TAIPEI, TAIWAN — Vietnam’s Communist Party head will have unprecedented power to keep relations stable with old foe China while pursuing stronger trade and security ties with the United States as he exercises his duties as the nation’s new president. The legislature in Hanoi confirmed Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong as president Tuesday. He replaced Tran Dai Quang, a low-key leader with a police background, after Quang died last month from a long illness. Trong is scheduled to serve as president at least until 2021. Trong’s double role as president and party head will let him mold a wealth of political experience into foreign and economic policy, Vietnam specialists say. In particular, Trong will get more access to foreign heads of state, who often do not see party heads as key political figures. “As general secretary, it’s hard to know how internationally how to treat them, but as president, you’re acknowledged, they understand what presidents are,” said Adam McCarty, chief economist with Mekong Economics in Hanoi. “As president-general secretary, he’ll be expected to have a lot more power and therefore be treated as a more serious player than just a president visiting other countries,” McCarty said.Communist Party veteran… Read full this story
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