Foreign relations of Vietnam
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Politics and government of
||This article has no lead section. (March 2012)|
Soviet era 
In 1964, Zhou Enlai, worried about the escalation of U.S. forces in South Vietnam, made an informal agreement with the North. The agreement stipulated that if U.S. and South Vietnamese forces invaded North Vietnam, the Chinese would respond by loaning pilots to the North. During the invasion, Mao Zedong failed to send as many trained pilots as he promised. As a result, the North became more reliant on the Soviet Union for its defense.
By 1975, tension began to grow as Beijing increasingly viewed Vietnam as a potential Soviet instrument to encircle China. Meanwhile, Beijing's increasing support for Cambodia's Khmer Rouge sparked Vietnamese suspicions of China's motives.
Vietnamese-Chinese relations deteriorated significantly after Hanoi instituted a ban in March 1978 on private trade, a move that particularly affected the Sino-Vietnamese sector of the population. Following Vietnam's December 1978 invasion of Cambodia, China launched a retaliatory invasion of Vietnam's northern border region. Faced with severance of Chinese aid and strained international relations, Vietnam established even closer ties with the Soviet Union and its allies in the Comecon member states. Throughout the 1980s, Vietnam received nearly US$3 billion a year in economic and military aid from the Soviet Union and conducted most of its trade with the U.S.S.R. and Comecon countries. Soviet and Eastern bloc economic aid, however, ceased after the break-up of the Soviet Union.
'Doi Moi' 
Vietnam did not begin to emerge from international isolation until it withdrew its troops from Cambodia in 1989. Within months of the 1991 Paris Agreements, Vietnam established diplomatic and economic relations with Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states and also with most countries of Western Europe and Asia's Far East. China re-established full diplomatic ties with Vietnam in 1991. The two nations concluded a land border demarcation agreement in 1999.
In the past decade, Vietnam has recognized the importance of growing global economic interdependence and has made concerted efforts to adjust its foreign relations to reflect the evolving international economic and political situation in Southeast Asia. The country has begun to integrate itself into the regional and global economy by joining international organizations. Vietnam has stepped up its efforts to attract foreign capital from the West and regularize relations with the world financial system. In the 1990s, following the lifting of the US veto on multilateral loans to the country, Vietnam became a member of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Asian Development Bank. The country has expanded trade with its East Asian neighbors as well as with countries in Western Europe and North America. Of particular significance was Vietnam's acceptance into ASEAN in July 1995. Vietnam joined the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC) in November 1998 and also hosted the ASEAN summit the following month. In 2005, Vietnam attended the inaugural East Asia Summit. Vietnam became a member of the World Trade Organization in November 2006.
Current issues 
While Vietnam has remained relatively conflict-free since its Cambodia days, tensions have arisen in the past between Vietnam and its neighbors, especially in the case of China since both nations assert claims to the Spratly Islands, an archipelago in a potentially oil-rich area of the South China Sea. Conflicting claims have produced over the years small scale armed altercations in the area. In 1988, more than 70 Vietnamese troops were killed during a confrontation with Chinese forces, when China occupied several islands under Vietnamese control in the Spratly Islands. China's assertion of control over the Spratly Islands and the entire South China Sea has elicited concern from Vietnam and its Southeast Asia neighbors. The territorial border between the two countries is being definitively mapped pursuant to a Land Border Agreement signed in December 1999, and an Agreement on Borders in the Gulf of Tonkin signed in December 2000. Vietnam and Russia declared a strategic partnership in March 2001 during the first visit ever to Hanoi of a Russian head of state, largely as an attempt to counterbalance China's growing profile in Southeast Asia.
Disputes - international: maritime boundary with Cambodia not defined; involved in a complex dispute over the Spratly Islands with the People's Republic of China (PRC), Republic of China (ROC), Malaysia, Philippines, and possibly Brunei; maritime boundary with Thailand resolved in August 1997; maritime boundary dispute with the PRC in the Gulf of Tonkin resolved in 2000; Paracel Islands occupied by the PRC but claimed by Vietnam and the ROC; offshore islands and sections of boundary with Cambodia are in dispute; agreement on land border with the People's Republic of China was signed in December 1999.
