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The United States strives to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific strategy to contain China

UntitledIn November 2017, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit held in Da Nang-Vietnam, US President Donald Trump introduced the concept of a "free and open Indo-Pacific,” and said it would support the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in investing in high quality infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific, and incentivize private sector investment, become an alternative to state-directed initiatives for countries in the region.

While the Trump administration's Indo-Pacific concept was not clear at the time, with the policy framework not yet in place, analysts say that the US’ free and open Indo-Pacific strategy was to counterbalance China's "Belt and Road Initiative”, preventing China from expanding its influence in the region and the world. This strategy was later adopted by three other countries in the region - Japan, Australia, and India, which later became known as the "Quad" (including the United States).

Indonesia Will Not Negotiate Its Sovereignty in South China Sea

thediplomat-2019-12-09-1Indonesian President Joko Widodo visited Natuna Islands Wednesday amid renewed tensions with China over the lucrative fishing waters that lie between Malaysia and Borneo.

Jokowi, as Widodo is popularly known, met hundreds of fishermen in the Natuna Islands and inspected two warships deployed in the area, the president’s office said in a statement. Jokowi asserted Indonesia’s rights to exploit the natural resources in the exclusive economic zone following the sighting of Chinese fishing vessels and coast guard ships in recent weeks, according to the statement.

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Vietnam should take a tougher stand against Chinese encroachment

2As Chinese Haiyang Dizhi 8 geological survey vessel group repeatedly violated Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf since early July 2019 – not only moving closer to the Vietnamese coast, expanding its activity scale, but also increasing its aggressiveness, the Institute for Legal and Development Policy Studies on October 6, 2019 held a seminar on the South China Sea in Hanoi. Many researchers, experts and former officials, including Dr. Hoang Ngoc Giao, Mr. Hoang Viet, Major General Le Van Cuong, former Ambassadors Nguyen Truong Giang, Nguyen Trung and Truong Trieu Duong participated in the seminar.

Participants in the discussion shared the view that the aggressive activities of Chinese Haiyang Dizhi 8 geological survey vessel group in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf were "extremely serious"; China's escalating moves in this area of the South China Sea are "putting Vietnam in a very dangerous position".

China continues to push forth its encroachment of in Vietnam's waters

1The latest tracking data that Ryan Martinson from the US Naval War College updated on September 30 showed China's Haiyang Dizhi 08 returning to Vietnam's waters for the fourth time.

China’s Haiyang Dizhi 08 vessel group increased its violations by sailing further into the waters of Vietnam, only about 100 nm away from the Vietnamese coast. The areas where the vessel group operates this time were the nine oil and gas blocks which China illegally invited for bidding in 2012.

This area is completely within Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf measuring from its central and southern coasts, overlapped with oil and gas blocks which Vietnam is oil and gas production contracts with foreign partners from Russia, India, USA, etc.

China continues to push forth its encroachment of in Vietnam's waters

1The latest tracking data that Ryan Martinson from the US Naval War College updated on September 30 showed China's Haiyang Dizhi 08 returning to Vietnam's waters for the fourth time.

China’s Haiyang Dizhi 08 vessel group increased its violations by sailing further into the waters of Vietnam, only about 100 nm away from the Vietnamese coast. The areas where the vessel group operates this time were the nine oil and gas blocks which China illegally invited for bidding in 2012.

This area is completely within Vietnam's exclusive economic zone and continental shelf measuring from its central and southern coasts, overlapped with oil and gas blocks which Vietnam is oil and gas production contracts with foreign partners from Russia, India, USA, etc.

Vietnam Draws Lines in the Sea

GettyImages-959496926Defense is serious business in Vietnam, a country that has a history of fighting off foreign aggressors. Today, in the context of more contested strategic environment and increasing pressure from a more aggressive China, Vietnam needs an update to its defense policy.

The 2019 defense white paper released last month, Vietnam’s first in 10 years, doesn’t offer detailed updates on the force structure and organization of its military forces and makes only a passing reference to the defense budget spending in a footnote about the fluctuation in the percentage of the GDP for defense budget, which was at 2.36 percent in 2018. But it does—and this is arguably the most interesting part—elaborate on the strategic context and espouse the national strategy for protecting the homeland. It includes the elements of its strategic doctrine, based on the pillars of self-reliance and resilience, and national defense struggle to set all disputes peacefully.

