ASEAN-Indochina relations since 1975: the politics of accommodation

Author/s (editor/s):

Kannan K. Nair

Publication year:


Publication type:

Policy paper

Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 30

This study examines the multilateral and bilateral responses of the five ASEAN states to the foreign policy postures of Vietnam and Laos between 1975 and 1982, and to Kampuchea [Cambodia] from late 1978. It argues that Vietnam's perceptions of ASEAN diplomacy was influenced by the ASEAN support for Democratic Kampuchea and for the People's Republic of China. Hanoi's strategy was to keep ASEAN diplomatically off balance and on the defensive. It is suggested further that though ASEAN accommodated to the changes in the regional environment and demonstrated its unity of purpose, the member states differed in their perceptions of sources of threats to their security. The conclusion is drawn that a resolution of the war of nerves between ASEAN states and Vietnam would have to await an understanding between the Soviet Union and China, and one that took into account the security concerns of Vietnam.

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