Vietnam has announced an $8.5-billion, 10-year plan to develop islands along its resource-rich coastline, including some territory also claimed by other countries. The islands stretch from Phu Quoc near Cambodia and Thailand in the south to Cat Ba off Haiphong in the north.
The objectives are to boost seafood, tourism, forestry and other business sectors as well as provide strategic defense in the form of an “outer stronghold” in the Spratly and Paracel Islands, some of which are claimed and/or settled by Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei.
Over the past year Vietnam has reported cases of fishing boats and equipment being seized by China in the disputed region. Last year Beijing reportedly told US oil companies to halt work with Vietnamese partners in the South China Sea or face consequences.
More on Vietnam’s island plans