The Great Game for the Spratlys

Vietnam has been remarkably successful in getting the South China Sea issue back onto the international agenda, in the process underscoring its new ties with the United States and asserting Hanoi's leadership of Asean on this issue. China is furious but its reaction, seemingly driven by President Hu and the People's Liberation Army rather than the foreign ministry in strongly re-asserting China's claims to the whole sea, has brought further attention to the issue. It is being watched closely by Japan, and Russia and India are continuing to strengthen their relations with Vietnam partly with the sea issue and navigation rights in mind.

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