Vietnam will help stabilize Indo-Pacific region: US experts

By Khanh Lynh   September 28, 2018 | 06:28 pm PT
Vietnam will help stabilize Indo-Pacific region: US experts
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc speaks at the UN General Assembly debate in New York. Photo by Vietnam News Agency
U.S. observers highly regard Vietnam's potential contribution as a non-permanent member of U.N. Security Council for the 2020-2021 term.

Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest, told VnExpress that the international community should welcome Vietnam’s bid to win a non-permanent U.N. Security Council seat.

"I would say Hanoi’s chances are over 50 percent, considering the nation’s strong approach to economic development while also working as a stabilizing force in global affairs, especially in the Indo-Pacific region," Kazianis said.

He said Vietnam is seen as a strong candidate for the seat as it would be a counterweight to an aggressive China, who is on a quest to dominate waters in the region.

Having Hanoi’s important diplomatic voice at the U.N. would help check negative Chinese impulses, he added.

Regarding Asia-Pacific nations' decision to nominate Vietnam as the region's only candidate for the seat, James Borton, a nonresident fellow with the Stimson Center's Southeast Asia program, said the country's importance in international security has risen prominently since last year’s successful Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

Furthermore, Hanoi has ably leveraged greater integration with the international economic system, demonstrated by its ascension to the WTO in 2007 and its previous term as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, by a nearly unanimous vote of 183 out of 190 votes for the 2008-2009 term.

Borton said Vietnam has won the world's acknowledgement for its leadership role in the ASEAN and is demonstrating its importance in the Indo-Pacific region.

He emphasized that the U.S. and the council's non-permanent members regard Vietnam as a nation with an important voice that addresses issues in a peaceful, responsible and prudent manner with regard to China's hegemonic actions in the region, especially in the South China Sea. Vietnam calls the waters the East Sea.

Borton added that as Vietnam has a responsibility to play a peacemaker’s role in the contested South China Sea disputes, the country could perhaps use the U.N. as a proposed location for a forum on the South China Sea that enables diplomacy to take the lead in dealing with intractable sovereignty claims.

With a non-permanent U.N. Security Council seat, Vietnam would surely maintain its openness and engagement with the world and with that responsibility, it would also up its engagement with the U.N. Peace keeping operations, he said.

The U.S. expert also expressed hope that Vietnam follows the U.N. 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.

He praised the Vietnamese government for recognizing, at the provincial level, how important it was to include the voices of its farmers and fishermen in addressing environmental issues.

Vietnam is actively campaigning to be elected a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council for the 2020-2021 term.

Asia-Pacific nations in May had agreed to nominate Vietnam to this position. Vietnam will join the vote in June next year. If elected, it will be the second time Vietnam holds such a position after the 2008-2009 term.

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