Why did Vietnam not send the highest-level official to attend Queen’s funeral?

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son went to the home of the Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Vietnam to record the mourning book on the morning of September 10, 2022

With the authorization of President Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son attended the national funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London on September 19, 2022.

Earlier, on September 17, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced that Vice President Wang Qishan, the special representative of Chinese President Xi Jinping, would attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at the invitation of the British office.

Meanwhile, Russia has no representatives invited to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry criticized London’s use of the Ukrainian war as an excuse not to invite Russian leaders to the funeral.

The fact that Vietnam did not send the most senior leader, but authorized a minister to come to London to attend the funeral of the Queen of England, was widely believed that Vietnam did not dare to make China and Russia angry.

Lawyer Vu Duc Khanh in Canada said he was not surprised but really sorry for Vietnam:

I wonder if the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) is really ‘independent’ or at least ‘neutral’ from its Russian and Chinese patrons?

We all know that Russian President Putin was uninvited because of his brutal, illegal, and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. As for China, despite being invited, President Xi Jinping has authorized Vice President Wang Qishan to go instead.

So, I don’t know if it’s the “bamboo diplomacy” of the Communist Party, because it doesn’t want to embarrass the patriarch, so it doesn’t let the President go, but only appoints the Foreign Minister? I believe, after this case, the British side will review their ‘strategic partnership’ with Vietnam.

Perhaps the concept of ‘strategy’ is ironic and does not represent the true nature of this relationship? Finally, in my opinion, a rare honorable funeral like this is a golden opportunity for Vietnam to reach out to the world to show its will and desire to make friends with all countries in the world. Once again, this gesture only proves to the world that Hanoi has never been true to what it claims, and worse, it proves the vassal, petty and factional nature of the VCP.”

Two days before the funeral, the new King Charles III began receiving the leaders of 14 countries in the Commonwealth. The guest list of the new King Charles includes the king of Spain the queen of Denmark, the emperor and empress of Japan, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, the president of France, Turkey, Brazil, and the president of Korea. The country or the president of the European Commission, the president of the European Council…

There is also an opinion that the fact that Vietnam only appoints a minister to attend the funeral is due to historical factors. Political researcher Ha Hoang Hop said that he felt sorry that Vietnam only sent a minister, but did not send a higher level. He analyzed possible reasons:

I can honestly say that Vietnam is a small country, and its military power is also small. Historically, Vietnam was not a British colony. Vietnam was not influenced by the British in previous centuries, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries. In contrast, at the end of the 19th century, when the French entered Vietnam, Vietnam was under French influence for about 150 years.

This may be a historical reason that Vietnam’s respect for the British Royal Family may be less than that of other countries that have had British royal influence such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. …for more than three centuries. They are closer to the British Royal Family.

That could be a factor for them to send their heads of state or senior leaders to the Queen’s funeral. In China, because of bad relations in terms of human rights, people only let Mr. Wang Qishan visit and record the funeral. On the Vietnamese side, Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son went and Mr. Son fully participated in the funeral.

On September 11, 1973, Vietnam and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (referred to as Britain) established diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level. In March 2008, the two countries signed a Joint Statement promoting relations in the direction of “Partnership for Development.”

In September 2010, the relationship between the two countries was upgraded to “Strategic Partnership.” Since 2018, annual Vietnam – UK Deputy Defense Ministerial Defense Dialogue began to be held in the context of the two countries celebrating the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations (1973 – 2018).

Freelance journalist Nguyen Ngoc Gia said that Vietnam’s appointment of Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son to the Queen’s funeral was in line with the policy of the Politburo. He analyzed:

I think that when the Vietnamese communist government sent Mr. Bui Thanh Son to the funeral of the Queen of England, they had carefully considered the Politburo world relations. Especially for the two great powers, China and Russia. Recently, China just sent a Vice President over. Relations between China and Britain were not very warm after the handover of Hongkong to China, and so far Hongkong does not have any democratic freedoms. This also affects diplomacy in general and affects attendance at the Queen’s funeral.

For Russia, now, what affects the whole world is the war between Russia and Ukraine, so Britain did not invite Russia to the funeral. I think that has influenced and forced the Politburo of Vietnam to carefully consider their policy of making friends with the world and their policy of bamboo diplomacy. They chose such a neutral form so as not to offend anyone.”

Some international news sites reported that about 500 heads of state and high-ranking delegations were invited to attend the funeral of the Queen of England on the morning of September 19, 2022, at Westminster Cathedral. Some countries were not invited including Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine, Belarus for supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Burma, Syria, Afghanistan, and North Korea.

Thoibao.de (Translated)