Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung recently visited Indonesia, where he and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono agreed to establish joint patrols of their countries' maritime border. In an email interview, Donald Weatherbee (.pdf), a professor emeritus at the University of South Carolina, discussed Indonesia-Vietnam relations.
WPR: What is the recent history of Indonesia-Vietnam diplomatic, trade and defense relations?
Donald Weatherbee: Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's visit to Indonesia earlier this month was the usual courtesy call by a newly named head of government to his counterparts in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Indonesia and a Hanoi-based Vietnam have had uninterrupted diplomatic relations since Indonesia opened a consulate in Hanoi in 1955. Since Vietnam's inclusion in ASEAN in 1995, the two countries' bilateral ties have been fitted into the framework of ASEAN and in the past half-decade have emphasized a commitment to building the ASEAN Community. While praising their countries' long-standing tradition of friendship and cooperation, Dung and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called for elevating their ties to the level of a "strategic partnership." This would include more intense and institutionalized functional cooperation and communication between their respective government agencies and ministries, including the defense establishments.