Vietnam’s relationship with China has historically been testy. Now, with the U.S. increasingly playing the role of offshore balancer, Vietnam has the distinct opportunity to move out of China’s shadow and into the global community.
However, China’s historical and contemporary positioning isn’t the only thing driving Vietnamese-U.S. relations. The relationship appears to be more than a reaction to recent Chinese behavior — and it will continue to grow.
In this report, Wikistrat’s Steve Keller amalgamates the content from our recent “Evolving U.S.-Vietnam Relations” forum — and assesses that China would be much better served if it accepted Vietnam’s drift towards the United States. Any gains that China might see from military or other open conflict with Vietnam would be more than offset by Hanoi going straight into Washington’s open arms.
China’s best case is to draw back and subtly encourage Vietnam to use the U.S.-China rivalry to its advantage in the fields of energy, arms, technology and foreign investment.
Importantly, to the extent that China is able to take part in globalization rather than fight for its own mercantile interests, it will prevent the U.S. from being the sole beneficiary of Vietnam’s movement into the global marketplace.
As long as Beijing treads lightly and wields economic incentives rather than military bluster, it should be able to keep a pro-U.S. Vietnam from being anti-China.
Click here or on the cover image to download this report.
About the author
Wikistrat Senior Editor