Illicit drugs: minor producer of opium poppy with 21 km2 cultivated in 1999, capable of producing 11 metric tons of opium; probably minor transit point for Southeast Asian heroin destined for the US and Europe; growing opium/heroin addiction; possible small-scale heroin production
Southeast Asia 
Since the 1990s, relations between both nations have begun to improve. Both Vietnam and Cambodia are members of multilateral regional organizations such as ASEAN and the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation. Both nations have opened and developed cross-border trade and sought to relax visa regulations to that end. Both governments have set official targets of increasing bilateral trade by 27% to USD 2.3 billion by 2010 and to USD 6.5 billion by 2015. Vietnam exported USD 1.2 billion worth of goods to Cambodia in 2007. While Cambodia is only the 16th largest importer of Vietnamese goods, Vietnam is Cambodia's third-largest export market.
Although Vietnam's historical record of leadership in the revolution and its military power and proximity will not cease to exist, Laos struck out ahead of Vietnam with its New Economic Mechanism to introduce market mechanisms into its economy. In so doing, Laos has opened the door to rapprochement with Thailand and China at some expense to its special dependence on Vietnam. Laos might have reached the same point of normalization in following Vietnam's economic and diplomatic change, but by moving ahead resolutely and responding to Thai and Chinese gestures, Laos has broadened its range of donors, trading partners, and investors independent of Vietnam's attempts to accomplish the same goal. Thus, Vietnam remains in the shadows as a mentor and emergency ally, and the tutelage of Laos has shifted dramatically to development banks and international entrepreneurs.
Ever since the end of the Cold War relations between the Philippines and Vietnam has warmed rapidly. Today the Philippines and Vietnam are economic allies and have a free trade deal with each other. Both nations are a part of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). The Philippines and Vietnam have conducted joint military exercises together in the South China Sea and are trying to find ways to turn the Spratly Islands from an area of conflict to an area of cooperation. Vietnam is also sometimes called the only communist military ally of the Philippines. The Philippines and Vietnam are also monitoring China's expansion into the South China Sea making sure that China is no threat to either Philippine or Vietnamese islands in the South China Sea. The Philippines also imports a large amount of writing material, clothes and other products from Vietnam. On May 2009, The Philippines has inked an agreement with Vietnam to cooperate in the fight against crimes and ensuring social order. On January 2010, the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Vietnam bourse “for mutual collaboration and communication of information and experience” to facilitate the development and efficient operations of both securities markets.
Vietnam and Indonesia are both members of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
President Megawati Sukarnoputri of Indonesia visited Vietnam in June 2003. At this time the two countries signed a "Declaration on the Framework of Friendly and Comprehensive Cooperation Entering the 21st Century". In May, 2005 President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia visited Vietnam. In the December of the same year festivities were organized in the respective capital cities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.
Vietnam has an embassy in Bangkok, and Thailand has an embassy in Hanoi.
East Asia 
People's Republic of China 
After both sides resumed trade links in 1991, growth in bilateral trade has increased from USD $32 million in 1991 to almost USD 7.2 billion by 2004. Both governments have set the target of increasing trade volume to USD 10 billion by 2010. Vietnam's exports to China include crude oil, coal, coffee and food, while China exports pharmaceuticals, machinery, petroleum, fertilizers and automobile parts to Vietnam. China has become Vietnam's second-largest trading partner and the largest source of imports. Both nations are working to establish an "economic corridor" from China's Yunnan province to Vietnam's northern provinces and cities, and similar economic zones in the Gulf of Tonkin and connecting the Nanning of Guangxi province, Lang Son province, Hanoi, Haiphong and Quang Ninh province of Vietnam. Air and sea transport as well as railway have been opened between the two countries, so have the 7 pairs of national-level ports in the frontier provinces and regions of the two countries. Both sides have also launched joint ventures such as the Thai Nguyen Steel Complex, which produces hundreds of thousands of tones of steel products.
