Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/18/2013 -- The Vietnam Defence and Security Report for Q412 examines the country's strategic position in South- East Asia and the wider world. It provides an overview of the contemporary geopolitical challenges facing the country, and the challenges it may face in the future.
The report examines the trends occurring in the country's current and future defence procurement, and the order of battle across its armed forces. The intention is to provide a clear and concise discussion of these issues. The report's general conclusion is that Vietnam faces two main security challenges in the second half of 2012: the first is the risk of instability stemming from the economic crisis facing the country; the second is the risk of conflict with China over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
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Vietnam's economic problems are discussed in the report. As well as posing a domestic security challenge, as growth slows and unemployment rises, Hanoi may struggle to fund some of the ambitious defence procurement programmes that it has initiated.
Hanoi also continues to pursue an ambivalent approach to relations in China. On the one hand its leaders have pursued diplomatic initiatives with China and publicly stressed the importance of good relations with Beijing. On the other hand, Vietnamese society remains deeply suspicious of China's intentions, and the government has not shied away from taking actions that risk provoking Beijing. Vietnam also has low expectations of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)'s ability to mediate its disagreements with the Chinese side.
Over the last quarter BMI has revised the following forecasts/views:
- The situation in the South China Sea is fully updated to include the most recent developments. These have included Vietnam's decision to pass a new Maritime Law codifying its claim to the Paracel and Spratly islands, a move which angered the Chinese. They retaliated by upgrading the political status of a Chinese town in the Paracels, and also by outlining oil exploration plans in what many neutral observers would regard as Vietnam's EEZ.
- The crisis within ASEAN is also discussed, following the acrimonious ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting held in Phnom Penh in July, at which the 10 Association members appeared divided into pro- and anti-China camps. Vietnam and the Philippines are the most suspicious of China among all the ASEAN members, but they lack support from the group for a collective position. ASEAN attempts to draw up a new Code of Conduct governing behaviour in the South China Sea also appear to be failing.
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