A South China Sea ADIZ--Vietnam's next challenge
Ho, Duc L.
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When China declared its East China Sea (ECS) Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in November 2013, the declaration sparked fears that it would soon implement similar zones over the South China Sea (SCS), further exacerbating tensions in the region. Since Vietnam is projected to be the country most affected by China's SCS ADIZ, this thesis focuses on how Vietnam's leaders might respond. To do so, this thesis reviews reactions from Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan during the 2013 ECS ADIZ crisis to identify a range of possible responses for Vietnam. It then explores how Vietnam has responded to past territorial disputes from China--both land and maritime--to identify similar challenges that an ADIZ might pose. Finally, it analyzes the range of responses within the context of Vietnam's current strategies toward China. Research reveals that Vietnam has four major policy options: bilateral diplomacy, multilateralization/arbitration, complete defiance, and a mixture of civilian appeasement and military nonrecognition. The policy option Vietnam chooses will depend largely on its leadership preferences as well as domestic and geopolitical factors.
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