Following the 23 October 1991 Final Act of the International Paris Conference on Cambodia among the Cambodian parties, Indonesia (as co-chair with France), and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Japan promptly established diplomatic relations and ended economic restrictions with Cambodia and Vietnam. In November 1992, Tokyo offered Vietnam US$370 million in aid. Japan also took a leading role in peacekeeping activities in Cambodia. Japan's Akashi Yasushi, UN undersecretary for disarmament, was head of the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia, and Japan pledged US$3 million and even sent approximately 2,000 personnel, including members of the SDF, to participate directly in maintaining the peace. Despite the loss of a Japanese peacekeeper killed in an ambush, the force remained in Cambodia until the Cambodians were able to elect and install a government.
Japan is the single biggest country donor to Vietnam. It has pledged $US890 million in aid for the country this year, or 6.5 percent higher than the 2006 level of $US835.6 million.
South Korea 
North Korea 
Diplomatic relations between Vietnam and North Korea dated back to 1950, and students from North Vietnam began studying in North Korea as early as 1960s.
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Bulgaria||1950-02-08||See Bulgaria–Vietnam relations
|Croatia||1994-07-01||See Foreign relations of Croatia|
|Cuba||1960-12-02||See Cuba–Vietnam relations|
|Denmark||1971-11-25||See Denmark–Vietnam relations
|Finland||1973-01-25||See Foreign relations of Finland|
|France||1973-04-12||See France–Vietnam relations
France-Vietnam relations started as early as the 17th century with the mission of the Jesuit father Alexandre de Rhodes. Various traders would visit Vietnam during the 18th century, until the major involvement of French forces under Pigneau de Béhaine to help establish the Nguyễn Dynasty from 1787 to 1789. France was heavily involved in Vietnam in the 19th century under the pretext of protecting the work of Catholic missionaries in the country. France progressively carved for itself a huge colony, which would form French Indochina in 1887. France continued to rule Vietnam as a colony until France’s defeat in the First Indochina War and the proclamation of Vietnam’s independence in 1954.
|Greece||1975-04-15||See Foreign relations of Greece|
|Holy See||No||See Holy See – Vietnam relations
With the end of the Vietnam War, the Apostolic Delegate was forced to leave. Since an apostolic delegation, unlike an embassy, is not a bilateral institution with involvement by the State, the Apostolic Delegation for Vietnam has not been suppressed, but has remained inactive since 1975. In January 2011 the Holy See appointed the first ambassador, formally "non-resident representative to Vietnam" with Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli being the first to hold the post in addition to Archbishop Girelli's other role as Apostolic Nuncio to Singapore and Apostolic Delegate to Malaysia.
Temporary missions from the Holy See to discuss with the Government matters of common interest are sent every year or two, and there has been at least one visit to the Vatican by a Vietnamese mission. Marxism and communism officially promoted atheism, causing Roman Catholics and other Christians to be associated with the anti-communist South Vietnam region. This has strained relations between the Holy See and the Hanoi Government. Leading bishops have been imprisoned for several years, in what some observers have described as a persecution of the Vietnamese Church. There is also a question of Church property confiscated by the Vietnamese government and that the Church has sought to recover.
|Ireland||1996-04-05||See Foreign relations of the Republic of Ireland|
|Italy||1973-03-23||See Foreign relations of Italy|
|Luxembourg||1973-11-15||See Luxembourg–Vietnam relations|
|Netherlands||1973-04-09||See Dutch–Vietnam relations
Netherlands has an embassy in Hanoi, Daeha Office Tower, 6th floor 360, Kim Ma Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, and a consulate in Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon Tower, Suite 901, 29 Le Duan Boulevard, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City,
|Russia||1950-01-30 （as USSR）||See Russia–Vietnam relations|
|Serbia||1957-03-10（as SFR Yugoslavia）||
Rest of world 
|Country||Formal Relations Began||Notes|
|Brazil||1989-05-08||See Foreign relations of Brazil|
|Egypt||1963-09-01||See Foreign relations of Egypt|
|India||1972-01-07||See India–Vietnam relations
India and Vietnam are members of the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation, created to develop to enhance close ties between India and nations of Southeast Asia. Vietnam has supported India's bid to become a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and join the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). In the 2003 joint declaration, India and Vietnam envisaged creating an "Arc of Advantage and Prosperity" in Southeast Asia; to this end, Vietnam has backed a more important relationship and role between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its negotiation of an Indo-ASEAN free trade agreement. India and Vietnam have also built strategic partnerships, including extensive cooperation on developing nuclear power, enhancing regional security and fighting terrorism, transnational crime and drug trafficking.
