undergoing some changes at the weeklong Communist Party Congress. But local media are focused on the death of a famous turtle—and even that has political overtones. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.

Pixabay Commons
Pixabay commons

  For the first time in several decades, the United States will start selling certain kinds of weapons to Vietnam. The partial lifting of an embargo comes as regional tensions remain in the South China Sea. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Flickr Commons
Flickr Commons

  There’s a new twist this week in security issues around the South China Sea. Vietnam will be receiving half a dozen patrol ships from an Asian neighbor…in a move that has wider regional implications. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

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