Washington and Hanoi normalized relations in 1995, but relations have been slow to warm up due to Vietnam’s suspicion of US subversion of the communist regime. The two countries have moved closer in recent years.
US-Vietnam relations have a shorter history than Chinese, French, and Russian-Vietnamese relations. Prior to World War II, few Vietnamese had set foot on the US, and few Americans had been to Vietnam. In Asia, the US had far more interactions with China, Japan, Korea, Siam, and the Philippines than with Vietnam.
In 1945, after Japan surrendered to the Allies, the US did not recognize the Viet Minh government because American officials were aware that Ho Chi Minh had served the Soviet Union as a Comintern agent for decades. Washington later supported the government of Ngo Dinh Diem who established the Republic of Vietnam in South Vietnam in 1955. The US was the chief ally of South Vietnam against Soviet- and Chinese-backed communist North Vietnam.
After the end of the civil war between the two Vietnams, nearly two million Vietnamese fled their country and resettled in the US. Washington and Hanoi normalized relations in 1995, but relations have been slow to warm up due to Vietnam’s suspicion of US subversion of the communist regime. The two countries have moved closer in recent years as Vietnam is more concerned about conflict with China in the East Sea/South China Sea.
The majority of Vietnamese people admire the US, which is a popular destination for Vietnamese students to study. The Vietnamese government welcomes American businesses’ investment but is wary of military cooperation with the US. The absolute majority of Vietnamese-Americans oppose the Vietnamese government but contribute billions of dollars annually to the Vietnamese economy through tourism and remittance.