US-Vietnam: Weapons for Reform

US-Vietnam: Weapons for ReformMomentum is growing in Washington, D.C., to remove the lethal weapons ban on Vietnam, a move that would undoubtedly agitate China. It is a gambit that would impel Beijing to view the United States in much the same way the US viewed the Soviet Union’s military assistance to Cuba during the Cold War. However, it…

Is China Only Playing Catch-Up in the South China Sea

Is China Only Playing Catch-Up in the South China SeaRobert Wade and Dic Lo, in a letter published by the Financial Times recently argued that China’s actions in the South China Sea and the Pacific have merely been attempts to catch up and respond to those activities occurring outside its borders. In their letter, academics Wade and Lo said China has controlled most of…

Another China Drillship Moves South

Another China Drillship Moves SouthChina's former Foreign Minister was in Hanoi on June 18, the first high level talks since Beijing deployed the deepsea rig Haiyang Shihua 981 (HY 981) in early May to explore for oil and gas in a promising patch in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone. Almost surely not a coincidence, news services reported the same day…

New reality for Vietnam-China relations

New reality for Vietnam-China relationsThe deployment of China’s HD 981 oil drilling rig is undoubtedly the most serious incident in Sino- Vietnamese relations since the normalization of ties in 1991.   What was considered a  positive relationship based on 16 “golden words” in Chinese translated into long-term, stable, future-oriented, comprehensive cooperation relations and four “goods” – good  neighbors, good…

Vietnam: Turning Point?

Vietnam: Turning Point?It's been more than a month since China’s deep water oil drilling rig Haiyang 981 dropped anchor in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone.  Beijing's deployment of the US$1 billion rig and an armada of escort vessels shocked the Vietnamese regime, shattering illusions about its "comprehensive strategic partnership" with China. Hanoi had hoped that a policy of…

New Asia-Pacific Collective Defense Needed

New Asia-Pacific Collective Defense NeededThis year’s annual Shangri-La Dialogue, held by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore, features Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as its keynote speaker. Perhaps not surprisingly, the summit will feature discussions on conflict management, military-to-military cooperation, and, perhaps most noteworthy, the United States’ contribution to regional stability. All of this comes after almost…

Could the Viet Violence Against China Turn Against Hanoi?

Could the Viet Violence Against China Turn Against Hanoi?It was a little more than two weeks ago when Chinese state-owned corporation CNOOC moved an oil rig into contested waters off the Vietnamese coast for “exploratory work” at the behest of Beijing. Not surprisingly, Hanoi was less than receptive to the oil rig’s new home, which it pointed out was located within Vietnam’s 200-mile…

China–Vietnam Oil Rig Confrontation: An Opportunity in Crisis

China–Vietnam Oil Rig Confrontation: An Opportunity in CrisisIn a bid to assert its sovereignty in the South China Sea and gauge international response, China may have overplayed its hand. On May 2, the oil rig HD-981, owned and operated by the state-owned enterprise China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), protected by about 80 vessels and aircraft from the People’s Liberation Army Navy…

Why Should Obama Visit Vietnam?

Why Should Obama Visit Vietnam?A visit from the President of the United States to Vietnam would achieve at least two things for Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung: one, he would be able to stand side by side with Obama; and two, he would be able to present this opportunity as proof that he has a “friend” in the…

Spratly Islands and Crimea: The Fight for Self-Interest

Spratly Islands and Crimea: The Fight for Self-InterestThe current Crimean crisis lends itself for comparison to potential conflicts elsewhere around the globe, particularly the Spratly Islands dispute. If the world fails in resolving the Ukrainian crisis, claimant states in the Spratlys dispute mighty feel emboldened to expand their existing claims, opening the possibility to a state seizing possessions from another claimant. If…