President Barack Obama is scheduled to host Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang at the White House today. Mr Sang's first-ever visit to Washington will provide a platform for the leaders to explore closer cooperation between the two historically linked countries.
Within Asean, Vietnam may be the country most focused on geostrategic balancing. Given its proximity to, history with, and unique understanding of China, Vietnam has become one of the region's most effective proponents for strengthening relations, building institutions, and convincing China to emerge as a regional power with respect for its neighbours.
While it thinks regionally, Vietnam itself is evolving politically. Mr Sang's visit comes at a particularly critical time at home. The government is struggling with how to allow more political space for its citizens, who have become empowered through the economic benefits of its reform efforts.
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