Vietnam’s Alliance Politics in the South China Sea

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Source: Le Hong Hiep, “Vietnam’s Alliance Politics in the South China Sea”, Trends in Southeast Asia, No.6, 2015.

Executive summary: 

– Vietnam has long maintained “no alliance” as a core principle in its foreign policy. However, as China becomes increasingly assertive in the South China Sea, there are indications that Vietnam is moving towards “alliance politics”, or efforts to forge close security and defense ties short of formal, treaty-bound alliances with key partners, to deal with the new situation.

– The need for such a shift in Vietnam’s China strategy became more relevant after the 2014 Haiyang Shiyou 981 oil rig crisis displayed the limitations in Hanoi’s hedging strategy. It deepened Vietnam’s perception of China as a serious threat and highlighted the irreconcilability between its twin goals of maintaining good relations with China and protecting its interests in the South China Sea. Continue reading “Vietnam’s Alliance Politics in the South China Sea”

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