All eyes are on America, which is in the final lap of its Presidential election. The new President will define US foreign policy for the next five years and has left people around the world divided on the issue.
Vietnam is one such country, where both the US and China have fought a war that ended less than 50 years ago. While Vietnam has somewhat forgiven the US, it still struggles with the ‘China threat’.
According to VnExpress, a news website poll posted on Sept. 18: “In your opinion, who will be elected US president?”, Vietnamese people overwhelmingly supported the incumbent President Donald Trump, who scored 79 percent of the total votes.
According to a Nikkei Asia report, other surveys conducted including Tuoi Tre, the online edition of a newspaper operated by the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union showed 78 percent of people favoring Trump along with Thanh Nien, another Ho Chi Minh-based media outlet showing support of more than 80 percent.
Analysts believe the reason behind Trump’s popularity in Vietnam is his hard-line approach to China. Vietnam has territorial disputes with Beijing in the South China Sea, where Trump has deployed American warships threatening China for its expansionist tactics.
“If Trump wins,” Nguyen Ngoc Vinh, a retired former editor at Tuoi Tre, a leading Vietnamese newspaper told Nikkei Asia, “his policies in the next four years will benefit Vietnam in the context of the South China Sea.”
“If Biden wins,” Vinh added, “it would be a disaster for us because the tradition of democratic presidents since the Vietnam War always showed an indulgence to China, especially under the Clinton and Obama administrations.”
According to a national survey, conducted from July 15 to September 10, 48 percent of Vietnamese Americans favored the Republican candidate and only 36 percent favored the Democratic candidate.
“Many Vietnamese think the United States is important for Vietnam, rightly or wrongly, because it provides a counterweight to China in economic, military and geopolitical terms,” said Ngo Vinh Long, professor of Asian History at the University of Maine told Nikkei Asia. “But China is next door to Vietnam and hence outweighs the United States in many ways.”