Home Daily Blitz How Vietnam’s New Leader Could Strengthen Ties to China

How Vietnam’s New Leader Could Strengthen Ties to China

US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis (3rd-R) talks to Vietnamese military officials as he visits Bien Hoa airbase, where the US army stored the defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, in Bien Hoa city, on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh city, on October 17, 208. - Mattis toured a former Agent Orange storage site in southern Vietnam on October 17, revisiting one of the war's darkest chapters that lives on among a million Vietnamese with severe birth defects, cancers and disabilities linked to the toxic defoliant. (Photo by KHAM / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read KHAM/AFP/Getty Images)

The following is an excerpt from CHARLIE CAMPBELL/HANOI | October 31, 2018 | Time.com |

Nestled in Hanoi’s leafy French Quarter, under the shadow of its neoclassical Opera House, is a tiny gallery that exclusively stocks Vietnamese propaganda art. The interior is piled high with posters—all square jaws, oversize clenched fists and primary colors—supporting the revolutionary hero Ho Chi Minh, who founded the Communist Party and led the resistance to French and American forces during the 1950s and ’60s. Slogans rouse patriots to “Remember Uncle Ho on this victorious day” and “Crush the Yankee imperialists.”

“Today Vietnam has a new President,” says Phan Duk, who opened the gallery five years ago. “But I forget his name.” That’s not unusual. Unlike Ho, Vietnam’s recent leaders have shied from the limelight. For almost half a century, they have jettisoned the cult of personality in favor of ruling from the shadows, with power shared between several top government roles.

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