Russia’s invasion of Ukraine puts Vietnam in a bind, as the crisis is likely to sharpen the rivalry between Russia, China and the US. This will strain Vietnam’s efforts to balance its relations with the three major powers and have implications for its key concerns such as the South China Sea dispute. It remains to be seen how Vietnam can leverage its long-held omnidirectional foreign policy to manoeuvre its way through the crisis.
Discussions about the bilateral relationship between Vietnam and the US typically centre on the geopolitical aspects. A more meaningful way of developing the relationship is actually in the field of human security.
Hanoi is applying its South China Sea playbook to the Mekong. It is putting effort into enmeshing all stakeholders while carefully balancing relationships with major powers interested in the Mekong. What does this mean for Southeast Asia and the region's relationship with China and the US? RSIS graduate research assistant Phan Xuan Dung examines how Vietnam can make a difference.