Yale Vietnamese Studies Group
Council on Southeast Asia Studies
April 10, 2013

"Some Initial Issues on the Foreign Policy of the Nguyen Dynasty"
Dr. Tran Duc Anh Son, Vice Director of the Socio-Economic Research & Development of Dà Nang

The Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945) was the last imperial dynasty of Vietnam. This dynasty has left countless significant historical, social and cultural legacies in Vietnam. However, research in this period in the Vietnamese history has been limited, esp. its foreign policy.

Thanks to my current position and my previous work with the Center for Preservation of Imperial Kingdom of Hue from 1998 to 2008, I have a great access to the records, artifacts and physical offices within the royal palaces related to the diplomatic activities of the Nguyen Dynasty whichallow me to present these initial results of my research to the US colleagues today.

My presentation will cover 4 major areas:

1. The internal socio-political background and the regional Asian relations which help to formulate the Nguyen's foreign policy.
I will analyze the influence and their impacts of the internal socio-political conditions between the XVIIIth and the XXth Centuries over the Dynasty's foreign policy. At the same time, I would like to analyze the geo-political position of Vietnam in relations to other countries in the region which forms the backbone of its foreign policies and causes for their reformulations in response to certain external impetus.

2. The dominant principles of foreign policies of the Nguyen Dynasty.
I will analyze the relations of the Nguyen Dynasty with China, Japan and Korea and other Southeast Asian countries, and especially with western countries. Specifically, I will discuss the new contextual changes which forced Emperors Minh Mang, Thieu Tre and Tu Duc to change their policies with an aim to improve the relations with western countries and reasons for their failures.

3. Diplomatic activities of the Nguyen Dynasty.
I will present some concrete diplomatic activities under the Nguyen Dynasty, such as sending ambassadors and envoys overseas, the assumption of trade activities of the diplomatic delegations beyond their official duties abroad.

4. Initial assessment of the foreign policies and diplomatic activities of the Nguyen Dynasty, including successes and failures of specific changes in foreign policies of the Nguyen Dynasty, esp. during the XIXth Century, and their consequences.

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