The financial crisis of 2008 has ushered in an era of uncertainty that is redefining the post–Cold War world. While the United States, as a global actor, focuses on systemic effects, every international relationship is affected by the need for caution and by changes in relative position. China and Vietnam have always had an asymmetric relationship, but the gap has grown with China's strong recovery and increased regional and global presence. Both countries are interested in improving cooperation, but for Vietnam the risks as well as the opportunities are more immediate. New strength in regional cooperation as well as the continued global presence of the United States provides important contexts of reassurance to bilateral normalcy.