Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Unbuilt Anxieties: Infrastructure Projects, Transnational Conflict in the South China/East Sea, and Vietnamese Statehood

  • Ken MacLean

Abstract

The conflicts shaping territorial claims and counter-claims to overlapping areas of the South China Sea threatens to significantly damage Sino-Vietnamese relations, destabilize regional security arrangements, and alter the geopolitical status quo. The governments of both countries routinely invoke historical documents, commission scientific studies, and cite legal principles to justify their competing claims in the maritime region and the resources contained therein. The role different types of energy infrastructure play in the state-level disputes have received little attention, however. This essay addresses this oversight. In it, I foreground the complex ways not yet built infrastructure affect Sino-Vietnamese relations as well as our theoretical understanding of “the state”, especially with regard to Vietnam. Not yet built infrastructure refers to more than the assemblage of things that will be built in the future to power the economy, such as oil rigs, natural gas pipelines, and refineries. The concept also includes the ideological positions that presuppose the materialization of blueprint plans in physical form, i.e., the broader goals such infrastructure is meant to achieve. Towards this end, the article focuses on how state actors and their proxies conceptualize the likely impacts not yet built infrastructure will have upon their respective interests once construction is completed. The case study highlights how the need for energy security strengthens national security at some moments, weakens it at others, and both at still others.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Unbuilt Anxieties: Infrastructure Projects, Transnational Conflict in the South China/East Sea, and Vietnamese Statehood
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Unbuilt Anxieties: Infrastructure Projects, Transnational Conflict in the South China/East Sea, and Vietnamese Statehood
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Unbuilt Anxieties: Infrastructure Projects, Transnational Conflict in the South China/East Sea, and Vietnamese Statehood
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

