Vietnam between China and Japan in the Asian security complex
The Vietnam-China-Japan triangle is embedded in a regional security complex that involves in its inner circle four major powers – China, Japan, the US, and India. This chapter examines how the growing rivalry between China and Japan is played out in Vietnam and how this competition shapes Vietnam's strategic options. China has several advantages, some of which are unmatched, when it comes to its ability to influence Vietnam. Japan's influence on Vietnam is most obvious in the economic domain. Japan was among the first capitalist countries to reopen ties with Vietnam in the early 1990s. The reality that Japan's military power and regional role is heavily constrained may also be responsible for negative effects on Vietnamese respect of Japanese power. The strategic ambivalence of Vietnam has subsequently contributed to shape the pattern of ongoing Sino-Japanese competition and the dynamics of the evolving East Asian security complex.