[MA] Vietnamese Take to Streets to Protest China Oil Rig

[Bloomberg] Vietnam’s communist government allowed thousands of citizens to protest in the nation’s biggest cities to denounce a Chinese oil rig placed in contested waters that has led to clashes between ships from the two countries.

About 1,000 people marched in Ho Chi Minh City streets while hundreds gathered in a public square in front of the Chinese embassy in the capital city of Hanoi as police officers watched without interrupting. There were smaller protests in Danang and Hue in central Vietnam, Tuoi Tre newspaper reported. Protestors carried signs and banners, sang and chanted to protestChina’s exploration offshore. Continue reading “[MA] Vietnamese Take to Streets to Protest China Oil Rig”

Vietnam’s Hedging Strategy against China since Normalization

[Contemporary Southeast Asia] ABSTRACT: Since the normalization of Sino-Vietnamese relations in 1991, Vietnam’s China policy has been shaped by a combination of approaches which can be best described as a multi-tiered, omni-directional hedging strategy. The article argues that hedging is the most rational and viable option for Vietnam to manage its relations with China given its historical experiences, domestic and bilateral conditions, as well as changes in Vietnam’s external relations and the international strategic environment. The article examines the four major components of this strategy, namely economic pragmatism, direct engagement, hard balancing and soft balancing. The article goes on to assess the significance of each component and details how Vietnam has pursued its hedging strategy towards China since normalization. Continue reading “Vietnam’s Hedging Strategy against China since Normalization”

Vietnam’s Domestic–Foreign Policy Nexus: Doi Moi, Foreign Policy Reform, and Sino-Vietnamese Normalization

[Asian Politics & Policy] This article examines the link between Vietnam’s adoption of the Doi Moi (renovation) policy and transformations in its China policy in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a case study of the domestic–foreign policy nexus. The article argues that during this period, changes in Vietnam’s foreign policy in general and its China policy in particular originated first and foremost from the Vietnamese Communist Party’s (VCP) domestic agenda of promoting economic reform and protecting the regime’s survival. As the VCP considered hostile relations with China as detrimental to both its economic reform and regime security, it strived to mend relations with China as quickly as possible. Against this backdrop, Vietnam made a number of important concessions to China regarding the Cambodian issue in order to accelerate the normalization process, which eventually concluded in late 1991. Continue reading “Vietnam’s Domestic–Foreign Policy Nexus: Doi Moi, Foreign Policy Reform, and Sino-Vietnamese Normalization”

South China Sea disputes strain Vietnam–China relations

[East Asia Forum] Since 1991, comprehensive Vietnam–China relations have developed but remain constrained by the South China Sea (SCS) disputes.

What makes the disputes highly relevant for future bilateral relations is that they have proven intractable, leaving the possibility of an eventual solution a matter of almost infinite uncertainty.

The intractability of the disputes is rooted in their complicated nature as well as setbacks in possible settlements. Continue reading “South China Sea disputes strain Vietnam–China relations”

South China Sea Disputes Keep Vietnam-China Relations Cold

[ISEAS Perspective 22/2013] Despite recent significant improvements in bilateral relations, a number of problems still exist which can threaten Vietnam’s relations with China in the long term. Disputes in the South China Sea [Biển Đông, or East Sea, in Vietnamese] stand out as the single most challenging one. Resurfaced recently, the disputes have not only remained the most serious sticking point in bilateral relations but have even pitted the two countries against each other in deadly armed confrontation on a number of occasions as well. The management and resolution (if ever) of the disputes therefore bear significant implications for the future relations between the two growing economies.

This paper provides an analysis of how the South China Sea disputes have been a constant irritant to Vietnam—China relations. Accordingly, the paper will first be examining factors that make the disputes intractable. Next, it will review joint efforts to manage and resolve the disputes, their successes as well as limitations. Finally, it will discuss some recent developments which show how serious a challenge the disputes have been to bilateral relations. Continue reading “South China Sea Disputes Keep Vietnam-China Relations Cold”

Vietnam’s balancing act

[American Review Magazine – Nov 2012]  In early 1833, a United States delegation led by Edmund Roberts arrived in Vietnam on the sloop-of-war USS Peacock, which anchored in Vung Lam Bay, off modern Phu Yen province. As a “special confidential agent” of President Andrew Jackson, Roberts proposed to sign a treaty of commerce with the Nguyen Dynasty but failed in his mission due to misunderstandings caused by language barriers and Vietnam’s isolationist policy. It took the two countries another 166 years to conclude a bilateral trade agreement. Roberts’s failed mission was one of the many missed opportunities that, right from the early days of their interaction, prevented Vietnam and the United States from establishing a stronger relationship. Continue reading “Vietnam’s balancing act”

[Phỏng vấn] Trung Quốc đang tự cô lập bằng chính sách khiêu khích

[Tuổi Trẻ]  Nên nhìn nhận như thế nào về chuyện tàu hải quân Trung Quốc đã nổ súng nhằm vào tàu đánh cá của ngư dân Việt Nam?

