Vietnam and East Asia Blog

Hanoi publicises 500 firms with prolonged insurance debts – VietNam Breaking News

“Hanoi (VNA) – The Hanoi Social Insurance has decided to publicise 500 local enterprises which failed to pay social premiums for their employees for three months upwards. Hanoi now has the highest debts of social, health and unemployment insurance, standing at 3,378 billion VND (148.8 million USD) owed by 23,955 enterprises, affecting the legitimate rights of 334,694 labourers.”

Source: Hanoi publicises 500 firms with prolonged insurance debts – VietNam Breaking News

Posted in: Post War Problems in Vietnam

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Why Vietnam Was Unwinnable – by Kevin Boylan – NYT

“There is a broad consensus among professional historians that the Vietnam War was effectively unwinnable. Even the revisionists admit their minority status, though some claim that it’s because of a deep-seated liberal bias within the academic history profession. But doubts about the war’s winnability are hardly limited to the halls of academe. One can readily find them in the published works of official Army historians like Dr. Jeffrey J. Clarke, whose book “Advice and Support: The Final Years, 1965-1973” h

Source: Why Vietnam Was Unwinnable – The New York Times

Posted in: Vietnam-American War

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It’s Not Too Late on North Korea – by Susan Rice – NYT | Inconvenient News Worldwide

“We carefully studied this contingency. “Preventive war” would result in hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of casualties. Metropolitan Seoul’s 26 million people are only 35 miles from the border, within easy range of the North’s missiles and artillery. About 23,000 United States troops, plus their families, live between Seoul and the Demilitarized Zone; in total, at least 200,000 Americans reside in South Korea.

Japan, and almost 40,000 United States military personnel there, would also be in the cross hairs. The risk to American territory cannot be discounted, nor the prospect of China being drawn into a direct conflict with the United States. Then there would be the devastating impact of war on the global economy.”

“. . . By most assessments, Mr. Kim is vicious and impetuous, but not irrational. Thus, while we quietly continue to refine our military options, we can rely on traditional deterrence by making crystal clear that any use of nuclear weapons against the United States or its allies would result in annihilation of North Korea. Defense Secretary James Mattis struck this tone on Wednesday. The same red line must apply to any proof that North Korea has transferred nuclear weapons to another state or nonstate actor.

Second, to avoid blundering into a costly war, the United States needs to immediately halt the reckless rhetoric. John Kelly, Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, must assert control over the White House, including his boss, and curb the Trump surrogates whipping up Cuban missile crisis fears.

Third, we must enhance our antimissile systems and other defenses, and those of our allies, which need our reassurances more than ever.”

I posted the following at the NYT:

David Lindsay

Hamden, CT

Excellent analysis and reporting by Susan Rice. I would add, I read a good idea by a commentator at the NYT who suggested, the US should woo North Korea into a de-escalation. We could, for example. offer to pull our military forces out of South Korea in exchange for their giving up their nuclear weapons program. It would be useful if talks could start, aimed at giving both countries what they want or need. I add to the commentators idea, it might be necessary to let the North Koreans keep the nuclear weapons that they have. This might be acceptable, if we could get them to allow verification that they stop all further development. I continue to be depressed by most of the discussion. It is arrogance for the US to think that it has to be in charge of North Korea, when they are China’s neighbor and vassal state. We should remind ourselves continually, that this part of the world is not our backyard, but China’s.

David Lindsay is about to publish his book, The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam.

Source: It’s Not Too Late on North Korea – by Susan Rice – NYT | Inconvenient News Worldwide

Posted in: East Asia, Foreign Affairs and U.S.ForeignPolicy, Korea - North and South Korea

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What Was Australia Doing in Vietnam? – The New York Times

“As Menzies saw it, the risk in American policy was not strategic overreach but isolationism, and what an American withdrawal from Asia in the face of defeat would mean for Australia and its neighbors. As a young man of military age during World War I, and as a youthful prime minister at the outbreak of World War II, he knew how painful it was for Britain and its dominions to be at war without America. The crucial step, it seemed, was to ensure American commitment: Once that was achieved, victory would be certain. Australia’s “forward defense” strategy after 1945 was to make small, but effective, military commitments in order to keep both Britain and the United States, which Menzies called “our great and powerful friends,” committed to Southeast Asia.

Australians had good reason to believe in the domino theory. Since 1945 Southeast Asia had been a caldron of conflicts created by the complex combination of decolonization, the Cold War and longstanding local rivalries. By 1964 the region seemed to be at a tipping point. Malaysia was facing a confrontation with Indonesia, where the world’s third-largest Communist party was exerting increasing influence. Although not a Communist, Indonesia’s President Sukarno had received arms from the Soviet Union and boasted of his close ideological ties with China, North Korea and North Vietnam.”

Source: What Was Australia Doing in Vietnam? – The New York Times

Posted in: Vietnam-American War

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VN objects to Chinese cinema on island – Politics & Laws – Vietnam News

“HÀ NỘI – China’s construction and opening of a cinema on Phú Lâm island in Việt Nam’s Hoàng Sa (Paracel) archipelago violates Việt Nam’s sovereignty over the archipelago, said Vietnamese Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Lê Thị Thu Hằng.Hằng made the statement yesterday in response to reporters’ queries about Việt Nam’s reaction to Chinese activities on Phú Lâm island.“Việt Nam has full legal foundation and historical evidence to affirm its sovereignty over the Hoàng Sa and Trường Sa (Spratly) archipelagos,” she said.”China’s actions violate international law and cannot change Việt Nam’s sovereignty over the archipelagos,” she affirmed.”Việt Nam objects to China’s building and opening of the cinema and requests the country not to repeat similar actions,” the spokesperson stated.”

