China, Vietnam: What to Take From the South China Sea Flare-Up

Jul 16, 2019 | 21:43 GMT

Chinese and Vietnamese coast guard vessels have reportedly been engaged in a weeklong confrontation around Vanguard Bank in the southern region of the South China Sea. The energy-rich Vanguard Bank has frequently been at the heart of Vietnam and China's long-standing maritime tensions, with Beijing trying to limit or block Hanoi from exploring in what it considers disputed territory. Thus, this recent flare-up in tensions in the region could encourage -- or even force -- Hanoi to resort to a more directly confrontational approach to China. From a political standpoint, neither Beijing nor Hanoi wants to see their relations sour over another maritime dispute in the sea. But space for de-escalation will continue to narrow until one of the two countries decides to take a step back. ...

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