Vietnam’s 2020 strategy: a year of diplomatic force-multipliers

lowyinstitute.org – MICHAEL NGUYEN  – Published 16 Dec 2019 14:00  

As chair of ASEAN and with a seat on the UN Security Council, Hanoi has a chance to turn regional attention its way.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc raises the gavel as ASEAN chair for 2020 after a handover from Thailand’s Prayut Chan-O-Cha (Photo: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images)
Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc raises the gavel as ASEAN chair for 2020 after a handover from Thailand’s Prayut Chan-O-Cha (Photo: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images)

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s raising of the ASEAN gavel last month signalled not only Vietnam’s commencement as chair of the regional grouping, but also the start of a critically definitive period for its foreign policy in the South China Sea.

2020 is set to be a busy year for Vietnam, with several force multipliers for its foreign policy. Beyond its chairmanship of ASEAN’s Vision 2020 goals – predominantly stability in the region – Hanoi will also balance a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and potential international legal action against Beijing. While such diplomatic responsibilities come with significant pressure, the opportune timing provides Hanoi a chance to engage the international community in its maritime security interests. Tiếp tục đọc “Vietnam’s 2020 strategy: a year of diplomatic force-multipliers”

Vietnam takes a stand in the South China Sea

Vietnam takes a stand in the South China Sea
A Vietnamese soldier stands watch overlooking the South China Sea. Photo: Facebook

After buckling in previous confrontations, Vietnam is finally facing down Chinese expansionism in its oil and gas-rich waters

Normally, Vietnam would have backed down. In July 2017 and March 2018, when China reportedly threatened military action if Vietnam did not stop oil exploration in contested areas of the South China Sea, Vietnam blinked and withdrew its vessels.

Last year, Vietnam scrapped a US$200 million oil and gas development project with Spanish energy giant Repsol situated within its own exclusive economic zone (EEZ) due to Chinese pressure. However, when a Chinese survey ship and coastguard vessels sailed last month to the contested oil-rich Vanguard Bank, which also lies well within Vietnam’s southeastern EEZ, Hanoi stood its ground. Tiếp tục đọc “Vietnam takes a stand in the South China Sea”