Vietnam and the Spratly Islands dispute since 1992
Kang, Tong Hum
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The sovereignty dispute over the Spratlys Islands and jurisdiction in the South China Sea remains an important issue in Asia-Pacific security today. The race to establish the validity of claims has increased diplomatic discord and resulted in armed conflict. Hanoi's behavior in the Spratlys has implications for its relations with Vietnam's neighbors and for regional arrangements generally. This thesis examines Vietnam's approach to the Spratlys dispute since 1992. It concludes that: Hanoi's wooing of ASEAN has helped restrain China and the other claimants in the dispute; that Hanoi's rapprochement with Beijing has helped to limit China from seizing areas in the Spratlys occupied by Vietnam; that Hanoi's diplomacy has slowed Chinese expansionism in the Spratlys, while Hanoi's military build-up since 1992 has not; and Hanoi's appeal to UNCLOS has not helped resolve the dispute on its terms. To resolve the dispute in a peaceful manner, Hanoi must collaborate with the ASEAN states, Taiwan, and the larger Asia-Pacific community to prevent Beijing from dominating the Spratlys and the South China Sea.
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