May, 2016 Asia

By U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Timothy Smith [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Geopolitical Monitor, Michael Hart
President Obama’s upcoming visit to Vietnam could amount to far more than just a symbolic political photo opportunity. It comes amid suggestions that the U.S. may be about to lift an arms embargo which has remained in place for four decades. If this were to happen, it would signal a historic shift in perspective and represent the most significant stride forward in diplomatic relations to date between these two former adversaries, more than 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War.

Stratfor Analysis
For the first time in more than 35 years, North Korea is preparing to hold a full Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK). Originally intended to be a regular occurrence for the WPK, party congresses convened only sporadically until 1980, when Kim Jong Il was named as Kim Il Sung's successor, and juche (loosely translated as self-reliance) was formalized as the government's official guiding philosophy.