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KAS Vietnam and the University of Social Sciences and Humanities today (Sep. 29th) successfully organized the workshop entitled “International Relations in the Asia-Pacific Region: the role of the EU and the US”. Speakers at the workshop were Deputy Head and First Counsellor of the EU Delegation - Mrs. Axelle Nicaise, German Ambassador to Vietnam - Dr. Guido Hildner, the USA Embassy’s Political Counselor - Mr. Noah Zaring, Head of Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ European Department - Mr. Dinh Toan Thang and Director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam’s Strategic Institute - Dr. Le Dinh Tinh. The workshop attracted more than 50 participants.
Talking about the EU’s policy in the region, Mrs. Nicaise said that there were many aspects that the EU could share with the region, for instance academic exchanges which could help boost belief of the peoples of ASEAN and the EU. She added that the FTAs between the EU and regional countries like the ones with Singapore and Vietnam help facilitate trade integration of the area.
While hard power and soft power are key terms of security policies, Dr. Hildner mentioned the EU’s approach to the region as smart power since the block wanted to offer the region an option which was different from that of the US and China. Both Mrs. Nicaise and Dr. Hildner highlighted multilateralism as the key format in strategy of the EU in general and Germany in particular toward the area arguing that no country was able to overcome such thing as global pandemic and should rather cooperate with each other.
Commenting on the EU’s strategy, Mr. Thang of the MOFA said that it was difficult to judge whether the scheme was successful in a short-term, however, political will of the EU toward the region was clear. It also proved the EU’s determination for not being left behind in the transition of the world’s powers. In the EU’s policy Asean is in the centre and the EU is the major dialogue partner of ASEAN, he said. The EU’s support package of EUR 800m to ASEAN for Covid fighting besides a number of strategic plans were evidences, he added.
Presenting on the US policies toward the region, Mr. Zaring stressed three pillars of economic, strategic and governance. As he said, remarkable resources have been poured into the region to ensure people’s rights. The US is hostile to no country, he added, China is not the US’s direct competitor regardless of its rise terms of economic, political and military aspects. Agreeing with Mr. Zaring, Dr. Tinh of DAV noticed that the US’s investment in ASEAN was bigger than its investment in China and Japan combined. Through the USAID, the US also promoted e-commerce, economic integration in the region with such activity as Women CEO Summit. Among the expectations to the US’s policies in the region, economic and technological cooperation through FTAs apart from a clearer voice in regional affairs, building rule-based, inclusive, sustainable, innovative architecture conducive to the betterment of common goods, according to Dr. Tinh.
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