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French President Francois Hollande and his Vietnamese counterpart Tran Dai Quang during a welcoming ceremony, Hanoi, Vietnam, Sept. 6, 2016 (AP photo by Hoang Dinh Nan).

As Ties With Vietnam Grow, France Must Tread Carefully With China

Friday, Sept. 9, 2016

On Tuesday, Francois Hollande became the first French president in 12 years to visit Vietnam, a former French colony. Despite their troubled past marked by a nearly decade-long war that ended with France’s military defeat and withdrawal from Vietnam in 1954, relations between Paris and Hanoi have warmed during Hollande’s presidency, part of France’s deepening interest in Southeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific more broadly.

By a number of measures, the visit was a productive one. Vietnam Airlines purchased 40 jets from France’s Airbus, totaling $6.5 billion in sales; low-cost private airline VietJet purchased 20 planes, totaling $2.39 billion; a regional budget carrier, Jetstar Pacific, purchased 10. The two countries released a joint statement indicating that they would soon expand cooperation on defense and maritime security, among other areas. ...

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