Vietnamese delegation’s loose lips caught on video during US-ASEAN summit

The video shows high-ranking officials using crude language and boasting about putting Biden in ‘checkmate’
By RFA’s Vietnamese Service
Vietnamese delegation’s loose lips caught on video during US-ASEAN summit U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken greets Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh during a bilateral meeting in Washington, D.C., U.S. May 13, 2022.

A video that captured crass remarks made by Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and other high-ranking officials prior to their meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken went viral over the weekend and was removed from the U.S. State Department’s YouTube account.

The Vietnamese officials met with Blinken on Friday as part of the two-day U.S.- summit with the 10-member Association for Southeast Asian Nations.

According to a series of tweets about the incident by Southeast Asia analyst Nguyen Phuong Linh, the video shows the Vietnamese delegation laughing that U.S. President Joe Biden told Prime Minister Chinh that he could “not trust Russia.” Chinh also describes the meeting with Biden as “straightforward and fair and that Vietnam isn’t afraid of anyone,” after which the Vietnamese ambassador to the U.S., Nguyen Quoc Dzung, said they “put [Biden] into checkmate."

Minister of Public Security To Lam is also seen praising the former deputy national security adviser during the Trump administration, Matthew Pottinger, for being young and smart and having a wife who was born in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese officials also refer to a number of U.S. officials without using honorific terms that, in the Vietnamese language, should be used in formal situations.

The dialogue caught in the video “might indicate a more serious issue of how dysfunctional the incumbent cabinet in [Vietnam] is in general, and how incompetent the [Vietnamese] leaders are in terms of comms, foreign affairs and security,” Linh said.

The video was published shortly after the delegation's meeting with Blinken on Friday but by Saturday evening, it became “unavailable” on YouTube. RFA was not able to determine why the video was removed from the State Department’s account.

“So embarrassing for the Vietnamese that the State Dept. appears to have taken the video offline,” former BBC journalist Bill Hayton wrote on his Twitter account

The State Department typically captures video footage of dignitaries prior to meetings with its senior staff and shares the videos on its YouTube account. In most cases, these videos will show smiles and handshakes and are largely uneventful.

RFA’s Vietnamese Service, which shared the video on its Facebook account, received comments from followers that were critical of the Vietnamese delegation.

“Talking about your host while you’re a guest at their house is so uneducated,” Facebook user Kien Nguyen commented.

“This kind of language, coming from the Prime Minister’s mouth. It sounds like what you hear in bus stations,” Hoa Nguyen, another Facebook user, said.

Translated by An Nguyen. Written in English by Eugene Whong.


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Dave Manning
May 17, 2022 08:52 PM

Vietnamese are correct in mocking Biden and his corrupt regime. Biden is an embarrassment where ever he appears. Sham election put him in office.

Daniel Robinson
Nov 17, 2022 02:55 PM

The fact that RFA has reported in full on this, while VOA (as reported by The Washington Post ( chose to
remove the content, speaks volumes about dysfunction at VOA, and more genereally within the U.S. Agency for Global Media.
The quote in The Post story, from a "frustrated" employee, is very relevant. If a "free press matters" -- the slogan attache to VOA by none other than Amanda Bennett, the new agency CEO -- why was the VOA story taken down? Notch another embarrassment for
the Voice of America.

Nov 19, 2022 08:49 AM

For those who don't follow this sort of thing too closely, Are you talking North or South VN?