Credit photo: mvoelker via Flickr
What are Hanoi’s options to push back on Beijing?
Once again, Chinese assertiveness against Vietnam in the South China Sea is on the rise. Beginning on April 3, a Chinese coast guard ship sunk a Vietnamese fishing vessel in disputed waters off the Paracel Islands, and ten days later, on April 13, Beijing redeployed the controversial Haiyang Dizhi 8 geological survey ship, which it had used last year to harass international drilling near Vanguard Bank, to Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). And on April 18, Beijing announced that it had established administrative control over the disputed Paracel and Spratly Islands.
- Chinese assertiveness against Vietnam in the South China Sea is on the rise
- Hanoi might make good on its threat in November to take China to international court over its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, as the Philippines did in 2013 and as Vietnam supported in 2014
- The paper reiterates Hanoi’s “Three No’s” defense policy — no alliances, no foreign bases on Vietnamese territory, and no aligning with a second against a third country — and notes that “depending on the circumstances and specific conditions [my emphasis added], Vietnam will consider developing necessary, appropriate defense and military relations with other countries.” This line strongly suggests that Hanoi could look to Washington for further assistance if Beijing’s behavior in the South China Sea does not improve
- Regardless of its course of action, the good news is Vietnam has many reasonable options to struggle more against China in the South China Sea
Read more: The Diplomat