As Vietnam's 10th Communist Party congress closed on Tuesday, four old men sat silently in the front row.
The looming prospect of three-star General Le Kha Phieu taking the Communist Party's top post could be one of the most dramatic events in Hanoi in years.
General Le Kha Phieu, one of the country's most publicity-shy and mysterious leaders, is the man of the moment in Vietnamese politics.
Hanoi and Moscow have long shared one of the region's most complex relationships, but as the new century approaches it is one in desperate need of a kick-start.
VIETNAM'S top leader yesterday warned that corruption loomed as a 'fatal disease' for a leadership that needed to get closer to the people.
HANOI is entering a season of intense political manoeuvring as the Communist Party grapples with forthcoming leadership changes and one of its worst fears - peasant unrest.
Despite an urgent need for increasing economic reforms in Vietnam, the impending change of leadership gives scant reason to hope that anything radical is in the offing.
As questions arise over Vietnam's leadership - one of the region's most complex and secretive - many eyes will be turning to its legendary military for a hint of the future.
The luxurious lifestyles of directors of a troubled Vietnamese state-owned textile firm have led economic police to what is possibly Vietnam's biggest-ever corruption scam.
The staring eyes of Lenin, Marx and Ho Chi Minh may have been bearing down on the Communist Party congress, but it was the tough politics of survival that ruled as much as ideology.
Vietnam's top leader yesterday tried to soothe foreigners' fears over plans for increased Communist Party infiltration of their business interests.
Old ideological rifts were firmly buried yesterday between former warring comrades Vietnam and China as premier Li Peng called for more solidarity between the world's two largest remaining...