Trả lời câu hỏi trên, thạc sĩ Lê Hồng Hiệp (giảng viên khoa quan hệ quốc tế ĐH KHXH&NV TP.HCM, nghiên cứu sinh tại Học viện Quốc phòng Úc, ĐH New South Wales) nói:

– Hành vi bắn vào ngư dân Việt Nam của Trung Quốc rõ ràng là vi phạm nguyên tắc đối xử nhân đạo đối với ngư dân mà hai bên đã nhiều lần nhấn mạnh, vi phạm Tuyên bố về cách ứng xử của các bên trên biển Đông (DOC) cũng như tinh thần của bản Thỏa thuận các nguyên tắc cơ bản giải quyết các vấn đề trên biển mà hai nước đã ký vào tháng 10-2011. Continue reading “[Phỏng vấn] Trung Quốc đang tự cô lập bằng chính sách khiêu khích”

Việt Nam-Trung Quốc phụ thuộc lẫn nhau?

[BBC Vietnamese] Diễn đàn Đông Á (East Asia Forum) mới đây có giới thiệu bài viết của học giả Lê Hồng Hiệp mang tựa đề “The rise of Chinese contractors in Vietnam” (Sự trỗi dậy của các nhà thầu Trung Quốc tại Việt Nam). Chúng tôi xin giới thiệu cùng quý vị.

Đến cuối năm 2009 các công ty kỹ thuật của Trung Quốc đã tham gia vào các dự án trị giá 15,4 tỷ USD tại Việt Nam, đưa thị trường Việt Nam trở thành thị trường lớn nhất của Trung Quốc tại khu vực Đông Nam Á.

Đôi khi các nhà thầu Trung Quốc thậm chí còn chiếm tới 90% các hợp đồng Kỹ thuật, Thuê mua, Xây dựng, gọi tắt là EPC (Engineering / Procurement /Construction) cho các nhà máy nhiệt điện tại Việt Nam. Continue reading “Việt Nam-Trung Quốc phụ thuộc lẫn nhau?”

Pre-Colonial Vietnam’s Development under Sino-Vietnamese Cultural and Economic Interactions

[International Studies] This article seeks to provide an analysis of how cultural and economic interactions with China affected Vietnam’s course of national development and its perception of China in the pre-colonial period. The article argues that due to geographical proximity, a far more powerful China had long been a permanent and major source of military threat for Vietnam. Nevertheless, in the domain of cultural and economic interactions between the two asymmetric powers, China’s influence on Vietnam appeared to be mixed, sometimes threatening but sometimes beneficial for the smaller power in certain aspects. Therefore, a more balanced account of Vietnam’s relations with China in the pre-colonial era should take into consideration not only the antagonistic rivalry perpetuated by the ‘tyranny of geography,’ but also the resilient cultural and economic symbiosis made possible by the condition of geographical proximity between the two countries. Continue reading “Pre-Colonial Vietnam’s Development under Sino-Vietnamese Cultural and Economic Interactions”

The Dominance of Chinese Engineering Contractors in Vietnam

[ISEAS Perspective 4/2013] 


Since bilateral normalization in 1991, Vietnam-China economic relations have been developing rapidly. One particular change is the dominant position in Vietnam that Chinese engineering contractors have managed to attain. According to China’s Ministry of Commerce (2010), Chinese engineering companies were by the end of 2009 involved in projects worth US$15.42 billion, turning the Vietnamese market into their largest in Southeast Asia. Various Vietnamese sources also confirm that these contractors are strongly outcompeting contractors from Japan, South Korea, and Western countries. On occasion, Chinese contractors have accounted for up to 90 per cent of EPC (Engineering/Procurement/Construction) contracts for thermal power plants in Vietnam (Nhat Minh, 2012). Continue reading “The Dominance of Chinese Engineering Contractors in Vietnam”