The current question is still that there is a certain force on Vietnam’s leadership that is trapped in Russia’s relation so deeply that it is afraid of the picture of Pham Minh Chinh’s “handshake” when he meets the President of Ukraine on the sidelines of the Extended G7 Summit. More importantly, on May 21, he shook hands with Zelensky, but the next day on May 22, Chinh returned to Hanoi and shook hands with the Chairman of the “United Russia” Party (EP) Mevedev, so there was an order for the state-controlled media to evidence of friendship with Kiyv.
Thus, for the third time, Vietnam has been invited to the G7 Open Summit. The long story of Pham Minh Chinh’s brief stay in Hiroshima shows that Vietnam was indeed diplomatically confused as the war in Ukraine approached a turning point. Like previous times, this time Vietnam is also invited to give a speech at the summit. The Prime Minister of Vietnam presented three messages: a holistic approach to peace issues, reiterating the spirit of rule of law, respecting the UN Charter, and affirming strategic trust. In general, Vietnam still says one thing and does another in moves related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. What PM Chinh said was empty and useless, had anything to do with the issues at the summit and did not give any specific views to support Ukraine’s call at the Hiroshima summit.
Meanwhile, the President of Ukraine was “brilliant” at the aforementioned event. On the afternoon of May 20, before being taken to Hiroshima’s Ujina island by the host, President Zelensky wrote on Twitter: “Japan – G7 – important meetings with partners and friends of Ukraine. Security and increased strengthen cooperation for our victory. Today peace will become closer.” During two days of intense contacts in Hiroshima, he vigorously campaigned diplomacy with a series of bilateral meetings. In a video clip that has been shared a lot online, Zelensky took the initiative to shake hands with PM Chinh, who was standing in a corner of the room at that time. The Vietnamese government leader smiled awkwardly and shook Zelensky’s hand in a passive position. Zelensky did not mention that “handshake” with PM Chinh when he left Hiroshima. President Zelensky tweeted: “G7, partners, Ukraine. A busy day of diplomacy to bring victory closer. During the day, I Meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Indonesian President Jokowi, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, US President Joe Biden, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (not mentioned Vietnam).
All the Party and popular media in Vietnam, of course, because they have never read Zelensky’s above Tweet, have posted intensively and excitedly on most websites. In this photo taken on May 21, the last day of the extended Summit, PM Chinh is seen looking at him with loose movements, shaking with one hand and patting Mr. Zelensky’s elbow as cordially as if he were meeting a longtime friend. Tuoi Tre newspaper, citing the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, added that the PM emphasized that as the country has experienced many wars, Vietnam “understands the values of peace.” In that spirit, Vietnam has provided humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine and is ready to assist the parties in finding a lasting peaceful solution. In response, President Zelensky is said to “express his appreciation for Vietnam’s stance and humanitarian support, agreeing to take measures to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two countries.” But ironically, the Voice of Vietnam (VOV) website “shocked” a title that sounded ungainly “Prime Minister briefly met the President of Ukraine.”
It is not clear what does short or long meeting mean, only know that after a day, all the above pictures, without wings, flew from all official Vietnamese newspapers and websites (English newspaper Tuoi Tre still has pictures). So brutally that, in the newspapers “Youth” and “Thanh Nien” even though there were reports of Chinh’s meeting with Zelensky, there were no more pictures from one day earlier. The story of shouting “turn” the picture of the Prime Minister shaking hands with the Head of a country that once shared a trench with Hanoi has never happened in Vietnamese diplomacy. This story recalls the reaction of the Ukrainian Embassy in Vietnam when they sent an open letter to “Hanoi Moi” newspaper about the incident on October 3, 2022. Ukraine’s Deputy Ambassador Nataliya Zhynkina at the time asked: “You invite Ukraine to join the race for peace without keeping our image? Why post it and then delete it? Instead, post a picture of the flag of the country that waged the biggest war in Europe? So what’s your intention?”
This time, following the incident of deleting an image of one of the “Four Pillars” of Vietnam shaking hands “more than cordially” with the Head of their country, the Ukrian Embassy in Hanoi had no response. This can have two implications: Ukraine understands that Vietnam does not want to offend the Russian leadership, and Kiyv does not expect Hanoi to do anything in fact to contribute to bringing peace to the Ukrainian people. According to observers from Hanoi, the current question remains that there is a certain force on the country’s leadership who has been trapped in Russia’s releations too deeply, shivering at the picture of Pham Minh Chinh’s “handshake” meeting the President of Ukraine on the sidelines of the G7. On May 21, he shook hands with Zelensky, but the next day on May 22, Chinh returned to Hanoi to shake hands with the President of the United Russia Party – Medvedev, so there was an order from the top leadership to ask newspapers and outlets to remove the evidence of friendship with Kiyv.