According to the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, Vietnam is strengthening its maritime militia. Though the figures appear to be exaggerated, Vietnam’s action is propelled by the escalating Chinese aggressive activities. In fact, Vietnam has very high stakes in the South China Sea (SCS), which is its life-line. Its geographical situation clearly brings out this dimension. Vietnam borders the Gulf of Tonkin, Gulf of Thailand, and Pacific Ocean, along with China, Laos, and Cambodia. The elongated roughly S shaped country has a north-to-south distance of 1,650 km and is about 50 km wide at the narrowest point. The country has a long coastline of 3,260 km, excluding islands, running from Mong Cai in the North to Ha Tien in the Southwest. Vietnam’s territorial waters in the SCS extend to the East and Southeast, including the continental shelf, islands and archipelagos. There is also a group of around 3,000 islets belonging to Viet Nam in the Tonkin Gulf. Besides it has islands in the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos. Importantly, about 80% of its population lives within 160 km from the SCS coast. Millions of its fishermen live from this body of water. Its 86% trade with the world outside passes through this sea.