References

Hide All
Abuza, Zachary. 2014. Vietnam buckles under Chinese pressure. Asia Times Online, 29 July 2014, available at http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/SEA-01-290714.html (accessed 30 March 2015).
Amer, Ramses. 2014. China, Vietnam, and the South China Sea: disputes and dispute management. Ocean Development & International Law 45(1), 1740.
Anand, Nikhil. 2012. Municipal disconnect: on abject water and its urban infrastructures. Ethnography 13(4), 487509.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the People's Republic of China. 2002. Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, available at http://www.asean.org/news/item/declaration-on-the-conduct-of-parties-in-the-south-china-sea (accessed 20 November 2015).
Bateman, Sam and Emmers, Ralf, eds. 2009. Security and international politics in the South China Sea: towards a cooperative management regime. London: Routledge.
Beckman, Robert. 2014. Large-scale reclamation projects in the South China Sea: China and international law. Singapore: RSIS Commentary no. 213.
Boyer, Dominic. 2014. Energo power: an introduction. Anthropological Quarterly 87(2), 137.
Buszynski, Leszek. 2012. The South China Sea: oil, maritime claims, and US–China strategic rivalry. The Washington Quarterly 35(2), 139156.
Buszynski, Lesek and Roberts, Christopher, eds. 2014. The South China Sea maritime dispute: political, legal, and regional perspectives. London: Routledge.
Callahan, William. 2009. The cartography of national humiliation and the emergence of China's geobody. Public Culture 21(1), 141–73.
Chevron, 2007. Chevron to partner with CNPC on major gas project in China, 18 December, available at http://www.chevron.com/chevron/pressreleases/article/12182007_chevrontopartnerwithcnpconmajorgasprojectinchina.news (accessed on 25 March 2015).
Coleman, Leo. 2014. Infrastructure and interpretation: meters, dams, and state imagination in Scotland and India. American Ethnologist 41(3), 547–472.
Collier, Stephen and Lakoff, Andrew. 2008. The vulnerability of vital systems: how “critical infrastructure” became a security problem. The politics of securing the homeland: critical infrastructure, risk, and securitization, eds. M.D. Cavelty, K.S. Kristensen, , pp. 4062. New York: Routledge.
Coole, Diana, and Frost, Samantha (eds.). 2010. New materialisms: ontology, agency, and politics. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.
Cunningham, Nick. 2014. Why oil and gas in the South China Sea won't be developed. Oilprice (17 July).
Dou, Eva and Paddock, Richard. 2014. Behind Vietnam's anti-China riots, a tinderbox of wider grievances. The Wall Street Journal (17 June).
Downs, Erica. 2014. Business and politics in the South China Sea: explaining HYSY-981's foray into disputed waters. China Brief XIV(12), 67.
Dupuy, Florian and Pierre Marie, Dupuy. 2013. A legal analysis of China's historic rights claim in the South China Sea. The American Journal of International Law 107(1), 124141.
Elferink, Alex G. Oude. 2001. The islands in the South China Sea: how does their presence limit the extent of the high seas and the area and the maritime zones of the mainland coasts? Ocean Development & International Law 32(2), 169190.
Gjetnes, Marius. 2001. The Spratlys: are they rocks or islands? Ocean Development & International Law (32), 191204.
Gao, Zhiguo, and Bing Jia, Bing. 2013. The nine-dash line in the South China Sea: history, status, and implications. American Journal of International Law 107(1), 98124.
Mai, Hạ. 2014. Thủ Tướng có thực sự không màng ‘hữu nghị viển vông’ [In reality, the Prime Minister is not interested in utopian friendship], available at http://www.viet-studies.info/kinhte/HaMai_ThuTuongHuuNghiVienVong.htm (accessed on 22 June 2014).
Tien Le, Hai. 2012. Policy suggestions for the initial development of Vietnam's gas industry. Washington D.C.: Brookings Institution.
Hardy, James, and Sean, O'Conner. 2014. China building airstrip-capable island on Fiery Cross Reef. IHS Jane's Defense Weekly (20 November).
Hetherington, Kregg. 2014. Waiting for the surveyor: Development promises and the temporality of infrastructure. The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 19(2), 195211.
Le Thu, Huong. 2014. The anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam: responses from the ground. Singapore: ISEAS Perspective No. 32.
Indo-Pacific Review . 2014. Fear us: military expenditures in Southeast Asia, available at http://www.indopacificreview.com/military-expenditures-southeast-asia/#sthash.QZr6xTNP.dpbs (accessed on 25 March 2015).
International Crisis Group. 2015. Stirring up the South China Sea (III): a fleeting opportunity for calm. Brussels: ICG.
International Union for Conservation of Nature. 2012. Exclusive Economic Zone, 25 October 2012, posted by IUCN, available at http://iucn.org/about/union/secretariat/offices/iucnmed/iucn_med_programme/marine_programme/governance/glossary/?11323 (accessed on 5 March 2015).
Jennings, Ralph. 2014. Pixel by pixel, Taiwan maps out claims to contested South China Sea,” Christian Science Monitor (23 September).
Keyuan, Zou. 2012. China's U-shaped line in the South China Sea revisited. Ocean Development & International Law 43(1), 1834.
Larkin, Brian. 2013. The politics and poetics of infrastructure. Annual Review of Anthropology (42), 327343.
Larson, Christina. 2015. China's island building is destroying reefs. Science 349(6255), 143.
Hai Binh, Le. 2015. Remarks on the South China Sea arbitration case, posted by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 18 March, http://www.mofa.gov.vn/en/tt_baochi/pbnfn/ns141212143709/view (accessed on 18 March 2015).
Le Mière, Christian. 2012. Anti-access/area denial and the South China Sea. Paper presented at the Conference on “The South China Sea: Cooperation for regional security and development,” Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 1921 November 2012.
Liu, Ruonan and Sun, Xuefeng. 2015. Regime security first: explaining Vietnam's security policies towards the United States and China (1992–2012). The Pacific Review 28(5), 124.
MacLean, Ken. 2014. “From land to water: fixing fluid frontiers and the limits of sovereign authority in the South China/Eastern Sea,” In Forging the fiery frontier: two millennia of China's encounters on the south and the southwest, eds. Whitmore, John and Anderson, James, pp. 370394. Leiden: Brill.
