The Leaderboard profiles the people behind the policies of the Asia-Pacific. This post features Nguyen Chi Vinh the Deputy Minister of Defense for the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Who is he?
Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh was appointed Vietnam’s deputy minister of defense in 2009. The son of a renowned Vietnam War-era general, Vinh became an intelligence officer in the Vietnamese army at the age of twenty-four. Prior to his appointment, he served as chief of the intelligence unit at the Ministry of Defense from 2002 to 2009. In his current position, Vinh known to be outspoken and decisive, although he kept a low profile for many years due to his intelligence background. Vinh received his PhD in International Affairs in 2003.
Why is he in the news?
Vinh is implementing a sophisticated and balanced approach to strengthening bilateral security and military ties with the United States. He is leading a Vietnamese delegation on a ten-day visit from July 14 to July 24 that sustains momentum from last month’s U.S.-Vietnam Political, Security, and Defense Dialogue and the historic visit by U.S. secretary of defense Leon Panetta to Cam Ranh Bay. Vinh’s trip aims to enhance U.S.-Vietnam cooperation by addressing legacies of the Vietnam War, especially in the area of unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance. He met with officials from the U.S. Departments of State, Defense, and Labor, as well as Senator Patrick Leahy and several U.S. congressmen. In New York, Vinh took the opportunity to meet with agencies of the United Nations to discuss issues of landmine clearance and peacekeeping operations.
What can we expect from him?
Since Vinh will head the Vietnamese delegation at the U.S.-Vietnam Defense Policy Dialogue in Hanoi, likely in August or September, his current trip has laid the groundwork for progress on issues vital to the Vietnamese side and key to making progress on the U.S.-Vietnam defense partnership. Vinh will stress that dealing with legacy issues, like UXO and the effects of the defoliant Agent Orange, is a necessary condition for progress in bilateral security relations.