Source: VN objects to Chinese cinema on island – Politics & Laws – Vietnam News | Politics, Business, Economy, Society, Life, Sports – VietNam News

Posted in: News and current events from Vietnam

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Legal framework- roadmap needed for Việt Nam’s wind power – VietNam News

“HÀ NỘI – Việt Nam needs to develop a legal framework and feasible roadmap to turn its wind energy potential into reality, which will help to meet the country’s rapidly rising electricity demand, experts have said.

Tobias Cossen, head of GIZ’s project on supporting the up-scaling of wind power said that Việt Nam has great potential to develop wind power as the country possesses around 3,000 km of coastline with excellent wind conditions.

The Vietnamese government has approved several programmes to encourage the development of renewable energy in the country. As many as five wind farms with total capacity of almost 200MW are currently in operation. More than 50 other projects are in the construction and planning phase.”

Source: Legal framework, roadmap needed for Việt Nam’s wind power – Society – Vietnam News | Politics, Business, Economy, Society, Life, Sports – VietNam News

Posted in: Environment

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Charlie Company and the Small-Unit War – The New York Times

“The rest of the squad returned fire as best they could, but they were trapped. And Don knew it. Maybe Jacque’s parting words rang in his ears; maybe it was sheer instinct. But Don acted to save his friends. Shouting, “You guys run like hell, and I’ll cover you,” Don waited an instant before springing to his feet and opening up on the enemy bunkers with his M-16 on full automatic. The men of the Second Squad who could still move started their dash to safety, but only a few seconds later bullets hit Don’s midsection. He yelled, “My chest! My chest!” and toppled back into the rice.

For the rest of the day, the Vietcong and the remainder of Charlie Company fought over, around and through the battered remnants of the Second Squad. Charlie Company had a total of 14 wounded and one dead that day, while dead Vietcong littered the landscape, perhaps 100 in all — the fearsome cost of standing against American firepower. By any measure it was a clear victory for the Americans.”

Posted in: Vietnam-American War

Leave a Comment (0) → Chú Cuội or The Man in the Moon

“Chú Cuội or The Man in the Moon

“Long time ago, in a tiny bamboo hut beside the jungle, there lived a poor woodcutter named Chú Cuội. He had lived every day of his life cutting small trees in the woods and gathering dry sticks to sell as fuel in the market. He then would tie the woods and sticks up in bundles and carry them home with a long wooden pole he uses to hold the bundles on both ends, which he would balance on his shoulder. Because Chú Cuội is poor and had no money to buy himself an ox and wood cart, he carries the bundles all the way to town and to the market by himself.

One morning, as he was gathering stick in the woods, he spotted three tigers playing among each other. He looked around and learned that the three cubs were left alone by their mother to hunt for food. Desperate to make some money to buy himself an ox, Chú Cuội planned on catching one of the cubs and sell it in the market. Slowly, he laid down his bundle of sticks and crept behind a fallen log. While waiting for a chance to grab one of the playing cubs, the youngest one accidentally rolled right next to him. Quickly, Chú Cuội grabbed it by the back of its neck, careful not to be bitten and scratched as the cub kept on squirming. The two other cubs saw what happened to their brother and scampered away in fear.”

Source: Chú Cuội or The Man in the Moon

My talented copy editor thought there were no stories of a man in the moon in Vietnam.

Posted in: Vietnamese Folklore

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The Vietnam War Is Still Killing People – By George Black – The New Yorker

Munitions-clearing operations in Vietnam in 2005. Since the end of the Vietnam War, in 1975, more than forty thousand Vietnamese have been killed by unexploded ordnance.Photograph by Patrick Zachmann / Magnum

“On Saturday, President Obama will set out on a trip to Vietnam, for a visit that’s being billed as looking forward to the future rather than back at the bitter history of the past. On the same day, a funeral will be held in Quang Tri province for a man named Ngo Thien Khiet.

Khiet, who died at the age of forty-five, and who leaves behind a wife and two sons, was an expert on the unexploded ordnance, or U.X.O., left over from the Vietnam War. He was particularly skilled at locating, removing, and safely destroying cluster bombs found in the farm fields of Quang Tri, an impoverished agricultural province that straddles the old Demilitarized Zone, or D.M.Z., which once divided North and South Vietnam.

Quang Tri is a place of great natural beauty, a narrow strip of land that stretches from the curving beaches and breakers of the South China Sea, in the east, to the misty, forested mountains along the border with Laos, in the west. Perhaps no other part of the country suffered more grievously during the Vietnam War. More ordnance was dropped on Quang Tri than was dropped on all of Germany during the Second World War. The province was also sprayed with more than seven hundred thousand gallons of herbicide, mainly Agent Orange. The names of battlefields like Cam Lo, Con Thien, Mutter’s Ridge, and the Rockpile still give American veterans nightmares. The seventy-seven-day siege of the Marine base of Khe Sanh, in Quang Tri, so obsessed Lyndon Johnson that he kept a scale model of the base in the White House, and demanded daily updates on the course of the battle.”

Source: The Vietnam War Is Still Killing People – The New Yorker

Posted in: Post War Problems in Vietnam

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