Vietnam’s Struggles in the South China Sea: Challenges and Opportunities

CIMSEC – In recent years, China has deployed grey zone tactics, such as utilizing micro-aggressive measures such as maritime militia and the deployment of survey vessels to enforce its claims. Vietnam, as one of the major claimants involved, has been a frequent target of these tactics. With only weak, symbolic reactions to China’s aggression, Vietnam is without a proactive or effective strategy to fight back. There are policies that Vietnam should adopt, but at the heart of these policies is the need for more international cooperation in resolving the issues linked to China’s strategy.

Vietnamese boats increasingly intruding into Chinese waters for espionage

Global Times – Vietnamese fishing boats have been increasingly intruding into Chinese territorial waters near Hainan Island and Guangdong Province, both are home to many Chinese military bases.

Former U.S. Cutter Morgenthau Transferred to Vietnamese Coast Guard

USNI News – The U.S. Coast Guard transferred a Hamilton-class cutter to the Vietnam Coast Guard during a Thursday ceremony in Hawaii.

The Development of Vietnam’s Sea-Denial Strategy

US Naval War College Review – This article examines Vietnam’s geostrategic circumstances to understand better its choice of a sea-denial strategy. Hanoi’s current achievements in building its sea-denial capability, as well as the characteristics and limitations of that capability, are reviewed. Finally, as the United States and its allies vis-à-vis China increase their military presence in the South China Sea, the article discusses the effects of Vietnam’s sea-denial strategy and the country’s relevant military capabilities on the geostrategic situation.

Risking Beijing’s ire, Vietnam begins dredging on South China Sea reef

Reuters – Vietnam has begun dredging work on a disputed reef in the South China Sea, satellite imagery shows, the latest move by the Communist state to bolster its claims in the strategic waterway. Activity visible on Ladd Reef in the Spratly Islands could anger Hanoi’s main South China Sea rival, Beijing, which claims sovereignty over the group and most of the resource-rich sea.

Vietnam Pivots To US With Wary Eye On China: Arms Ban Ends

Breaking Defense – In many ways, today marks the final exorcism of the Vietnam War as America turns to the much greater challenge of a rising, militarizing China — and as Hanoi seeks just enough US help to balance Beijing without provoking it.

Cam Ranh International Port Visits in Strategic Context

CIMSEC – On 2 May, the French amphibious assault ship FS Tonnerre arrived in the Cam Ranh International Port (CRIP) for a four day visit. It was the third international visit to the newly established CRIP, nee Cam Ranh Bay, following the mid-March visit of a Singaporean naval vessel and a mid-April visit by two Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force ships. These three visits reflect Vietnam’s strategic interests, most importantly, the development of an omni-directional foreign policy. While much attention will be paid to President Obama’s visit to Vietnam this month, it is important to note both how far bilateral relations have come, but also how much they are only a piece of Vietnam’s overall strategic framework.

South China Sea dispute: Vietnamese subs deployed as deterrent to China

Sydney Morning Herald – The first of Vietnam’s new advanced Kilo-class submarines have begun patrolling disputed waters of the South China Sea, as deterrents to China’s 10 times-bigger navy, Vietnamese officials and diplomatic sources say.

Vietnam builds military muscle to face China

Reuters – Vietnam’s military is steeling itself for conflict with China as it accelerates a decade-long modernization drive, Hanoi’s biggest arms buildup since the height of the Vietnam War…Most significantly, Hanoi is creating a naval deterrent largely from scratch with the purchase of six advanced Kilo-class submarines from Russia. In recent months, the first of those submarines have started patrolling the South China Sea, Vietnamese and foreign military officials said, the first confirmation the vessels have been in the strategic waterway.

U.S. and Vietnam Start Limited Naval Training On 20th Anniversary of Establishing Diplomatic Relations

USNI News – A U.S. guided missile destroyer and Littoral Combat Ship have arrived in Da Nang to conduct a series of low-level exercises with the Vietnamese People’s Navy.

Vietnam Receives Third Kilo Attack Boat

USNI News – The third Project-636 Kilo-class has arrived in Vietnam, marking the halfway point in the Vietnamese Navy’s planned six boat, $1.8 to 2 billion deal with Russia.

Vietnam receives 3 new subs as S China Sea race heats up

Want China Times – Vietnam’s recent acquisition of three new 636MV attack submarines has cast the spotlight on the burgeoning regional submarine race in the South China Sea.

Vietnamese Navy – Japan to Provide Vietnam Patrol Boats Next Year

USNI News – Vietnam’s Vice Defense Minister Nguyen Chi Vinh told Reuters on Monday at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore that the country expects to receive patrol boats from Japan early next year.

Vietnamese Navy – Vietnam and China ships ‘collide in South China Sea’

BBC – Vietnamese naval ships and Chinese vessels have collided in the South China Sea, Vietnamese officials say. The incident happened as the Vietnamese navy was trying to prevent the Chinese from setting up an oil rig in an area claimed by both nations.

Vietnamese Navy – With Russia’s Help, Vietnam Adopts A2/AD Strategy

The Diplomat – By the end of this year the naval balance of power in the South China Sea will begin to alter when Vietnam takes delivery of its first Kilo-class fast attack submarines.

Vietnamese Navy – Vietnam hosts naval exchange with US Navy

Associated Press – Vietnam kicked off a weeklong naval exchange Monday with the U.S. Navy, with the former battlefield enemies cooperating amid percolating tensions in the South China Sea with Beijing.

Vietnamese Navy – Vietnam to hold joint naval drill with US

Associated Press – Vietnam and the United States are to hold joint naval exercises, Hanoi said on Thursday as regional tensions simmer over territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Vietnamese Navy – Vietnamese Navy Receives First Stealth Frigate

Defense Technology International – On March 5 the Vietnamese Navy officially took into service the first Gepard class frigate.