As part of the increasing engagement of Vietnam-Australia Centre (VAC) in facilitating sharing of expertise and knowledge between Vietnam and Australia on regional security and strategic matters, VAC hosted a roundtable discussion entitled “The role of middle powers in response to major power competition” on 14 November 2023 at the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics (HCMA) in Hanoi.
Opening remarks by Dr Nguyen Manh Hung, Assistant of President, Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Mr Mark Tattersall, Deputy Head of Mission, Australian Embassy in Hanoi.
Speaking at the roundtable were four prominent Australian academics, Dr Huong Le Thu, from International Crisis Group, Professor Ian Hall from Griffith University, and Dr Jade Lindley and Dr Troy Lee-Brown from the University of Western Australia and academics from the Institutes of Political Sciences and International Relations of the HCMA.
Dr Huong Le Thu from International Crisis Group presents regional scene-setting.
Dr Jade Lindley from the University of Western Australia discusses regional cooperation underpinned by international law to address common threats.
The roundtable discussed key issues notably the active and proactive role of middle powers like Vietnam and Australia in shaping the regional geo-political environment and regional order; the enforcement of international law in addressing threats, especially maritime security threats; the significance of enhanced cooperation between middle powers, particularly through existing mechanisms like ASEAN; and the necessity for middle powers to reach a strategic equilibrium in their relations with major powers.
Dr Troy Lee-Brown from the University of Western Australia introduces Australian naval diplomacy and maritime-focused strategy.
Professor Ian Hall from Griffith University discusses the term middle powers and their roles in the region.
Dr Tran Ngoc Dung from HCMA Institute of International Relations joins the discussion.
Apart from the VAC roundtable, during their visit, the Australian academics also attended the annual bilateral 1.5 Track Vietnam-Australia Oceans Dialogue hosted by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam and a roundtable discussion with the Institute for Defence International Relations.
The roundtable discussion are among VAC’s various activities to bring together influential Vietnamese and Australian government officials and academics to support the capacity development of future leaders of Vietnam and inform strategic policy.
The centrepiece of the Australian and Vietnamese bilateral relationship, the VAC is delivering targeted training, capacity building and research activities for Vietnamese Government officials, and will be the centre of choice for engagement and discussions that are priorities for both governments.