Senior Vietnamese politicians are on a low-key road trip around Europe, picking up new friends and cementing partnerships with some unlikely countries.

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Senior Vietnamese politicians are on a low-key road trip around Europe, picking up new friends and cementing partnerships with some unlikely countries. Military agreements have been signed with Germany, Poland and the UK. Is one of the world’s last remaining communist states opening up to the West?

Vietnam has traditionally relied on Soviet-era weaponry and the country’s defence spending is comparatively low at around $1.5bn (€1.1bn) a year. However, it is on the increase and Dr Tim Huxley, executive director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Asia office, said that it “seems to be a match between the Europeans looking for new defence export opportunities and Vietnam’s perceived need to significantly upgrade its capabilities.”

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