On 24 February the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade (IFAT) hosted a public lecture of To Anh Tuan, PhD, deputy-director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam on current trends of the Asia-Pacific and Vietnam’s position in the region. The presentation was followed by a roundtable discussion with the participation of Tamás Baranyi, PhD, deputy director of IFAT.
In his public lecture Mr. To emphasized that a gravity shift is ongoing in the region, and accordingly it is more appropriate to talk about Indo-Pacific. The region is a key arena of a major power rivalry between the USA and China, however there are no ongoing armed conflicts and the political environment can be considered as stable. He highlighted that tensions around North Korea is a less significant security threat compared to the territorial disputes in the South China Sea. The latter conflict is much more complex therefore finding solution is a greater challenge. The region is affected by non-traditional security challenges as well, like diseases, piracy, pollution and climate change. The Mekong delta is particularly exposed to the consequences of climate change which is a great challenge for countries of the region.
As for the role of Vietnam Mr. To pointed out that his country is located in the geographic centre of the Indo-Pacific region. Keeping its independency and securing peaceful prosperity are in the focus of Vietnam’s foreign policy. Besides, it’s a clear goal of the country to strengthen the economic role of ASEAN in the region. Regarding Vietnamese-Hungarian relations he underlined, that the enhanced cooperation of the two countries could strengthen the law and rules-based international order. Mr. To also emphasized the importance of people-to-people connections in bilateral relations.
In his comments Mr. Tamás Baranyi highlighted that in most cases people talk about the rise of China, which is a misperception as we are witnessing the rise of the whole continent. He emphasized that the Indo-Pacific concept is not the invention of the USA but is a result of economic trends. Mr. Baranyi also pointed out the deepening of bilateral ties is mutual interest.