Bui Hai Dang, Luc Minh Tuan, Tran Xuan Hiep The Flexibility of Vietnam’s Taccs in Relaon with the QUAD at the End of the Term of U.S. President D.Trump
The Flexibility of Vietnam’s Tactics in
Relation with the QUAD at the End of the
Term of U.S. President D.Trump
A flexibilidade das táticas do Vietnã em relação ao
QUAD no final do mandato do presidente dos EUA,
Bui Hai Dang1
Luc Minh Tuan2
Tran Xuan Hiep3
DOI: 10.5752/P.2317-773X.2022v10n3p21-33
Recebido em: 29 de maio de 2022
Aprovado em: 03 de abril de 2023
The restoration of the Quad Allies (Quad) in 2020 shows the changes in the
size and quality of the Quad in the last period of the US President Donald
Trump’s term. In particular, the possibility of expanding membership of this
bloc (under the Quad + structure) is increasingly concerned when Vietnam
is being encouraged by all four Quad member countries to enhance bilateral
and multilateral interactions. side. This paper is to analyze the main moves
in the interaction between Vietnam and the Quad in particular and within
the Quad in general. Two methodologies mainly used in the article are the
research of motivation (in part 1 and 2) and retracing approach (in part 2).
The article will be structured in 3 parts: Part 1 focuses on clarifying the the
major trends of the Quad through the main move is intra-regional inte-
ractions through the Quad Foreign Ministers Meeting (October 4-6, 2020),
part 2 focuses on analyzing Vietnam’s tactic to reduce constraints through
dynamic interactions with the Expanded Quad (Quad +), and part 3 gives
recommendations for Vietnam’s foreign policy towards the Quad in the near
Keywords: Vietnam, USA, Quad, militarization, foreign tactics
A restauração do Quad Allies (Quad) em 2020 mostra as mudanças no tama-
nho e na qualidade do Quad no último mandato do presidente dos EUA, Do-
nald Trump. Em particular, a possibilidade de expandir a adesão deste bloco
(sob a estrutura Quad +) está se tornando mais preocupante, pois os quatro
países membros do Quad incentivam o Vietnã a aprimorar as interações bi-
laterais e multilaterais. Este artigo analisa os principais movimentos na inte-
ração entre o Vietnã e o Quad em particular, e dentro do Quad em geral. As
duas principais metodologias utilizadas no artigo são a pesquisa de motiva-
1. Department of International Rela-
tions, VNUHCM- University of Social
Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam.
E-mail: haidang2508@gmail.com.
2. Department of International Rela-
tions, VNUHCM- University of Social
Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam.
E-mail: lucminhtuan@gmail.com.
3. Faculty of International Relations,
Dong A University, Vietnam. E-mail:
estudos internacionais • Belo Horizonte, ISSN 2317-773X, v. 10, n. 3, (out. 2022), p. 21-33
ção (nas partes 1 e 2) e a abordagem de rastreamento (na parte 2). O artigo
será estruturado em 3 partes: A Parte 1 se concentra em esclarecer as prin-
cipais tendências do Quad por meio do principal movimento das interações
intrarregionais por meio da Reunião de Ministros das Relações Exteriores do
Quad (4 a 6 de outubro de 2020), A Parte 2 se concentra sobre a discussão da
tática do Vietnã para reduzir as restrições por meio de interações dinâmicas
com o Quad ampliado (Quad +), e a Parte 3 fornece recomendações para a
política externa do Vietnã em relação ao Quad no futuro próximo.
Palavras-chave: Vietnã, EUA, Quad, militarização, táticas estrangeiras
1. The tendency increased influence in the Quad at the end of the
term of US President D. Trump
The visit of US Secretary of State M. Pompeo to Japan (Octo-
ber 4-6) to attend the 2nd Foreign Ministers Meeting of the Quartet
(Quad) is considered as an important milestone for the relationship
between the US – Japan in particular and the process of institutiona-
lizing the Quad in general. The visit also occurs at a favorable time
for the shaping of an “Asian NATO” framework to counter security
threats in the region (according to U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Ste-
phen Biegun said on 31/02). 8) (M. BHADRAKUMAR, 2020), in which
the greatest “common denominator” is still to contain Chinas asserti-
ve behaviors when this country is simultaneously escalating conflicts
with Australia, Japan and India in the second half of 2020.
