(LinkAsia: January 20, 2012)
Vietnam is also preparing to celebrate the Lunar New Year. People are returning to their hometowns and that includes former refugees who fled the country during the Vietnam War. The government has made a point of welcoming them back this year with a high-profile event. It reflects the government’s desire to reconcile with expatriates amid a shortage of skilled workers. Here’s NHK with the story.
NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: January 17, 2012
State-run television covered the Welcome Home event on Monday as its lead story on the evening news. The government-sponsored Spring in Homeland 2012 party took place ahead of newt week’s lunar new year, known as Tet in Vietnam.
Many people fled the country during the Vietnam War, especially from now-defunct South Vietnam, in the final days of the conflict in the 1970s. About 2.7 million Vietnamese now live overseas.
Officials used to treat them with suspicion because of connections with pro-reform groups. But that attitude has changed in recent years. The government even invited children living from overseas back to Vietnam to see first-hand how the country is developing.
Former refugees are now viewed as a possible solution to the shortage of business leaders Vietnam needs to further its market reforms. At Monday’s event, President Truong Tan Sang played drums to welcome the expats home. The government will likely continue to send messages of conciliation to Vietnamese from around the world to return and support the country’s economic development.
China's economy is slowing as it is the world over. One cause is the dramatic recent drop in U.S. consumption of Chinese imports. But nearly every day now, we are reading of deals struck by China that promise to turn the economic tide in Beijing's favor.
In Latin America and Vietnam, Chinese firms have signed deals to expand natural resource production. The New York Times reports that deals made in recent weeks in Venezuela, Ecuador, Argentina, and Brazil include terms designed to decrease demand for the U.S. dollar. From Vietnam, TIME interviews locals fearful that China's plans to mine bauxite will result in devastating environmental and job losses.
China's military is also assuming a more aggressive stance. The state navy hints that it may soon develop an aircraft carrier and expand its global missions along the lines of recent anti-piracy sorties in the Gulf of Aden.
The Economist though predicts China could chart a more peaceful route to recovery. This scenario would include long-term investment in domestic priorities such as public transit and health care. Chinese officials are reportedly "fascinated" by European models of welfare and public health, and could cooperate with the EU on future projects.
Can China achieve economic recovery in a manner that is peaceful and sustainable? Or should we remain skeptical of a world shaped by Chinese priorities?