Many long-term doctrines are reasserted in the white paper, including the much quoted “three no’s”: no military alliances, no foreign bases and usage of the territory for military activities, and no siding with one country against another. Vietnam is sticking to nonreliance but emphasizes an important caveat: Any form of defense is acceptable with the nation under attack. As part of this, the white paper sharpens Vietnam’s commitments to international integration, portraying commitment to international maritime legal principles as an important part of securing the country’s prosperity and international role over the last three decades since the Doi Moi reforms that opened the country’s economy up in 1986.

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Vietnam confronts China in the South China Sea

2018-05-15T102824Z 275958294 RC12C7D91330 RTRMADP 3 RUSSIA-ROSNEFT-VIETNAM-400x255Over the last four months, Vietnam has faced a serious challenge to its sovereignty in the South China Sea. Strategic circles in Hanoi are stirred by China’s repeated intrusions into Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off its central and southern coastlines.

Between 4 July and 24 October 2019, China sent survey ship Haiyang Dizhi 8 (HD8) to conduct four seismic surveys in the waters within 200 nautical miles of Vietnam. Data collected by the South China Sea Chronicle Initiative shows that the HD8 came as close as 65.2 nautical miles from the coast of Phu Yen Province and covered an area of roughly 110,000 square kilometres. At the same time, Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessel Haijing 35111 harassed the Japanese rig Hakuryu-5 chartered by a Vietnamese joint venture with Russia’s Rosneft in Block 06.01 in waters about 190 miles southeast of Vietnam.

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US, China rivalry puts Vietnam in a no-win bind

US-China-Vietnam-Diplomacy-Global-Times-900x540When a Chinese survey ship departed energy-rich waters claimed by Vietnam, many saw the two sides’ three-month standoff over the Vanguard Bank as indication that Hanoi is becoming bolder in challenging Beijing in the South China Sea.

Over the last three years, China has forced Vietnam to cancel two oil exploration projects in the sea, including one with Spanish energy giant Respol, as Hanoi opted for conciliation over confrontation in both instances.

There were even reports in 2017 that Beijing had threatened to use force if Hanoi did not shut down energy exploration in a contested sea area. In the latest showdown, Vietnam attempted to engage Beijing “at least 40 times”, according to one strategic analyst, while not yielding its position.

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South China Sea chaos: China accused of ramping up tensions with surveillance balloons

tải xuốngCHINA has been accused of creating an early warning system to protect its illegal island fortress on the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

Satellite images showing surveillance balloons above the man-made Mischief Reef have been seen as further evidence of China’s militarisation of the strategic stretch of water which also is claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Defence analysts said the balloons were capable of carrying array radars, infra-red and optical sensors and electronic jamming and surveillance devices which could form an airborne warning and control system.

They said the balloons effectively completed an overlapping network of radars and satellites reaching far into the South China Sea to detect low-flying aircraft and small vessels and enabling Beijing to put the whole region in lockdown.

Mischief Reef is believed to boast bomb-proof aircraft hangars, underground fuel storage facilities and ammunition bunkers.

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Vietnam Shows Malaysia And The Philippines How To Fight The South China Sea Wars

VN shows MalayBeijing should either get the South China Sea map right or forget the Vietnamese market — for every Chinese product, from smartphones to automobiles.

That’s the message Hanoi sent recently to Beijing, taking the lead once again, among its neighbors, in the fight to contain China’s South China Sea ambitions.

The South China Sea has two maps these days, one drawn by the international community, and another drawn by China.

The difference between the two maps is that the Chinese version includes the “nine-dash line,” an ambiguous self-defined borderline, also going by the name cow’s tongue.” The nine-dash line contains areas claimed by neighboring countries like Vietnam and the Philippines.  It’s an area which allows China the right to control almost the entire South China Sea, and Beijing wants the world to know about it.

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ASEAN and the South China Sea: Vietnam's Role as Chair

Asean handshakeOn November 4, the ASEAN chair’s gavel was passed to Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Vietnam at the closing ceremony of the grouping’s annual summit in Bangkok. Vietnam will serve as the chair of ASEAN, the most important international organization in Southeast Asia, through 2020. This will be a crucial year for the grouping as it attempts to reach the goals set forth in the ASEAN Vision 2020, which was released in 1997 and envisions the establishment of a region of peace, prosperity, and stability. It is especially significant for Vietnam because the chairmanship will offer a unique opportunity to engage the region to take constructive action on the South China Sea disputes which have long threatened regional peace and security. With the chairmanship in hand, now is the time for Hanoi to be more active in fulfilling both its regional and its national responsibilities in the South China Sea.

ASEAN and the South China Sea: Vietnam's Role as Chair

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