AUGUST 6, 2019
After buckling in previous confrontations, Vietnam is finally facing down Chinese expansionism in its oil and gas-rich waters
Normally, Vietnam would have backed down. In July 2017 and March 2018, when China reportedly threatened military action if Vietnam did not stop oil exploration in contested areas of the South China Sea, Vietnam blinked and withdrew its vessels.
Last year, Vietnam scrapped a US$200 million oil and gas development project with Spanish energy giant Repsol situated within its own exclusive economic zone (EEZ) due to Chinese pressure. However, when a Chinese survey ship and coastguard vessels sailed last month to the contested oil-rich Vanguard Bank, which also lies well within Vietnam’s southeastern EEZ, Hanoi stood its ground.