MacLean, Ken. 2013. The government of mistrust: illegibility and bureaucratic power in socialist Vietnam. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
MacLean, Ken. 2008. “In search of kilometer zero: digital archives, technological revisionism, and the Sino-Vietnamese border,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 50(4), 862894.
Masino, Pietro. 2010. Vietnam between developmental state and neoliberalism: the case of the industrial sector. Naples: University of Naples.
McDevitt, Micheal, Fravel, Taylor, and Stern, Lewis. 2013. The long littoral project: South China Sea - a maritime perspective on Indo-Pacific security. Arlington, VA: CNA Analysis and Solutions.
Mincai, Yu. 2014. China's responses to the compulsory arbitration on the South China Sea dispute: legal effects and policy options. Ocean Development & International Law 45(1), 116.
Murphy, Martin. 2013. Deepwater oil rigs as strategic weapons. Naval War College Review 66(2), 110114.
Hồng Thảo, Nguyễn. 2005. “Maritime delimitation and fishery cooperation in the Tonkin Gulf,” Ocean Development & International Law 36, 2544.
Tấn Dũng, Nguyễn. 2007. Phê duyệt chiến lược phát triển năng lượng quốc gia Việt Nam đến năm 2020, tầm nhìn đến năm 2050, số 1855/QĐ-TTg (27 December) [Prime Minister, Decision No. 1855/QD-TTg ratifying Vietnam's national energy development strategy up to 2020 and vision to 2050].
People's Republic of China. 1996. Declaration of the government of the People's Republic of China on the baselines of the territorial sea. Beijing: PRC.
People's Republic China. 2014. The operation of the HYSY-981 drilling rig: Vietnam's provocation and China's position, 8 June, posted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, available at http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1163264.shtml (accessed on 7 March 2015).
PetroVietnam Drilling News . 2012. PetroVietnam requests CNOOC to stop erroneous bid invitation, 5 July, available at http://english.pvn.vn/?portal=news&page=detail&category_id=95&id=3667 (accessed on 28 March 2015).
Platts , “Vietnam's PV gas secures $280 mil loan to build gas pipeline (3 July), available at http://www.platts.com/latest-news/natural-gas/hanoi/vietnams-pv-gas-secures-280-mil-loan-to-build-26826638 (accessed 18 March 2015).
Power, Michael. 2007. Organized uncertainty: designing a world of risk management. Oxford: Oxford University.
Roberts, Dexter. 2014. China state enterprises told to stop investing in Vietnam. Bloomberg Business (9 June), available at http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2014-06-09/chinas-state-enterprises-told-to-stop-investing-in-vietnam (accessed on 15 March 2015).
Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. 2014a. Contents of the international press conference on developments in the East Sea, 7 June, posted by the Permanent Mission of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the United Nations, available http://www.vietnam-un.org/en/news.php?cid=3&id=230 (accessed on 7 March 2015).
Socialist Republic of Vietnam. 2014b. Thủ tướng chỉ đạo đảm bảo an ninh trật tự [Prime Minister Guides and Guarantees Security and Order], 15 May 2014, posted by VGP News, available at http://baodientu.chinhphu.vn/Tin-noi-bat/Cong-dien-cua-Thu-tuong-Chinh-phu-ve-dam-bao-an-ninh-trattu/199262.vgp (accessed 15 March 2015).
Socialist Republic of Viet Nam. 2009. Submission to the commission on the limits of the continental shelf (CLCS) beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines. Hanoi: Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.
Shoji, Tomotaka. 2014. Briefing memo: Vietnam and China over the South China Sea: the confrontation proceeds towards a new phase. Seoul: The National Institute for Defense Studies.
Storey, Ian. 2014. The Sino-Vietnamese oil rig crisis: implications for the South China Sea dispute. Singapore: ISEAS Perspective no. 52.
Thayer, Carl. 2014. 4 reasons China removed oil rig HYSY-981 sooner than later. The Diplomat (22 July).
The Economist . 2015. Oil on troubled waters, 24 January, available at http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21640403-two-case-studies-disputed-sea-oil-troubled-waters (accessed on 23 March 2015).
Thi Bich, Tran, 2014. The cycle of transparency, accountability, corruption, and administrative performance: evidence from Vietnam. Journal of Economics and Development 16(3), 3248.
Khanh, Tuẩn. 2014. Đi giữa dòng bạo động [Amidst the Stream of Violence], available at https://nhacsituankhanh.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/di-giua-dong-bao-dong-p-1/ (accessed on 15 March 2015).
United Nations. 1993. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, available at http://www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/unclos_e.pdf (accessed on 20 November 2015).
United States Energy Information Administration. 2014. Kuwait, 24 October, available at http://www.eia.gov/countries/cab.cfm?fips=ku (accessed on 15 March 2015).
Vuving, Alexander. 2014. Did China blink in the South China Sea? The National Interest. 27 July, available at http://nationalinterest.org/feature/did-china-blink-the-south-china-sea-10956 (accessed on 28 March 2015).
Wanichakul, Thongchai. 1997. Siam mapped: a history of the geo-body of the nation. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.
Want China Times . 2014. Beijing to use floating docks for South China Sea reclamation. 30 October, available at http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20141030000125&cid=1101 (accessed 18 March 2015).
Webb, Simon and Paul, Mooney. 2014. China offers ASEAN friendship, loans as South China Sea tension bubbles. Reuters (13 November).
Liangbin, Xu, Shiquan, Jiang, and Jianliang, Zhuo. 2013. The challenges and solutions for deep water drilling in the South China Sea. Beijing: CNOOC Research Institute.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

TRaNS: Trans-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia
  • ISSN: 2051-364X
  • EISSN: 2051-3658
  • URL: /core/journals/trans-trans-regional-and-national-studies-of-southeast-asia
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed