Simmering tensions between Beijing and Hanoi erupted recently due to disagreements over oil and gas exploration.
The official commissioning of six new Kilo submarines is a landmark moment for the Vietnam People's Navy in its transformation from a brown-water to a green-water navy.
The role of the Vietnam Coast Guard in Vietnam’s overall maritime strategy is rising in importance, but comes with its own set of difficulties in implementation.
Developments in the international affairs of Southeast Asia are generating considerable uncertainty and doubt among regional players, including Vietnam. Seeking a delicate balance between great powers, and among other regional states, is a necessity for Hanoi to keep Vietnam’s national interests and relationships with other countries undamaged.
The July 12 judgement of the tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration regarding Manila’s case against Beijing’s South China Sea claims has reshaped the geostrategic landscape in Southeast Asia. But surprisingly, Vietnam has only issued a brief statement on the verdict, with Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Le Hai Binh saying that “Vietnam welcomes […]
U.S. and Vietnam build trust, sending a strong deterrence signal to China.
General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong was unanimously reelected during the 12th National Congress of Vietnam’s Communist Party, held January 21-28. Trong, who is less strident than other Vietnamese leaders in his criticism of Beijing’s behavior in the South China Sea, has been seen as leading the party’s more conservative, pro-Chinese faction. But many in Hanoi […]
President Xi Jinping’s visit to Vietnam on November 5-6 was the first by a Chinese president in 10 years. Hu Jintao made a trip in November 2005, when relations between the two countries were relatively relaxed. The period from 2006 to 2008, when China reached out to Southeast Asian neighbors and cooperated with the United […]
China has nine maritime neighbors (including Taiwan) but no settled maritime boundaries, due in part to China’s unwillingness to specify its maritime claims. Only one partial exception to this imprecision exists: a boundary agreement with Vietnam to delimit the northern part of the Gulf of Tonkin and a fishery agreement establishing a joint fishing regime […]
Chinese authorities, as well as sympathetic writers, have in recent months sought to deflect criticism of China’s island-building campaign in the Spratlys by insisting that Beijing is merely copying what other claimants have done for years. According to this narrative, every claimant is as guilty as Beijing of altering the status of features in the […]
As far as China’s designs in the South China Sea are concerned, there is little sign of compromise on the horizon. Not only has China openly declared its commitment to “active defense” of its interests in adjacent waters, and also dangled the option of imposing an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the area, but […]
Vietnam boosted its military spending by 113 percent between 2004 and 2013, the largest increase among Southeast Asian countries. Defense spending has accounted for around 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product since 2004. Total spending was $3.3 billion in 2012 and $3.4 billion in 2013 (the latest year for which figures are available), […]
On February 26, the semi-official China Military Online reported that Beijing is conducting “large-scale” land reclamation in the disputed Spratly Islands—activities that the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative and major news outlets worldwide have been watching closely in recent weeks. In a follow-on article, Reuters called this public acknowledgment of work on six reefs “unusual.” We […]
Source image: Google Earth This map shows four land features in the Spratly Islands that have undergone significant construction or land reclamation work in the past year. They are: Itu Aba, Gaven Reef, Johnson South Reef, and Fiery Cross Reef. Read more details about the features of these projects and use click and drag the […]
Much has been written and reported on China’s recent land reclamation and mass construction activities in the Paracel and Spratly Islands, which raise alarm about Chinese plans to alter the status quo in the South China Sea. Of course, Chinese and even Taiwanese officials and scholars have put forward complaints that it is unfair to […]
Those closely following the situation in the South China Sea have been wringing their hands about the military potential of China’s unprecedented island building work over the last year. This anxiety is understandable, and the expanded patrol and surveillance capacity that Beijing is constructing with facilities, docks, and probably at least one airstrip in the […]
One of the weakest military and economic powers in the region – the Philippines – took the strongest – China – to international court in 2013. The Philippines challenges China’s assertion of vast maritime claims over the South China Sea, pursuant to detailed rules and binding dispute resolution processes of the UN Convention of the […]
The friction between China and Vietnam over the oil rig Haiyang Shiyou-981 (in Vietnamese: Hải Dương-981) was a major point of South China Sea tension in 2014. The stakes were not so big that that the parties resorted to military action, but this episode was an important sign that Hanoi does not intend to swallow the […]
Beijing has reached its December 15 deadline to submit its defense in the arbitration case against its South China Sea claims brought by the Philippines. That case, brought under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea’s (UNCLOS) compulsory dispute mechanism, is summarized here. The Chinese government has no intention of taking part in […]
Today’s deadline for the submission of China’s counter-memorial in the Philippines v. China arbitration has created a four-cornered melee of positions papers over one of the key issues in dispute, the legality of China’s nine-dash line claim. The United States weighed in first on December 5th with the release of its Limits in the Seas […]