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Last Updated: 12 August 2014

Cluster Munition Ban Policy


The Socialist Republic of Vietnam has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

In April 2014, Vietnam stated that it “welcomes the humanitarian objectives” of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and “continues exploring the possibilities of acceding” to it. Vietnam said “we will accede to the Convention when all sufficient conditions appropriate to the context of Vietnam are already created.” Yet Vietnam went on to list its multiple concerns with the ban convention, including the 10-year deadline to identify and clear areas contaminated by cluster munition remnants, and said it needs “some decades, even a hundred year[s] to fully complete the clearance.” Vietnam said the convention lacks a “mechanism for international support and cooperation” as well as the participation by certain states in the convention, including “cluster munitions users, producers and exporters” that “must be responsible for assisting affected countries.”[1]

Vietnamese officials have regularly expressed the government’s support for the humanitarian aims of the Convention on Cluster Munitions while at the same time presenting these concerns as the reason for its lack of accession.[2]

In a February 2014 interview in The People’s Army Newspaper, Lt. Gen. Nguyen Chi Vinh, Deputy Minister of Defence, outlined Vietnam’s position on joining the Convention on Cluster Munitions, highlighting the need for user states to bear further responsibility in affected countries and asking why not all major cluster munition producers have joined. The minister stating that before accession is possible, it is first “necessary to 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.”[3]

In April 2013, a government official informed the CMC that Vietnam is still in the “learning process” with respect to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which they said is under review by a national steering committee led by the Prime Minister.[4]

Vietnam participated in two of the international Oslo Process diplomatic 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.[5]

Despite not joining, Vietnam has continued to participate in the work of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It attended a regional conference in Bali, Indonesia in 2009 and an international conference in Santiago, Chile in 2010. Vietnam has participated as an observer in every Meeting of States Parties of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, including the Fourth Meeting of States Parties in Lusaka, Zambia in September 2013. Vietnam has participated in every intersessional meeting of the convention held in Geneva, including those held in April 2014.

Vietnam is not party to the Mine Ban Treaty. Vietnam signed the Convention on Conventional Weapons in 1981, but has not ratified any of its protocols.

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

At the Third Meeting of States Parties in September 2012, Vietnam declared, “We do not produce, store, use or encourage to [sic] use cluster munitions.”[6]

In the past, some officials have said that Vietnam does not have a stockpile, but others have been less than certain.[7] A May 2010 position paper states that “foreign reports” show that Vietnam has never used, produced, transferred, or stockpiled cluster munitions.[8]

Jane’s Information Group cites the Vietnam Air Force as possessing KMGU submunition dispensers.[9]


[1] Statement of Vietnam, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meeting, Geneva, 7 April 2014.

[2] In September 2012, Vietnam informed States Parties that it has “strong support for the humanitarian goal of the Convention” and notes “the increasing number of States that have become Parties” but believes that “a number of important obligations under the Convention present great difficulties to the implementation” and that it would “not be in a position to complete clearance under the Article 4 deadline of ten years.” Vietnam said it was “of the view that 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 Third Meeting 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 stated that “The deadline set by the Convention for a State Party to clear all the cluster munition contaminated areas in its territories within 10 years and with no more than 5 years of extension is considered to create a tremendous difficulty for Viet Nam,” which he described as “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.

[3] Article available here.

[4] CMC meeting with delegation of Vietnam, Convention on Cluster Munitions Intersessional Meetings, Geneva, April 2013.

[5] 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.

[6] Statement of Vietnam, Convention on Cluster Munitions Third Meeting of States Parties, Oslo, 11 September 2012.

[7] During the CMC mission in May 2010, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said there were not 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,” CMC.

[8] “Vietnam’s Position on Cluster Munition Convention,” undated, provided to Aotearoa New Zealand Cluster Munition Coalition on 26 May 2010.

[9] Robert Hewson, ed., Jane’s Air-Launched Weapons, Issue 44 (Surrey, UK: Jane’s Information Group Limited, 2004), p. 848.