Phùng Quang Thanh

Phùng Quang Thanh

General Phung Quang Thanh
10th Minister of Defence
In office
28 June 2006  8 April 2016
President Nguyễn Minh Triết
Trương Tấn Sang
Trần Đại Quang
Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng
Nguyễn Xuân Phúc
Preceded by Phạm Văn Trà
Succeeded by Ngô Xuân Lịch
Member of the Politburo
In office
25 April 2006  28 January 2016
General Secretary Nông Đức Mạnh
Nguyễn Phú Trọng
Chief of the General Staff
In office
May 2001  August 2006
President Trần Đức Lương
Nguyễn Minh Triết
Preceded by Lê Văn Dũng
Succeeded by Nguyễn Khắc Nghiên
Personal details
Born (1949-02-02) February 2, 1949
Mê Linh, Hanoi, Vietnam
Political party Communist Party of Vietnam
Alma mater Voroshilov Academy
Military Academy of Vietnam[1]
Awards Hero of the People's Armed Forces
Glorious Fighter Medal
Vietnam Feat Order
Military service
Allegiance  Vietnam
Service/branch Vietnam People's Army
Years of service 1967–2016
Rank Army General
(fr:Général d'armée)
Battles/wars Vietnam War

Phùng Quang Thanh (born 2 February 1949) is Vietnam's minister of defense and is ranked as the No. 2 leader in the country's Communist Party.[2] He is an officer of the Vietnam People's Army and a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Vietnam. Enlisted in 1969, he fought in various battles during the Vietnam War and was honored with the title Hero of the People's Armed Forces in 1971 at age 22. He was appointed minister in June 2006, succeeding General Phạm Văn Trà.

Military career

Thanh was born on 2 February 1949 in Thạch Đà commune, Mê Linh, Hanoi.[1] In 1967, he joined the army at the age of 18 and was admitted to the Communist Party of Vietnam, then known as the Vietnam Workers' Party, one year later.[1]

In his early years, Thanh fought in various battles of the Vietnam War notably in the Quảng Trị campaign and during the counter-offensive of the Vietnam People's Army against Operation Lam Son 719 where he served as company commander (đại đội trưởng) in the 9th Battalion, 64th Regiment, 320th Division.

According to Vietnamese histography, during the combat on 10 February 1971, Thanh led a squad (tiểu đội) in defending a hill against a company of airborne troops of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) with aerial support, finally his unit was able to drive back the attack after putting out of action 38 enemy soldiers for which Thanh alone was credited with eight killed. Two days later, he was once more recognized when Thanh, despite being wounded in the left hand, remained in battle and commanded his platoon to accomplish the mission. For this feat of arm, Thanh was awarded the prestigious title Hero of the People's Armed Forces (Anh hùng lực lượng vũ trang nhân dân) on 20 September 1971.[1][3]

In June 1971 he was ordered to leave combat to study in the School for Infantry Officers, later in the Academy of Infantry, he was also appointed commander of the 9th Battalion, 320th Division, 1st Army Corps (Vietnam People's Army) (Quân đoàn 1) from 1972. During the war, he received total three Liberation Distinguished Service Medals, 1st Order (Huân chương Chiến công Giải phóng hạng nhất), three Brave Soldier Titles (Danh hiệu Dũng sĩ) and other awards.[1]

After the Vietnam War, Thanh continued to hold several positions in the 1st Army Corps from chief of staff of the 64th Regiment to acting commander of the 312th Division in 1988. In 1991, after two years studying in the Soviet Union and the Military Academy of Vietnam, Thanh was promoted to commander (sư đoàn trưởng) of the 312th Division. Afterwards, he served in the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army from 1993 to 1997 and as commander (tư lệnh) of the 1st Military Zone from 1997 to 2001.

In May 2001, Thanh became Chief of the General Staff and Deputy Minister of Defence of Vietnam. Five years later, he was elected to the Politburo of the Communist Party of Vietnam and began to hold the position of Minister of Defence of Vietnam, succeeding General Phạm Văn Trà.[1][3][4][5]

2015 health rumours

General Thanh visited France for medical care on June 24, 2015, due to complications from a wartime lung injury. The month-long absence sparked rumors of an assassination attempt; he was reported dead on July 19 by a German newspaper. The Vietnamese government denied the reports, and he returned to Hanoi on July 25.


Phùng Quang Thanh was promoted to Major General(fr:Général de brigade) in 1994, Lieutenant General(fr:Général de division) in 1999, Colonel General(fr:Général de corps d'armée) in 2003 and Army General(fr:Général d'armée) in 2007.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Anh hùng lực lượng vũ trang nhân dân Phùng Quang Thanh" (in Vietnamese). Museum of Military History of Vietnam. 12 July 2009.
  2. "Party Congress announces CPVCC Politburo members", Online Newspaper of the Socialist Republic of Việt Nam Government, 19 January 2011.
    "Ông Nguyễn Phú Trọng đắc cử Tổng Bí thư",, 20 January 2011. Includes pictures of the entire leadership. Archived March 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. 1 2 "Túi đựng cơm vắt của Anh hùng Phùng Quang Thanh" (in Vietnamese). 24 January 2008.
  4. Lorraine Carlos Salazar (2007). Daljit Singh, Lorraine Carlos Salazar, ed. Southeast Asian Affairs 2007. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 386. ISBN 981-230-442-8.
  5. Liana Chua Southeast Asian Perspectives on Power 2012 Page 157 "In December 2009, on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People's Army, General Phùng Quang Thanh warned of dangerous plots lurking behind 'the so-called “peace process” '. He stressed that the people needed to have 'a firm grasp of the Party's position on the protection of the Ancestral Land in the current situation'"
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