However, Pompeos active bilateral and multilateral diplomatic ac-
tivities during the three working days in Japan did not bring the desired
results when the Conference failed to produce a joint statement, and an
“ Asian NATO” framework is also not mentioned in any ocial press
release (BHIM BHURTEL, 2020). There are three reasons for this result:
1.1. The US failed to promote the militarization of the Quad
If in the past the US government often only officially recognized
that the establishment of security partnership/diologue frameworks
such as the Quad aimed at less sensitive common security goals of the
region, then Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun on August 31
publicly acknowledged the progress of building a version of a military
alliance like NATO in the Indo-Pacific based on the original Quad fra-
mework with small-scale and neutral foundational cooperation (U.S.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, 2020A). This admission refutes all of the
State Department’s discourses on neutrality and the previous Quad
model of security dialogue that did not aim to shape military alliances
against any country (US DEPARTMENT OF STATE, 2019B).
Such a change of stance shows that the US side has regarded
this to be the right time to: (i) maximize the rising “anti-China” sen-
timents in India, Japan and Australia into specific activities “anti-Chi-
na” in many areas; (ii) push the remaining countries in the Quad into
a “ready position” in the “militarization/institutionalization” of the
Bui Hai Dang, Luc Minh Tuan, Tran Xuan Hiep The Flexibility of Vietnam’s Taccs in Relaon with the QUAD at the End of the Term of U.S. President D.Trump
Quad in accordance with public opinion on the China threat that was
highly amplified by the US at the previous 75th United Nations Gene-
ral Assembly meeting (N. HUET, 2020), and (iii) promote quadrilate-
ral cooperation from ordinary, less sensitive, small-scale cooperation
areas to areas of strategic, sensitive, large-scale cooperation. Howe-
ver, the reality shows that although the US has chosen the right time,
it overly underestimated the ability of the remaining partners in the
Quad to make independent decisions.
Specifically, Mr. Biegun’s speech on August 31 immediately “ac-
tivated” the defense mechanism of the remaining countries in the
Quad when they did not want to become a “proxy battlefield” in the
conflict affecting the US – China (this would cause these countries to
suffer from unwanted and uncontrollable damage in the context that
they have to directly deal with bilateral economic, military and poli-
tical pressures from China). This mechanism consists of two groups
of activities: (i) minimizing cooperation that directly affects China’s
strategic profits and (ii) promoting the process of institutionalizing
the Quad in a direction beyond the capabilities of the US control.
1.2. India, Japan and Australia have actively found ways to reduce
the four-way consensus that directly affects China
Two different points of view between US Secretary of State M.
Pompeo and his Indian and Australian counterparts can be obviously
observed in his speech on the eve of the Quad Conference (US DE-
PARTMENT OF STATE, 2020d): (m1) Pompeo attacked directly to
China’s ruling party, (m2) Pompeo mentioned a series of specific areas
where China is engaged in misbehavior including the East Sea, East
China Sea, Mekong River, Himalayas, Taiwan Strait ; and (m3) isolate
5G telecom infrastructure cooperation and global supply chain from
China. However, at the conclusion of the Conference of the host coun-
did not include any content attacking China or the ruling party, (n2)
only exchanged (disagree) security views on North Korea, East China
Sea and East Sea and (n3) only agreed to continue cooperation in the
field of health against COVID-19, digital economy, regional structure
led by ASEAN, the participation of European countries in the “free
and open Indo-Pacific”, quality of infrastructure, maritime security,
counter-terrorism, cyber security, rescue.. and many other less sensi-
tive areas. In particular, the fact that the announcement did not men-
tion security issues in (n2) related to Xinjiang, Taiwan, Mekong and
Himalaya in this Conference shows that the possibility of the remain-
ing parties in the Quad has reduced highly sensitive discussions with
China (while the East Sea and East China Sea issues are less sensitive).
