Joint Development Possibilities in the South China Sea: a Vietnamese Perspective

forage vietnam afp

Author: Truong-Minh Vu & Huynh Tam Sang

Source: East Asia Policy, Volume 6, Number 2, Apr/Jun 2014, 117-123.

Abstract: Southeast Asian countries have refused to accept China’s proposal to set aside disputes and pursue joint development since 2009. Why? This paper argues that China is becoming too powerful and has increasingly possessed more hard power such as economic and military capability. It, however, has not agreed to limit its power by institutional frameworks. Southeast Asian countries have little sympathy for China’s cooperative projects given the lack of “constitutional order”. Continue reading “Joint Development Possibilities in the South China Sea: a Vietnamese Perspective”

Locating Vietnam-Japan strategic partnership in the changing East Asian political landscape


Author: Do Thi Thuy

Source: Japan Institute of International Affairs Working Paper series

Abstract: Unlike the other complicated bilateral relationships in East Asia, Vietnam and Japan are the two generally ‘problem-free’ neighbours. Despite having been ‘strategic partners’ since 2006, due to domestic and external constraints, until recently this strategic partnership was mainly confined to the economic domain. However, with the changing regional political landscape stemming from China’s growing unilateralism and assertiveness in territorial disputes, the ambiguity of U.S. commitment to Asia, Continue reading “Locating Vietnam-Japan strategic partnership in the changing East Asian political landscape”

Vietnam’s South China Sea Disputes with China: The Economic Determinants

Author: Le Hong Hiep

Source: The Korean Journal of Defense Analysis, Vol. 26, No. 2, June 2014, 175–191.

Abstract: This article seeks to provide an investigation of the influence of economic factors on the dynamics of Vietnam’s South China Sea disputes with China as well as the shaping of its related strategy. The article argues that since the late 1980s economic factors have contributed significantly and in different ways to the evolving dynamics of the bilateral disputes. Vietnam’s effective exploitation of the sea’s resources for economic development and China’s moves to counter such efforts have generated constant tensions in their bilateral relationship. Continue reading “Vietnam’s South China Sea Disputes with China: The Economic Determinants”

Ethnic Minorities, Government Policies, and Foreign Relations: The Ethnic Chinese in Vietnam and Ethnic Vietnamese in Cambodia

Author: Ramses Amer 

Source: Asia Paper, June 2014.

The main purpose of this study is to analyse the impact of government policies and foreign relations on ethnic minorities. This is done through two case studies from East Asia. The cases are: 1) the ethnic Chinese in Vietnam and Sino-Vietnamese relations, and 2) the ethnic Vietnamese in Cambodia and Cambodia-Vietnam relations. Both cases display that inter-state relations can have considerable impact on the situation of ethnic minorities in neighbouring countries. The two cases also display that deteriorating inter-state relations can influence government policies toward ethnic minorities. In both cases deteriorating inter-state relations combined with government policies have caused large-scale migrations, in particular in the 1970s. The empirical evidence provided by the two cases and the lessons drawn from them are used to analyse the relationship between government policies and inter-state relations both in relation to the two cases and more broadly. The two cases display the relevance of studying the triangular relationship between host country, country of origin, and ethnic minority. In both cases the minorities can be seen as diasporas in countries bordering on their country of origin. The case of the ethnic Chinese in Vietnam displays a case when the minority comes under pressure for a period of time due to a deterioration of relations between host country and country of origin. The case of the ethnic Vietnamese in Cambodia display a similar pattern of development coupled with a domestic situation in which the ethnic Vietnamese are facing negative repercussions due to the domestic political situation. Thus, the basic difference between the two cases is that the ethnic Chinese in Vietnam have been reintegrated into Vietnamese society while the ethnic Vietnamese in Cambodia have not. Continue reading “Ethnic Minorities, Government Policies, and Foreign Relations: The Ethnic Chinese in Vietnam and Ethnic Vietnamese in Cambodia”

“New thinking” about the history issue: Japan’s lost chance in China?

Author: Đỗ Thị Thủy*


China and Japan have undergone a long history of bilateral relations fraught with traumas and bitterness. The memory of Japanese aggression in China during the World War II is still haunting many hearts and minds in both countries. The unresolved history issue thus ranks very high in their bilateral agenda. Taking a retrospective look at the evolution of the history issue, it seems that the management of this issue represents the patterns of cooperation and struggle between the two East Asian powers. While many former enemies have become true friends in international relations today, this is not the case of China and Japan. The Cold War period elapsed without Sino-Japanese reconciliation as the way France and Germany did although there had been time China and Japan were ‘de facto allies’ against Soviet hegemony in East Asia. The post-Cold War period witnesses the rapid rise of China, Japan’s strive to become a “normal country”, and a tensed dispute between the two countries over the history issue. It is against this context that this study aims to examine what stays behind the history issue in China-Japan relations. Continue reading ““New thinking” about the history issue: Japan’s lost chance in China?”

Vietnam in 2013: Domestic Contestation and Foreign Policy Success

Title: Vietnam in 2013: Domestic Contestation and Foreign Policy Success

Author: Carlyle A. Thayer

Source: Southeast Asian Affairs 2014, pp. 353-372.


