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Asia Insight

Vietnam power struggle enters critical stretch after virus victory

Economy and China top agenda as Communists prepare to pick 'Four Pillars'

TOMOYA ONISHI, Nikkei staff writer | Vietnam

HANOI -- Dressed in a white shirt with no tie and no face mask, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc looked confident and relieved when he addressed his cabinet last Wednesday. He had reason to be: It had been days since the country recorded even a single new coronavirus case.

Phuc informed them it was "time to gradually ease restrictions" imposed to contain the outbreak. Though he stressed that "tonight is not the time to go out to celebrate," it was the closest thing to a declaration of victory he could have hoped for -- just in time for Liberation Day this Thursday, which celebrates the end of the Vietnam War, and well ahead of next January's Communist Party convention, which will confirm a new leadership lineup.

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