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How viable is Vietnam as a 'friend-shoring' destination?

Leadership shake-up sparks concern about possible shift toward China, Russia

Vietnamese leader Nguyen Phu Trong speaks at a February 2021 news conference in Hanoi after being reelected as Communist Party general secretary for a third term.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Shortly after the Tet Lunar New Year holidays ended earlier this year, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh embarked on a diplomatic blitz. After surviving a leadership shake-up late last year, Chinh looked eager to reassure the world that the country is still open for business.

Chinh visited Singapore and Brunei from Feb. 8 to Feb. 11. His meeting with Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong led to an agreement to promote cooperation in the green and digital sectors with the city-state, which has been Vietnam's leading foreign investor for three consecutive years through 2022. The Vietnamese prime minister also invited Lee to visit Vietnam this year.

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