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Vietnam ranked 13th most influential in Asia Pacific

By Nguyen Quy   May 30, 2019 | 05:03 pm PT
Vietnam ranked 13th most influential in Asia Pacific
Buildings rise in Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Ba Do
Vietnam’s level of influence in the Asia-Pacific region remained unchanged from last year, ahead of several Southeast Asian peers.

The country stood 13th in terms of their capability to influence regional events, according to the 2019 Asia Power Index, released on Tuesday by Australian think tank Lowy Institute.

The ranking measured 25 countries and territories in the Asia Pacific region and scored them on their distribution of power, based on eight main categories, including defense networks, cultural influence, diplomatic influence, economic resources, economic relationships, military capability, resilience and future trends.

Vietnam, classed in the group of "middle powers," scored an overall 18 points out of 100, up 1.5 from last year, thanks to improvements in military capability, diplomatic influence, multilateral power and foreign policy.

The report said Vietnam has made the most of multilateral arrangements such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to boost its economic diplomacy and regional trade ties.

Last November, Vietnam became the seventh country to ratify the CPTPP, a major trade pact between 11 countries including major economies like Australia, Canada, Japan and Singapore that seeks to boost trade by reducing tariffs.

Vietnam's capital Hanoi drew global attention last February when it hosted the second summit between North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump. Analysts said the event significantly furthered Hanoi's diplomacy agenda, showing Vietnam as a neutral and trustworthy partner. Yet it did not lead to any deal as both sides disagreed on the process of denuclearization and lifting of sanctions over North Korea.

Lowy Institute ranking showed the U.S. remained the most powerful country in the Asia Pacific region with an overall score of 84.5, followed by China at 75.9.

The two "superpowers" were followed by Japan and India, which were classed in the group of "major powers."

Besides Vietnam, the middle powers included Russia, South Korea, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Pakistan, North Korea and the Philippines.

Malaysia and Thailand rounded out the top ten most powerful Asian countries in the region, while Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia and Nepal sat at the bottom end of the ranking.

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