Do Thuy Dung Phan


Territorial disputes in the South China Sea can be seen as one of the most complex issues among states in the contemporary world due to the involvement of many parties. However, despite the presence of peaceful conflict resolutions, which are regulated under international law, the positive result is still miles apart. This article examines why the Vietnamese Government does not choose to bring the dispute to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is regarded as a legal action to solve the conflict between the two countries, as the Philippines did. Instead, remedies such as dialogue and media take precedence over all others. In the end, the settlement for both countries, based on the model of Peter Wallensteen in the South China Sea, is also discussed. The author approaches the South China Sea dispute between Vietnam and China from realism and neo-liberalism's perspective and will collect the primary data from legal sources, official statements and secondary data in an effort to examine the strategic decisions of the Vietnamese Government toward China concerning the territorial dispute. The paper's finding reveals that legal action is less likely to be used by the Vietnamese Government to tackle conflict in the South China Sea due to the limitations of international law, the asymmetrical and interdependent Vietnam - Sino relations throughout history, and the strategic foreign policy of Vietnamese Government towards China. There is a tendency that the Vietnam Government will keep negotiating with China by using peaceful resolutions such as dialogue and media. At the same time, the Vietnam Government will draw attention from international communities against China's assertiveness for not complying with international law as well as strengthen external defense with other powers. Using the international court will be the last resort in solving the territorial conflict between Vietnam and China.


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South China Sea, territorial dispute, lawsuit, peaceful conflict resolution

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