1st Edition

Vietnam and the South China Sea Politics, Security and Legality

By Do Thanh Hai Copyright 2017
    274 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    274 Pages 18 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Studies of the escalating tensions and competing claims in the South China Sea overwhelmingly focus on China and its increasingly assertive approach, while the position of the other claimants is overlooked. This book focuses on the attitude of Vietnam towards the South China Sea dispute. It examines the position from a historical perspective, shows how Vietnam’s position is affected by its wish to maintain good relations with China on a range of issues, and outlines how Vietnam has occasionally made overtures to both the United States and Japan in order to bolster its position, and considered the possibility, so far resisted, of taking China to formal arbitration under the auspices of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The book concludes by assessing the future prospects for Vietnam’s position in the dispute.


    1. Under the Shadow of the Dragon
    2. Vietnam’s claims in the South China Sea
    3. Befriending with the Dragon, 1986-1995
    4. ASEANizing the South China Sea issue, 1995-2002
    5. Shaping Regional Balance of Influence, 2003-2007
    6. Riding on Nationalism, 2007-2009
    7. Internationalising the South China Sea issue, 2009-2011
    8. Navigating Big Power Politics, 2011-2015



    Do Thanh Hai is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for East Sea Studies, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam. He has a PhD from the Australian National University, where he was as a Prime Minister's Australian Asia Endeavour Awardee.

    "The work of Do Thanh Hai offers us insights into the contradictory motivations that guide and constrain the Vietnamese leadership. Hai’s account demonstrates that the choices Vietnam makes in its foreign relations can be deeply ideological, and not simply the result of impersonal forces acting on a monolithic state."

    Bill Hayton, Chatham House, Royal Institute of International Affairs, London, East Asian History and Culture Review, No. 25, December 2017