Some recent studies suggest the idea that Vietnam is a potential candidate for the middle power status. The notion is based on the fact that the country has travelled a long way from isolation to regional integration to being an active, responsible member of the international community. The possibility for Vietnam to become a middle power has increasingly proven a topic of interest for scholars and policy-makers. This article is an attempt to elucidate three key aspects of that possibility, namely Vietnam’s capacity, international behaviour and identity. Using a theoretical framework and set of empirical evidences that are structured around those three aspects, this article hypothesizes that Vietnam will meet the basic criteria of a middle power in the next decade and thus should adjust its foreign policy accordingly.
Dr. Le Dinh Tinh is Director General, Institute for Foreign Policy and Strategic Studies, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (DAV), Hanoi.