China and Vietnam: The Politics of Asymmetry by Brantly Womack

By Brantly Womack

Of their 3 thousand years of interplay, China and Vietnam were via a whole diversity of relationships. all through a majority of these fluctuations the only consistent has been that China is often the bigger energy, and Vietnam the smaller. but China has not often been capable of dominate Vietnam, and the connection is formed via its asymmetry. The Sino-Vietnamese dating offers the appropriate flooring for constructing and exploring the consequences of asymmetry on diplomacy. Womack develops his concept along side an unique research of the interplay among China and Vietnam from the Bronze Age to the current.

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Extra info for China and Vietnam: The Politics of Asymmetry

Sample text

I argue in this book and especially in this first part that the characteristic problem of the relationship is that it is shaped by asymmetry. Simply describing the relationship without observing the assymetry would be like comparing two fractions by looking at their numerators but not at their denominators. The basic structure of the Sino-Vietnamese relationship is set by the general situation of each of its two actors and by the disparity of their relationship. Thus, this first chapter of the section discusses the parameters of China’s external posture, the second discusses the parameters of Vietnam’s external posture, and the third discusses the asymmetries of their relationship.

In domestic policy Vietnam defined an ambitious program of strengthening socialism in the north and pushing the south to catch up. 7 billion in reparations promised from the United States by Richard Nixon. In foreign policy, Vietnam attempted to redefine its international relations from the standpoint of independence and enhanced prestige. China, by contrast, saw the end of the war as an end to the priority that Vietnam had held in Chinese foreign affairs. China expected Vietnam to act as a grateful client and to reduce its ties to the Soviet Union, but without much additional investment on China’s part.

Despite progress in regional and global integration, however, the normal relationship between China and Vietnam is not simply a carbon copy of relations with other countries. It remains an asymmetric relationship and therefore a pair of unique sub-relationships. China can be expected to pursue economic opportunities in Vietnam while avoiding becoming the patron in a patron-client relationship. It will be insensitive to the material threat posed to Vietnam by its larger and more prosperous economy and will perceive Vietnamese efforts to control the growth of the relationship as irrational and anti-Chinese.

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