Regional Rivalry in the Indo-Pacific: Vietnam’s Role as the 2020 Chair of ASEAN

by Quang Huy Pham

East-West Center Working Papers: Governance, Security, and Justice Series, No. 3

Publisher: Honolulu: East-West Center
Publication Date: April 2020
Binding: paper
Pages: 10
Free Download: PDF


With rivalry escalating between the US and China, the stability of the Indo-Pacific region is under threat. As a newly elected non-permanent member of the UN Security Council and the 2020 chair of ASEAN—the Association of Southeast Asian Nations—Vietnam will have an opportunity to help maintain peace and stability. At the same time, as one of the smaller countries, Vietnam will look for ways to use regional rivalries to promote its own national interest. Vietnam’s perception of the balance of power between the US and China determines its foreign policy toward these two countries and toward ASEAN. In response to the China-US rivalry, Hanoi supports further US engagement in the region, not only to offset Beijing’s influence but also to leverage the role of ASEAN and avoid any extreme outcomes. Keywords: Vietnam, US, China, ASEAN, Indo-Pacific region, South China Sea