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Vietnam’s evolving claims in the South China Sea

South China Sea

Vietnam’s evolving claims in the South China Sea

Do Thanh Hai
PhD candidate, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University

Vietnam is a claimant in the South China Sea disputes. Its claims for sovereignty of islands and maritime regions of the sea overlap either wholly or partly with those of Brunei, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, and the Philippines. This paper examines the evolution of the claims of unified Vietnam to maritime territories in the South China Sea since 1975 and compares them with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). To this end, the paper will look into Vietnam’s policy positions, its responses to major incidents, and the outcomes of negotiations with its neighbours. It also examines Vietnam’s legal actions to trace continuity and changes in its maritime
regulations. After that, the paper attempts to map out the main determinants behind these changes.

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