The year 2013 marked the mid-way point in the tenure of the Vietnam Communist Party (VCP) Central Committee elected at the eleventh national party congress in 2011. During the year the Central Committee began to assert its prerogative as the party’s executive authority between national party congresses. The Central Committee’s new political assertiveness has been at the expense of party Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong and his supporters in the Politburo. The Central Committee’s assertiveness also strengthened the power and influence of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. Continue reading “Vietnam in 2013: Domestic Contestation and Foreign Policy Success”

Deconstructing the “Socialist” Rule of Law in Vietnam: The Changing Discourse on Human Rights in Vietnam’s Constitutional Reform

Title: Deconstructing the “Socialist” Rule of Law in Vietnam: The Changing Discourse on Human Rights in Vietnam’s Constitutional Reform

Author: Bùi Hải Thiêm

Source: Contemporary Southeast Asia Vol. 36, No. 1 (2014), pp. 77–100.


Over the past two decades, efforts by the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) to build a “socialist” rule of law through legal and judicial reforms have contributed to the vibrant constitutional politics in the country. During the process of amending the 1992 Constitution, the socialist theoretical foundations of the Constitution quietly shifted as a result of new thinking and values. The complex interactions of old and new ideological precepts were prominently reflected by the changing discourse of human rights during debates about amendments to the 1992 Constitution. This article investigates the development of the “socialist” rule of law and the changes taking place in the discourse of human rights during the constitutional reform process in Vietnam. In setting out the context and content of constitutional reform, it seeks to deconstruct the socialist rule of law and interpret the discourse of human rights accordingly. In doing so, the mechanisms by which human rights have been socialized will be unpacked to make sense of subtle changes in the human rights discourse. Furthermore, the paper aims to uncover the implications of such a change for the development of Vietnam’s human rights regime.

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Business associations and the politics of contained participation in Vietnam

Title: Business associations and the politics of contained participation in Vietnam

Author: Nguyễn Phương Tú

Source: Australian Journal of Political Science, DOI: 10.1080/10361146.2014.896317


The development of the private sector in Vietnam since the mid-1990s has accompanied the emergence of organised business interests, which is recognised as vital to pursuing the agenda of economic modernisation. This article aims to explore the significance of the interactions between the state and business associations representing small-and-medium enterprises. It demonstrates that business associations have transformed state–business relations in a way that is distinguishable from state corporatism or societal pluralism. The analysis examines the interplay between state actors and emerging non-state entities, and the deliberative capacity of intermediary organisations in the policy-making process, specifically through the Vietnam Association of Small and Medium Enterprises. It is argued that this process constitutes a new mode of political participation that reflects the entanglement of the state and private capital interests. It reveals features of contained participation and contributes to the research agenda on deliberative and governance practices in post-socialist transitional economies. 

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Rethinking the end of the Cold War and Francis Fukuyama’s ‘End of History’ hyphothesis

Title: Rethinking the end of the Cold War and Francis Fukuyama’s ‘End of History’ hyphothesis

Author: Đỗ Thị Thủy

Source: International Studies, No. 24, June 2011, pp. 239-260.


The year 1991 marked a turning point in the world history – one of the two superpowers (the Soviet Union – USSR) collapsed, putting an end to the bipolar system and nearly half a century of the intense confrontation between the United States (US) & the USSR in their global Cold War. Two decades have passed since that day but scholars keep debating about its end, perhaps no less heated as they did about its origins. The fact that no single international relations theory managed to predict such an end and even had difficulties explaining it makes the end of the Cold War more attractive and controversial for both historians and theorists. Coming out right after this very end, Francis Fukuyama‟s book “The end of history and the last man” furthered the debate as it provoked the idea that the end of the Cold War would be the end of all kinds of IR theory and mankind‟s history toward a long-lasting peace and stability dominated by liberalism and Western values.

How can we explain the end of the Cold War? Did it really end? Why did IR theory fail to predict such an end? Is the end of the Cold War an end to theory and history? These questions have been and are still shaping a great debate between international historians and IR theorists. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Cold War‟s end – a perfect time for revisiting these issues. With the hope to contribute to the clarification of the aforesaid puzzles, this paper will review the debate and give its own assessment.

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APEC 2011 and the Future of Regional Architecture in Asia Pacific

Author: Vu, Le Thai Hoang, Ph.D. [1]

Source: International Studies, No. 24 (June – 2011), pp. 203-219.

Being the first-ever symbol of open regionalism[2] in Asia-Pacific since 1989, APEC with the principle of non-discrimination is seen as the premier forum to promote regional trade liberalization and economic integration while strengthening cooperation to address non-traditional security issues. In the overall regional strategy of the Obama Administration, APEC continues to serve as an important and most appropriate bridge to link US economic interests to regional economies, thereby helping the US achieve its short-term target of doubling exports within five years while delivering on its long-term “back-to-Asia” commitment and vision to consolidate leadership, at least economically, in the evolving two-pronged regional architecture to be founded on the East Asia Summit (EAS) (as the politico-security pillar) and APEC (as the economic pillar). 2011 when the US hosts APEC is a golden opportunity for the Obama Administration to create next breakthroughs in the grand journey to return to the region in all dimensions and in the immediate future earn significant points in the race for presidency for Obama himself. Continue reading “APEC 2011 and the Future of Regional Architecture in Asia Pacific”