Vietnam ranked 12th out of 26 countries and territories, up one place from a year earlier, in the Asian Power Index 2020 conducted by the Lowy Institute, an Australian independent and nonpartisan international policy think tank.
With the improvement, Vietnam’s power ranking has overtaken New Zealand. The Southeast Asian country registered the largest improvement in relative power of any country – gaining 1.3 points in 2020. Vietnam is now within one point of matching Indonesia in its overall score.
Vietnam performs best in the diplomatic influence measure, where it places 9th – up by three spots from last year – with its reputation strengthened by the competent handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The country also saw notable improvements in its score for economic capability and defense networks.
The country exerts more influence in the region than expected given its available resources, as indicated by the country’s positive power gap score, according to the Lowy Institute.
Last year’s rankings also saw Vietnam climb one place in the Asian Power Index due to its major achievements in economic and human resource development.
The report underlined that the country has become an effective multilateral player in regional forums and trade initiatives — whether in terms of steering negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement as ASEAN chair, or as one of 11 countries to have resuscitated the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The five highest ranked countries in the Asia Power Index 2020 remains unchanged from last year, in which the US is considered the largest power in the region, followed by China, Japan, India, and Russia.
The 2020 index includes three new indicators that track major ecological threats, bilateral and plurilateral defense dialogues, and perceptions of the international and domestic handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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