"Firm in principles, flexible in strategy and tactics": Understanding the logic of Vietnam's China policy

Thuy Do

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Since 1991, Vietnam has adopted a dual strategic position towards China: it sees China as an indispensable economic and security partner and simultaneously it seeks to hedge against China's possible territorial encroachment by gradually beefing up its military and cautiously forging strategic ties with other powers. The making of Vietnam's current China policy is predominantly shaped by the interplay of two constants (geography and history) and two variables (China's policy and changing big power relations). Among these factors, geography and history serve as the basis for understanding Vietnam's hedging policy vis-a-vis China and explain why thus far Hanoi remains very reluctant to enter an alliance to counter China's rise. While being firm on its independent policy, Vietnam has become more "flexible in strategy and tactics" in rebalancing itself from China's orbit towards the West's as the result of China's increased assertiveness in the South China Sea disputes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)24-39pp
    JournalAsian Journal of Comparative Politics
    Volume2
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

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