[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”

Will Development Lead to Democratisation in Vietnam and China?

[ISEAS Perspective #23/2014]

Many countries around the world have undergone a transition to democracy over the last few decades. In the 1980s and 1990s, the so-called “third wave of democratisation”1 swept through Asia to bring about democratic transitions in nine countries: Bangladesh (1990), Indonesia (1998), Mongolia (1990), Nepal (1990), Pakistan (1988), the Philippines (1986), South Korea (1987), Taiwan (1987), and Thailand (1992). In tandem with fast-changing world developments, both the scholarly community and policy practitioners have been revisiting the processes of democracy-building and discussing how democracies develop. Continue reading “Will Development Lead to Democratisation in Vietnam and China?”

Crimea và nguyên tắc đối ngoại của VN

[BBC Vietnamese] Ngày 17/3/2014, Quốc hội Cộng hòa tự trị Crimea và thành phố Sevastopol tuyên bố độc lập khỏi Ucraine và đệ đơn xin gia nhập Liên bang Nga.

Theo đó, một hiệp ước cho phép Crimea sáp nhập vào Nga đã được Quốc hội Nga thông qua và sau đó được Tổng thống Nga Vladimir Putin phê chuẩn vào ngày 21/3. Hành động của Nga đã bị nhiều nước trên thế giới lên án và phản đối kịch liệt vì Nga đã vi phạm chủ quyền quốc gia và toàn vẹn lãnh thổ của Ukraine. Cựu ngoại trưởng Hoa Kỳ Hillary Clinton hay Ngoại trưởng Canada John Baird thậm chí còn so sánh hành động nuốt chửng Crimea của Nga với việc Đức Quốc xã thôn tính Sudetenland của Tiệp Khắc ngay trước Thế chiến II với cùng một lý do là bảo vệ các kiều dân của mình sống ở các vùng đất đó. Continue reading “Crimea và nguyên tắc đối ngoại của VN”

[MA] Vietnam’s new constitution shows limits of reform

[Deutsche Welle, 6/1/14] Vietnam has had a new constitution since the beginning of this year, after a near-unanimous vote by the National Assembly in November 2013. But it leaves much to be desired in terms of political and economic reform. Continue reading “[MA] Vietnam’s new constitution shows limits of reform”

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”

[MA] Kerry Revives Asia Focus With Trip From Hanoi to Manila

[Bloomberg] U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will emphasize the American presence inSoutheast Asia in visits to Vietnamand the Philippines after PresidentBarack Obama’s absence from a summit in October ceded the spotlight toChina.

Obama skipped the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Brunei because of the partial U.S. government shutdown at the time. His absence raised questions in the region about America’s promised strategic re-balancing toward the Asia-Pacific even as China exerts expanding influence in the region.

“The U.S. is trying to overcome the fallout from the no-show in Brunei,” Carlyle Thayer, an emeritus professor at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, said in a phone interview. “In terms of re-balancing, Vietnam is a major strategic player in Southeast Asia.” Continue reading “[MA] Kerry Revives Asia Focus With Trip From Hanoi to Manila”

The One Party-State and Prospects for Democratization in Vietnam

[ISEAS Perspective] The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) is one of the longest ruling parties in the world. It has been governing continuously for 68 years, 38 years of which have been in peace time. Within the next 7 years, it will be challenging the record held by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) of having the longest unbroken rule by any political party in modern world history.

The Party’s turn to performance-based legitimacy—the state’s ability to provide for the welfare of the people through sound economic performance—has served as the essential foundation for its continued rule. This began with the adoption of the Doi Moi policy in the late 1980s. However, prolonged economic difficulties, the public’s growing frustration with endemic corruption in the Party’s ranks, the increasing number of dissidents attempting to organize themselves into opposition movements, and pressure for deep political reforms from within the Party have presented the CPV with serious challenges to its political legitimacy.

This paper seeks to examine recent major challenges to the CPV’s rule and assess
the key conditions and forces that are either accelerating or slowing down prospects for democratization in the country. Continue reading “The One Party-State and Prospects for Democratization in Vietnam”

Defence cooperation underpins Vietnam–Russia push for renewed economic cooperation

[East Asia Forum] On 12 November 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin paid an official visit to Vietnam. This was his second visit to a country in the Asia Pacific since he regained the presidency in May 2012, and is further evidence of the maturing comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.

Vietnam’s close relationship with the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation, its main successor state, date back to the early decades of the Cold War. The relationship was strengthened during the 1960s and 1970s, culminating in the 1978 Bilateral Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation. The bilateral relationship suffered a lull after the Soviet collapse in the 1990s as Russia enacted a wholesale transformation of its economic system and a major foreign policy reorientation. But relations regained momentum in the post-Cold War era with the establishment of the Vietnam-Russia Strategic Partnership in 2001. The partnership was then upgraded to the comprehensive strategic level in 2012 to reflect the increasing depth and breadth of the relationship. Continue reading “Defence cooperation underpins Vietnam–Russia push for renewed economic cooperation”

Việt – Nga thắt chặt quan hệ

[BBC Vietnamese] Chuyến thăm ngày 12/11 của Tổng thống Nga Vladimir Putin là chuyến thăm chính thức lần thứ 3 của Putin tới Việt Nam.

Việt Nam cũng là quốc gia thứ hai ở khu vực Châu Á – Thái Bình Dương mà ông viếng thăm sau khi quay lại làm chủ điện Kremlin trong vai trò tổng thống vào tháng 3 năm ngoái. Chuyến thăm này một lần nữa cho thấy mối quan hệ “đối tác chiến lược toàn diện” ngày càng chín muồi giữa hai nước.

Mối quan hệ mật thiết của Việt Nam với Liên Xô và ngày nay là Liên bang Nga có gốc rễ từ những thập niên đầu của thời kỳ Chiến tranh Lạnh. Mối quan hệ này đã được tăng cường những năm 1960 và 1970, đánh dấu bằng đỉnh cao là Hiệp định Hữu nghị và Hợp tác Việt Xô năm 1978, vốn mang tính chất gần như là một hiệp ước đồng minh chiến lược.

Sau một giai đoạn trầm lắng thời kỳ những năm 1990 chủ yếu do các vấn đề nội bộ của Nga sau khi Liên Xô tan rã và việc Kremlin tái định hướng chính sách đối ngoại hướng sang phương Tây, quan hệ hai nước đã lấy lại động lực vốn có với việc Nga trở thành đối tác chiến lược đầu tiên của Việt Nam vào năm 2001. Năm ngoái, quan hệ đối tác này được nâng cấp lên tầm “chiến lược toàn diện” nhằm phản ánh sự phát triển cả về bề rộng lẫn chiều sâu của mối quan hệ trong thời gian gần đây. Continue reading “Việt – Nga thắt chặt quan hệ”

[MA] China continues SEA charm offensive

[The Straits Time] On Monday night, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stopped by a small shop in Ha Noi. The shop, which was about to close for the night, stayed open for its VIP customer.

As Li bought some tea, he asked the shop owner not to give him a discount and said that “we are making a fair trade”.

The exchange, which the Chinese state media highlighted with several photos of an affable-looking Li in the shop, gave a sideways glimpse of China’s latest efforts to soften its image and win over its neighbours anew.

In recent years, the region has grown leery of the country’s assertiveness and territorial ambitions, particularly in the resource-rich South China Sea – a sentiment which Beijing has tried to soothe in the past two weeks. Continue reading “[MA] China continues SEA charm offensive”