In Rare Three-Party Conclave, Vietnam Pushes Back Against Growing Chinese Influence

Hanoi is becoming increasingly unnerved by the growing Chinese influence over its longstanding clients, Cambodia and Laos.

On September 26, leaders of the ruling parties of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos held a rare conclave in Hanoi, reaffirming the historic links forged during their Cold War-era struggles in the shadow of China’s growing power.

The meeting included Nguyen Phu Trong, the general secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party, Hun Sen, president of the Cambodian People’s Party, and Thongloun Sisoulith, the chief of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party.

Reports in the three nations’ tightly controlled media were short on details and long on sunny generalities, but the general gist is that the three leaders reaffirmed their parties’ traditional solidarities and apprised each other of their present challenges, including the fight against COVID-19. According to the state-backed Vientiane Times, “The three Party leaders discussed their cooperation in recent years and directions for the future, and agreed on the importance of the traditional relations, solidarity and friendship among the three parties and countries.”

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