The China-Vietnam Standoff: How Will It End?
Five thousand miles from Ukraine, off the coast of Vietnam, China is taking a page from Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s playbook. Beijing’s recent placement of a huge oil drilling rig in disputed waters in the South China Sea leverages a similar set of tactics. In Ukraine, Russia targeted a weak, non-U.S. ally on its frontier, using paramilitary forces to avoid the appearance of naked aggression as long as possible. In the South China Sea, Beijing is trying to press its territorial claims on Vietnam, a militarily inferior neighbor that does not have an American alliance to fall back upon. Beijing, like Moscow, has also deployed force opaquely, denying that the armada of 80 ships accompanying the rig includes any military vessels.
Daniel Kliman is a Senior Advisor with the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States.