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(June 11, 2019) Vietnam plays role of reluctant Asian middle power - Kavi Chongkittavorn

 In private discussions with senior Vietnamese foreign ministry officials, one could easily get the feeling that the socialist republic is a reluctant rising middle power in Asia. In their view, Vietnam is doing well in terms of regional and international profile, with its uninterrupted political stability and expanding economic growth. The latest report by the Asia Development Bank that its GDP growth will be around 6.8% this year is good testimony to its success.

On the other hand, they were also aware of the country's vulnerabilities as it continues to modernise and integrate with global economies. Since the end of the Indochina War, Vietnam has been able to adapt and adjust itself by engaging with and managing a hostile and disruptive external environment to become a regional force to be reckoned with. As the country prepares to take up the Asean chairmanship next year along with a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC), Vietnam is preparing a long to-do list for both at home and abroad.