Why will Putin’s arrival in Hanoi clear up questions about Nguyen Phu Trong’s power and health?

Original Video in Vietnamese

In mid-May 2024, Vietnam’s state-controlled media announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin would soon visit Vietnam. However, soon after, international news agencies reported that the expected visit of the Russian president may not come true, because Vietnam is preparing to elect a new State President.

Most recently, on June 10, Russian newspaper Vedomosti reported that Putin will visit Vietnam and North Korea next week. Meanwhile, an international news agency reported, with more caution, saying “a source said that Putin’s visit to Vietnam, expected to take place on June 19-20 but it hasn’t been specifically determined yet.”

Before Putin’s visit to Beijing on May 16-17, there was information about the possibility that he would visit Vietnam later. Hanoi even postponed a meeting with top officials of the European Union (EU), which was scheduled for two days, May 13-14, to prepare for the possibility of Putin visiting Vietnam.

In fact, Putin’s planned visit in mid-May 2024 did not come true, because of political instability at the top of Vietnam’s leadership. At that time, Vietnam still did not have a State President or Chairman of the National Assembly, and was going through a period of unprecedented turmoil for senior leadership.

Up to now, Vietnam’s politics have gradually stabilized, and the “four pillars” apparatus has been elected. An international news agency quoted a Vietnamese official as saying that, although the visit date has been agreed upon, the agenda is still being discussed. Issues related to energy, military cooperation, settlement of payments, and an agreement in the field of education are expected to be on the agenda during Putin’s visit.

Notably, BBC on May 15 revealed that, according to Dr. Ian Storey – expert of the Institute for Southeast Asian Political Studies (ISEAS), based in Singapore, “General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong is not in good health, and probably cannot meet Putin.”

At the 9th Plenum of the Communist Party of Vietnam’s Central Committee, taking place on May 16-18, people still saw Trong running this important conference. However, since then, he has continued to mysteriously disappear, amid speculation that he is in very bad health.

In mid-September 2023, during the high-level visit of US President Joe Biden to Hanoi, Vietnam and the United States signed to upgrade relations to the highest level of “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.” At that time, Trong emerged as a leader controlling all domestic and foreign affairs of the Vietnamese state.

According to observers, General Secretary Trong planned and chaired the official welcoming ceremony, as well as held talks and discussions directly with the US President, at the headquarters of the Central Office of the Communist Party of Vietnam’s Central Committee. At that time, the trio of the “Four Pillars,” State President Vo Van Thuong, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, and National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue, were just faint shadows behind Trong.

That is why domestic and international observers have been nervous, waiting for the appearance of General Secretary Trong – the person holding the highest power (in name) of Vietnam. Will he participate in welcoming Russian President Putin?

This event is extremely important, to be able to officially confirm, what is his powerful role and health today?

Furthermore, Trong is said to be the author of the so-called “bamboo” foreign policy of the Vietnamese government, so this is also a test for State President To Lam.

After To Lam took office as State President on May 22, Putin was one of the first heads of state, sending telegrams and letters of congratulations to him. And in the following days, only a few authoritarian countries congratulated him, such as China, Cuba, North Korea, Laos, Cambodia…

Meanwhile, Vietnam is also among the few countries, including North Korea, China… whose leaders warmly congratulated Putin on his re-election to a fifth term as President of Russia, in an election that was criticized by the West.

Putin was issued an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in March 2023, for his involvement in war crimes in Ukraine. Vietnam is not currently a member of ICC, so Russian President Putin will not be arrested in Vietnam./.


Tra My – Thoibao.de