|Iran||1973-08-04||See Iran–Vietnam relations|
|Iraq||1968-07-10||See Iraq–Vietnam relations
|Israel||1993-07-12||See Israel–Vietnam relations
|Mongolia||1954-11-17||See Mongolia-Vietnam relations
The countries signed a Friendship and Cooperation Treaty in 1961, renewed it in 1979, and signed a new one in 1995. On 13 January 2003, the countries signed an 8-point cooperative document committing to cooperation between the two governments and their legislative bodies, replacing an earlier document signed in 1998.
There have been 13 sessions of the Vietnam-Mongolia inter-governmental committee on cooperation in trade, economics and sci-tech, with the next to be held in Ulaanbaatar in 2010. On 25 May 2004 in Ulaanbaatar, the countries signed agreements on railway transport and scientific and technological cooperation. Other agreements have covered areas such as plant protection and quarantine regulations, customs, health and education.
Pakistan opened its Embassy in Hanoi in 1973. However, due to economic reasons, Pakistan closed the embassy in 1980. Vietnam also opened its embassy in Islamabad in 1978 and had to close it down in 1984 due to its own economic difficulty. Bilateral relations between Pakistan and Vietnam in recent years have considerably improved. Both countries' leaders expressed their willingness to strengthen their existing relations, not only in the political sphere but also in other areas such as trade and economics, and exchange more visits from one to another’s country, including both high-ranking and working visits. Pakistan reopened its embassy in Hanoi in October 2000. Vietnam also reopened its embassy in Islamabad in December 2005 and trade office in Karachi in November 2005.
|United States||1995-07-11||See United States – Vietnam relations|
|Venezuela||1989-12-18||See Vietnam-Venezuela relations
Vietnam has had an embassy in Caracas and Venezuela an embassy in Hanoi. Though bilateral trade was $11.7 million in 2007 relations show "great potential". Over the past ten years, the two countries have witnessed new developments in various fields, including politics, economics, culture and society, particularly in the oil and gas industry.
Vietnamese President Nguyen Minh Triet arrived in Caracas on 18 November for a two-day official visit on an invitation from Hugo Chávez. Triet hailed Vietnam's friendship with Venezuela as he sought to focus on tying up oil and gas deals, including a joint development fund. He said that "We (Vietnamese) are grateful for the support and solidarity that they (Venezuelans) have offered us until now." Triet said.
Since Hugo Chávez's visit to Vietnam in 2006, his government stepped up bilateral relations with the country, which also included a visit by the Communist Party General Secretary, Nong Duc Manh in 2007. Petroleos de Venezuela and PetroVietnam also announced a number of joint projects since the 2006 visit, including PetroVietnam's was given a concession in the Orinoco basin and an agreement to transport Venezuelan oil to Vietnam, where the two would together build an oil refinery that Vietnam lacks. On the 2006 visit Chavez praised Vietnam's revolutionary history as he attacked the United States for its "imperialist" crimes in the Vietnam War. On the 2008 visit Triet returned similar comments as he lauded a group of Venezuelans who captured a US soldier during the Vietnam war in an unsuccessful bid to prevent the execution of a Vietnamese revolutionary. The two leaders also signed a deal for a $200 million joint fund and 15 cooperation projects.
In March 2008 an agreement was signed to cooperate in tourism between Vietnam and Venezuela. President Nguyen Minh Triet received the PDVSA’s Vice President Asdrubal Chavez and stated that oil and gas cooperation would become a typical example of their multi-faceted cooperation. In 2009 the Venezuelan government approved $46.5 million for an agricultural development project with Vietnam.
See also 
- List of diplomatic missions in Vietnam
- List of diplomatic missions of Vietnam
- Visa requirements for Vietnamese citizens
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