Title: Vietnam’s hedging strategy against China since normalization
Author: Lê Hồng Hiệp
Source: Contemporary Southeast Asia, Volume 35, Number 3, December 2013, pp. 333-368.
Since the normalization of Sino-Vietnamese relations in 1991, Vietnam’s China policy has been shaped by a combination of approaches which can be best described as a multi-tiered, omni-directional hedging strategy. The article argues that hedging is the most rational and viable option for Vietnam to manage its relations with China given its historical experiences, domestic and bilateral conditions, as well as changes in Vietnam’s external relations and the international strategic environment. The article examines the four major components of this strategy, namely economic pragmatism, direct engagement, hard balancing and soft balancing. The article goes on to assess the significance of each component and details how Vietnam has pursued its hedging strategy towards China since normalization.
Title: The development of civil society and dynamics of governance in Vietnam’s one party rule
Author: Bùi Hải Thiêm
Source: Global Change, Peace & Security, 25:1, 77-93
Civil society has been in operation under one-party rule in Vietnam in the years since the Doi Moi (renewal) in 1986. Despite the continued monopoly of political power by the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), civil society has been gradually expanded and developed. The paper reviews recent arguments in the political science and area studies literature on the emergence of civil society in Vietnam’s Doi Moi period over the past two decades, to comment on the dynamics of the relationship between civil society and the party-state, problematizing the development of civil society in the context of a one-party-dominated state. At a certain level, civil society has been ‘tolerated’, ‘endorsed’, or recognized by the party state to fill a gap in the governance network. In practice, it has never been an easy project for civil society to make its way into Vietnamese society given the party-state’s Gramscian concession to maintain the existing hegemony.
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.
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.