Rise of Constabulary Maritime Agencies in Southeast Asia: Vietnam’s Paragunboat Diplomacy in the North Natuna Seas

Bama Andika Putra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The rising tensions in disputed waters in Southeast Asia have caused policymakers to diverge their maritime diplomatic strategy to include maritime constabulary forces. The use of coastguards and other non-military vessels are an emerging trend in the maritime diplomatic strategy of Southeast Asian states, including in the high-profile case of the North Natuna Seas, to which scholars pay little attention. This article contends that (1) contemporary maritime diplomacy in Southeast Asia positions the utilization of maritime constabulary forces (coastguards, maritime law enforcement agencies) as its primary maritime diplomatic strategy; (2) Vietnam’s coercive turn in its maritime disputed areas was a deliberate attempt to balance a coercive-cooperative stance against Indonesia in the North Natuna Seas, following its traditional coercive maritime diplomatic stance against China, and; (3) Vietnam’s utilization of maritime constabulary forces as a measure to solidify its sovereign claims coincided with the benefits of tactical military flexibility and non-escalatory means to achieve its aims in the Natuna Seas. This empirical explanatory research delves into the development of Vietnam’s coastguards and maritime law enforcement agencies by interpreting the secondary data from the Indonesia Ocean Justice Initiative between 2021–2022 on cases relating to suspicious maneuvers conducted by the Vietnamese Fisheries Resource Surveillance vessels safeguarding the conduct of Vietnamese IUUF.
Original languageEnglish
Article number241
Number of pages15
JournalSocial Sciences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 17 Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author would like to acknowledge the support given by the Indonesian Endowment Schol-arship of Indonesia (LPDP) and Universitas Hasanuddin, for supporting this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the author.


  • paragunboat diplomacy
  • diplomacy
  • maritime constabulary forces
  • north natuna seas
  • maritime diplomacy


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