mandag 2. november 2020

Vietnam is Losing its Best Friends to China

Close observers of Vietnam’s foreign relations will note that Hanoi maintains three distinct levels of partnership. In descending order of importance, they are: “comprehensive strategic partnerships,” “strategic partnerships” and “comprehensive partnerships.” At the highest level, comprehensive strategic partnerships cover the full gamut of cooperative activities, and only Russia, India, and China have achieved this elite status in Vietnam’s worldview – with China receiving the added designation of being a “comprehensive strategic cooperative partner.”

For decades, Hanoi’s special strategic partnerships went uninterrupted. But in recent years, China has increasingly challenged Vietnam’s dominance in Cambodia and Laos, primarily by leveraging Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects to raise its influence in the region.