Mr Lye Liang Fook is Senior Fellow and Coordinator of the Regional Strategic and Political Studies Programme and Coordinator of the Vietnam Studies Programme at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute.
His research focus covers China’s foreign policy towards Southeast Asia, China’s Belt and Road Initiative, China-Singapore relations, Vietnam’s foreign policy and key political developments in Vietnam. His publications have appeared in Routledge, Eastern Universities Press, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) Publishing, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Publishing and World Scientific Publishing, the International Relations of the Asia Pacific, Journal of Chinese Political Science, Copenhagen Journal of Asian Studies and China: An International Journal. He was previously Research Fellow and Assistant Director at the East Asian Institute of the National University of Singapore.
The Communist Party of Vietnam’s upcoming 13th National Congress will see appointments to the country’s highest political offices. To date, the general secretary and prime minister are selected from two different regions. This a top-down practice that nurtures political groups whose members are connected by their geographical origins. There are indications that Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Tran Quoc Vuong, current standing member of the CPV’s Secretariat, are candidates for the position of general secretary. The former is from the Centre (a break from tradition), while the latter is a Northerner.
Southeast Asian countries prefer a healthy balance of power between major powers in the region. This is often overlooked by China and the United States, which want them to take a stand on issues of concern.
China appears to have embarked on a new round of charm offensive. Yang Jiechi, who is a Politburo Member and Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, is visiting Singapore and South Korea this week. While Singapore looks forward to consolidating its ties with China, it seeks to do the same with other key players in the region.