Summary: Non-signatory Vietnam acknowledges the human suffering caused by cluster munitions, but before it can accede to the convention it must overcome long-held concerns with certain provisions. Vietnam has participated as an observer in the convention’s meetings. It abstained from voting on a key United Nations (UN) resolution promoting the convention in December 2017.
Vietnam states that it has never used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions. The United States (US) used air-delivered cluster munitions extensively in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s.
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Vietnam supports the humanitarian objectives of the convention, but says it cannot join until it can ensure it is able to meet the convention’s obligations. Officials regularly state that Vietnam is studying the convention and the implications of acceding.
Vietnam has long expressed concern that the convention lacks a “mechanism” for ensuring international support and cooperation and wants certain states to join the convention, namely “cluster munitions users, producers and exporters” that “must be responsible for assisting affected countries.” In November 2015, it said it remains concerned by the way the convention lists “proportional responsibility for victim assistance and remnant clearance first in affected countries, most of which are developing countries.”
Related to this is Vietnam’s long-standing concern that it would not be able to meet the convention’s obligation to clear contaminated areas within 10 years.
In December 2017, Vietnam abstained from the vote on a key UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution that calls on states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.” Vietnam abstained from the vote on previous UNGA resolutions promoting implementation and universalization of the convention in 2015 and 2016.
Vietnam participated in two of the international Oslo Process conferences to develop the convention text, but attended the formal negotiations in Dublin in May 2008 and the Oslo Signing Conference in December 2008 only as an observer. It participated in a regional conference on cluster munitions in Bali, Indonesia in 2009 and an international conference in Santiago, Chile in 2010.
Vietnam has participated as an observer in almost every Meeting of States Parties of the convention, most recently the Seventh Meeting of States Parties in Geneva in September 2017. It also attended the convention’s First Review Conference in 2015 and intersessional meetings in 2011–2014.
Vietnam is not party to the Mine Ban Treaty. Vietnam signed the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) in 1981, but never ratified.
Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling
In September 2012, Vietnam informed States Parties, “We do not produce, store, use or encourage to [sic] use cluster munitions.”
In the past, some officials have said that Vietnam does not stockpile cluster munitions, but others were less certain. A May 2010 position paper states that “foreign reports” show that Vietnam has never used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions.
However, Jane’s Information Group cites the Vietnam Air Force as possessing KMGU submunition dispensers.
The US used air-delivered cluster munitions extensively in Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s, creating a legacy of contamination.
 In September 2012, Vietnam informed States Parties of its “strong support for the humanitarian goal of the Convention” but said it would “not be in a position to complete clearance under the Article 4 deadline of ten years.” Vietnam said, “states who have produced, used or abandoned cluster munitions must be accountable for the implementation of obligations under the Convention, including the clearance and destruction of cluster munitions.” Statement of Vietnam, Convention on Cluster Munitions ThirdMeeting of States Parties, Oslo, 11 September 2012. In December 2011, Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs emphasized that “Viet Nam believes that those responsibilities should be laid with countries that had produced, used and exported cluster munitions. Only when this matter is resolved in a fair manner can we assure the universalization and effective implementation of the Convention.” He also expressed concern with the convention’s ten-year deadline. For Vietnam as a state that is “seriously affected by cluster munitions and with limited resources.” Statement by Le Luong Minh, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the workshop on Joint Efforts in Mitigating the Consequences of Bomb and Mine Remnants of War, Hanoi, 5 December 2011.
 For example, in a February 2014 interview in The People’s Army Newspaper, Deputy Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh, said that before Vietnam can accede to the convention it must “research and have an overall evaluation on interests, limits, roadmap, time frame and the most important thing: the resources to implement the contents of that convention.” “Mine clearance needs both domestic, international resources,” Vietnam News Agency, 12 March 2014.
 Explanation of Voteon UNGA Draft Resolution L.49/Rev.1, Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, General Assembly, Official Records, 70thSession: First Committee, 24thMeeting, New York, 4 November 2015.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 72/54, 4 December 2017.
 “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 71/45, 5 December 2016; and “Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 70/54, 7 December 2015.
 For more details on Vietnam’s cluster munition policy and practice up to early 2009, see Human Rights Watch and Landmine Action, Banning Cluster Munitions: Government Policy and Practice (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, May 2009), pp. 261–262.
 Vietnam did not attend the convention’s Fifth Meeting of States Parties in San Jose, Costa Rica in September 2014.
 During a Cluster Munition Coalition (CMC) mission in May 2010, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said there were no stocks, but a Ministry of Defense official was not clear on the issue. Thomas Nash, “Report on Cluster Munition Coalition Visit to Vietnam, 10–11 May 2010.”
 “Vietnam’s Position on Cluster Munition Convention,” undated, provided to Aotearoa New Zealand CMC on 26 May 2010.
 Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), p. 848.