from Asia Unbound

The Uncertainty of Vietnam’s Domestic Politics and Foreign Policy

Anti-China protesters hold placards during a demonstration in front of the Chinese embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam on August 6, 2019. Kham/Reuters

January 30, 2020

Anti-China protesters hold placards during a demonstration in front of the Chinese embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam on August 6, 2019. Kham/Reuters
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In a major new defense white paper, its first in ten years, Vietnam has signaled that it could abandon its long-standing foreign policy strategy of hedging between major powers like China and the United States and move more definitively into Washington’s orbit. These documents are generally full of turgid Marxist-Leninist jargon, but this one, released late last year, is unusually blunt, with an unprecedented warning to China about the consequences of stepping up its aggressive behavior toward Vietnam in the South China Sea.

For more on my analysis of Vietnam’s new defense white paper, and what it means for Vietnamese foreign policy, see my new World Politics Review piece.

More on:

Southeast Asia

Vietnam

China

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