Distinguishing between China and Vietnam: three relational equilibriums in Sino-Vietnamese Relations

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
James A. Anderson, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/

Abstract: Premodern Sino-Vietnamese relations may be described by three systems of engagement that I have labeled Strong China/Weak Vietnam, Weak China/Strong Vietnam, and Strong China/Strong Vietnam. These three states of interaction appear at various points, beginning with Vietnamese encounters with the Qin empire (221–206 b.c.e.) through the early modern era. Brantly Womack has already described the historical Sino-Vietnamese relationship as politically “asymmetrical” with China playing the strongman role, and the three relational equilibriums described here do not contradict Womack's thesis. Instead, I explore how the generally asymmetrical states of affairs were molded by historical context and the specific ambitions of elite in the frontier region. While the general conditions of the Sino-Vietnamese relationship were asymmetrical, the choices available to Chinese and Vietnamese leaders in different periods varied widely.

Additional Information

Journal of East Asian Studies, Vol. 13, Issue 2 (May-August 2013): 259-280. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1598240800003933
Language: English
Date: 2013
China, Vietnam, premodern, relations, tribute system, equilibrium

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