As Canada pursues this long-term, multi-faceted strategy, it will undoubtedly prioritize certain relationships. Japan, South Korea and Australia certainly. These are all democracies and important economies. But perhaps Vietnam will be considered a strategic partner as well. The question is how Canada can engage Vietnam while furthering its democratic values?
South China Sea
The United States and Vietnam are poised to significantly enhance their economic and technological ties, bringing the former foes closer at a time of increased Chinese assertiveness in the region. The deal, expected to be announced when President Biden makes a state visit to Vietnam next weekend, is the latest step by the Biden administration to deepen relations in Asia. For Hanoi, the closer relationship with Washington serves as a counterweight to Beijing’s influence.
Today, the international community agrees that the People’s Republic of China is carrying out increasingly aggressive actions in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly in the South China Sea. These hostilities began 49 years ago with the Chinese invasion of the Paracel islands (Hoàng Sa) on January 19, 1974, under Vietnamese sovereignty.
After years of aggression against Vietnamese fishermen and other countries, the Chinese government has legalized force at sea by passing the Coast Guard Law on January 22, 2021. This law allows the Chinese Coast Guard to use weapons to attack foreign ships in waters that Beijing unlawfully claims.
Competition for maritime claims in the South China Sea is not a new issue in the region. But, over the past decade, China has attempted
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