Vietnam’s Domestic–Foreign Policy Nexus: Doi Moi, Foreign Policy Reform, and Sino-Vietnamese Normalization

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Title: Vietnam’s Domestic–Foreign Policy Nexus: Doi Moi, Foreign Policy Reform, and Sino-Vietnamese Normalization

Author: Lê Hồng Hiệp

Source: Asian Politics & Policy—Volume 5, Number 3—Pages 387–406.

Abstract:
This article examines the link between Vietnam’s adoption of the Doi Moi (renovation) policy and transformations in its China policy in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a case study of the domestic–foreign policy nexus. The article argues that during this period, changes in Vietnam’s foreign policy in general and its China policy in particular originated first and foremost from the Vietnamese Communist Party’s (VCP) domestic agenda of promoting economic reform and protecting the regime’s survival. As the VCP considered hostile relations with China as detrimental to both its economic reform and regime security, it strived to mend relations with China as quickly as possible. Against this backdrop, Vietnam made a number of important concessions to China regarding the Cambodian issue in order to accelerate the normalization process, which eventually concluded in late 1991.

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