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China and Vietnam
The Politics of Asymmetry


  • Date Published: April 2006
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521618342

£ 25.99

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About the Authors
  • In their three thousand years of interaction, China and Vietnam have been through a full range of relationships. Twenty-five years ago they were one another's worst enemies; fifty years ago they were the closest of comrades. Five hundred years ago they each saw themselves as Confucian empires; fifteen hundred years ago Vietnam was a part of China. Throughout all these fluctuations the one constant has been that China is always the larger power, and Vietnam the smaller. China has rarely been able to dominate Vietnam, and yet the relationship is shaped by its asymmetry. The Sino-Vietnamese relationship provides the perfect ground for developing and exploring the effects of asymmetry on international relations. Womack develops his theory in conjunction with an original analysis of the interaction between China and Vietnam from the Bronze Age to the present.

    • No other book provides such a comprehensive and original analysis of one of the most important and volatile relationships in Asia
    • Presents a novel paradigm in international relations theory for the first time in book form
    • A theory of asymmetry in international relations dealing with China and Vietnam
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This well-written, thoughtful and often witty book contributes to both international relations theory and comparative politics … China and Vietnam is a book that small and large university libraries should have and one that will work well in courses in international relations, comparative politics and Asian studies. It is an illuminating study for both novice and professional researchers.' The China Journal

    'Brantly Womack's impressive study of the complex, and frequently violent, relationship of China and Vietnam will fascinate students of international relations theory as well as Asian history. …For those seriously interested in Chinese-Vietnamese relations, this book is a must.' Asian Affairs

    '… an extremely informative and sophisticated approach, offering insightful perspectives for understanding a puzzling diplomatic relationship between two similar and avowedly socialist countries. … Womack's book is a brilliantly written Sino-Vietnemese political history …' Journal of Contemporary Asia Publishers

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2006
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521618342
    • length: 296 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • contains: 18 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. General overview
    Part I. Basic Structure:
    2. The parameters of China's external posture
    3. Vietnam's basic parameters
    4. The politics of asymmetry
    Part II. The Relational Dynamic:
    5. From the beginnings to Vietnamese independence
    6. Unequal empires
    7. The brotherhood of oppression
    8. Lips and teeth:
    9. Illusions of victory:
    10. From normalization to normalcy
    11. Change and structure in asymmetry.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Anthropology of Southeast Asia
  • Author

    Brantly Womack, University of Virginia
    Brantly Womack is Professor of Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia, and has been named an honorary professor at Jilin University in Changchun and East China Normal University in Shanghai. He is the author of Foundations of Mao Zedong's Political Thought and Politics in China (with James Townsend), and the editor of a number of books, including Contemporary Chinese Politics in Historical Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 1991). After receiving his BA Magna cum Laude in Politics and Philosophy from the University of Dallas in 1969, Womack began studying Chinese while on a Fulbright Scholarship in Philosophy to the University of Munich. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago, where Tang Tsou was his mentor. After post-doctoral studies at the Contemporary China Center of the University of California, Berkeley, he taught at Northern Illinois University and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London before going to the University of Virginia. He has served as Director of the East Asia Center, Chair of the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures, and Director of the University's International Activities Planning Commission. He has made frequent visits to China since 1978 and to Vietnam since 1985, and has published articles comparing their politics and exploring their relationship in World Politics, Government and Opposition, the China Journal, Asian Survey, Pacific Affairs, and elsewhere. His articles on asymmetry in international relations have appeared in the Journal of Strategic Studies, the Journal of Contemporary China and Pacific Affairs.

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