The “free and open Indo-Pacific strategy” - its impact on Vietnam, opportunities and challenges
PhD. Mai Dieu Anh*
In the first two decades of the 21st century, the world has witnessed strong and rapid changes, with the rise of Asia and a number of countries in the region, which have made unbelievable great achievements such as India, China, Japan, Korea, ASEAN, etc.
The rise of India’s emerging economy, China's moves, increasing geopolitical turmoil in Asia and Asia’s seas have prompted U.S. President Donald Trump to implement the ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ strategy, and form the ‘Quadrilateral Security Dialogue’ (The Quad) with the support of three major countries, including India, Japan and Australia. The Quad’s goal is promoting free and open development, thereby influencing other countries in the region, in which India has great potential and responsibility for regional security and a position at the heart of the strategy.
The growing connectivity among countries in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean in economics, culture, political and social areas, etc. will make this century become the Indo-Pacific century. The ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’ strategy has strong impacts on Vietnam, and creates favorable conditions for Vietnam to establish and develop trade and investment relations with most economies in the region, including its major trading partners, such as the United States, Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, etc., as well as helps Vietnam enhance science and technology capabilities, national defense and security, cultural and social development, especially maintaining international law and standards in the region.
However, apart from bright prospects, it is also important to recognize challenges brought to Vietnam by the ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ strategy, such as economic asymmetry and ‘commercial dependency’, armed conflicts, territorial sovereignty disputes, terrorism, transnational crimes, and environmental pollution, whose negative impacts Vietnam must do its best to avoid. In order to bring into full play the potential of this strategy, Vietnam should focus on measures, such as boosting economic development through active promotion of trade and investment liberalization, enhancing infrastructure, maritime and aviation connectivity, taking advantages of multilateral forums and support of ASEAN in settling disputes in the East Sea, strengthening cultural cooperation, as well as being vigilant against plots of exploiting integration process in the Indo-Pacific region to implement ‘peaceful evolution’ strategy./.
* People's Police Academy.