Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Binh Minh has lost his position, along with another Deputy Prime Minister, Vu Duc Dam. Neither will serve as members of the Central Party Committee from now on.
Minh has been expelled from the Vietnamese Communist Party, as he was dismissed as a member of the Politburo. No specific reason has been given in the official media. They simply said that the decision was made during a special session of the National Assembly on January 5th.
Minh, 63, is a well-known figure on the ASEAN circuit, because he led Vietnam’s chairmanship of the bloc in 2020. He is a veteran diplomat and has held many diplomatic positions before being appointed deputy foreign minister in 2007, and foreign minister in 2011. Two years later he became the deputy prime minister, a post which he held for the past 9 years. In Thailand, he is known for being the son of former foreign minister Nguyen Co Thach, a frequent visitor to Thailand during the Cambodian conflict.
According to Dr. Carl Thayer, an expert on Vietnam and professor at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, Minh was blamed for the bribery cases related to repatriation flights. Vietnamese officials working at several overseas missions were accused of accepting money from Vietnamese citizens who wanted to be repatriated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Pham Binh Minh reportedly failed to provide proper supervision of repatriation flights for Vietnamese citizens stranded abroad due to COVID-19,” Thayer told Radio Free Asia.
Thayer said that a wide network of foreign affairs officials has been implicated in taking bribes in exchange for seats on these aircraft. “If Minh personally benefited from this, he is damned; if Minh was unaware or failed to take action, he is also damned,” the professor pointed out.
In a related development, according to Vietnam Express, Vietnam’s foreign affairs minister Bui Thanh Son has been reprimanded by the Party’s Politburo over managerial negligence that led to violations in organising COVID repatriation flights and is deemed responsible for violations of the Party’s regulations.
The dismissal of Minh and Son, both Western-educated officials, is not related to speculation about corruption, as a result of the power struggle and projections for the 2026 Party Congress, according to Thayer.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service