Today, President Bush visits Vietnam for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, “looking to burnish his foreign-policy credentials.” He’s off to a miserable start.
Yesterday, the White House website featured a graphic with the flags of the three countries he’s visiting on his trip — Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. One problem: instead of displaying the Vietnamese flag, the White House graphic featured the old flag of South Vietnam. That flag hasn’t been the official flag of Vietnam since South Vietnam surrendered to North Vietnam in 1975.
The display of the old flag is highly incendiary to the current Vietnamese government. NPR reported last year the display of the old flag anywhere in the United States — much less on the White House website — “could create tension amid warming relations between the United States and Vietnam.”