In the early years of the 21st
century, Vietnam has emerged as one of Asia’s newest regional powers. After two decades of high-speed growth unlocked by economic reforms, it has already become a middle-income country and will soon join the ranks of the major economic powers. Its growing levels of confidence, capacity and importance has seen it adopt a more active diplomatic posture in key regional fora such as ASEAN, APEC and the East Asia Summit. It has also become a central player in security developments in the region, particularly in the maritime and non-traditional security spaces. For the first time since the conclusion of the Indochina Wars in the late 1980s, Vietnam is again central to the international politics of Asia.
Yet much has changed in the region over this time. US hegemony in Asia has given way to a more multipolar balance of power, with China, Japan and increasingly India all aspiring to regional leadership. Consistent economic growth has seen several countries from developing Asia become regional powers in their own right. Security relations have also become more contested, such as the increasingly rivalry between the US and China alongside emerging maritime disputes in the South China Sea. Indeed, the very concept of who and what constitutes the Asian region has also changed, with the new ‘Indo-Pacific’ concept extending the region to encompass the Indian Ocean. Vietnam is re-emerging as a power within a regional context that it itself very much in flux.
This Perth USAsia Centre Special Report will examine Vietnam’s role in the evolving Indo-Pacific regional order. Bringing together a mix of leading Australian and Vietnamese authors, it will offer a state-of-the-art analysis of the opportunities and challenges facing Vietnam’s economic, security and diplomatic role in the Indo-Pacific. Its intended readership includes policymakers, government and business leaders, and their key stakeholders in Australia, Vietnam and throughout the region.