In addition, the Japanese announcement did not mention the
contents of cooperation discussions in (n3) on 5G telecommunications
network infrastructure and the demand to improve the supply chain as the
content of the Quad phone call (on 25th) (US DEPARTMENT OF
STATE, 2020c) also showed the high possibility that these are two
estudos internacionais • Belo Horizonte, ISSN 2317-773X, v. 10, n. 3, (out. 2022), p. 21-33
contents that do not result in general consensus in this Conference.
Furthermore, among the three countries, India, Japan and Australia,
there seems to be a “role casting” to both prevent the US from reach-
ing a multilateral consensus on highly sensitive issues at the Confer-
ence, but still “satisfy the US on bilateral relations when Japan agreed
to the “basic concept” of the US 5G Clean Path Initiative within the
framework of communication between diplomatic offices (JAPAN’S
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, 2020b), India indicates the possi-
bility of signing the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for
Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA) at the US-India 2+2 Ministerial Di-
alogue on October 26-27 (S. GUPTA, 2020), and Australia is the only
country allowed the US to mention China’s “aggressive actions” in
the bilateral discussion (US DEPARTMENT OF STATE, 2020b). Thus,
after the Conference, the US was still not “distrusted” even though it
did not achieve the “package” goals as set out.
1.3. India, Japan and Australia strengthen their absolute influence on
the internal structure of the Quad
Firstly, all three countries still implicitly expressed their support for
a conditional step-by-step militarization roadmap when Japan offered to
hold the Quad Defense Ministers Meeting (in exchange for desiring
the US and Japan to develop together 03 sea defense bases to replace
the previous Aegis Ashore system on land) (KYODO NEWS, 2020).
Japan is also the side that simultaneously sent warships and subma-
rines to anti-submarine exercises in the East Sea (ANH THU, 2020)
to coordinate with US ships to carry out FONOPS in Hoang Sa (BAO
DUY, 2020) right after this Quad Conference. Meanwhile, India is pro-
moting activities to invite Australia to participate in the annual exer-
cise Malabar (with the US and Japan participating) (S. MIGLANI – K.
NEEDHAM, 2020) in order to easily reinforce the perception for the
US side that progress of “militarizing” the Quad is being implicitly
Second, strengthen the bilateral cooperation axes in the direction of
self-reliance (not dependent on the US) between India – Japan, India –
Australia and Japan – Australia: in which the Indo-Japan axis plays a
key role with the number of cooperation pillars (have established a
common vision for the Indo-Pacific Initiative – IPOI and cooperation
pillars on high-quality infrastructure, finance, health, maritime se-
curity, especially cooperation in digital technologies such as 5G net-
work, artificial intelligence – AI, Internet of things – IoT) (A. BHAU-
MIK, 2020) is much better than the US – Japan axis (only 3 pillars of
energy, digital economy and cooperation between the US – Japan –
Mekong sub-region), while the India – Australia and Japan – Australia
axes continue to be improved (without the participation of the US).
Specifically, India and Australia recently signed a Defense Agreement
to upgrade their bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic
Partnership (CSP), a Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA)
with agreements on defense science and technology. Meanwhile, the
Bui Hai Dang, Luc Minh Tuan, Tran Xuan Hiep The Flexibility of Vietnam’s Taccs in Relaon with the QUAD at the End of the Term of U.S. President D.Trump
Japanese Foreign Minister met with the Australian Foreign Minister
on the sidelines of this Quad Conference to strengthen the potential
strategic relations between the two countries and the possibility of
cooperation in the South Pacific island chains.
Third, all three countries are building outward “relationship trian-
gles” to gradually “multilateralize” the Quad structure out of the orbit of the
US influence: in which (i) to the central structure of the Quad: India’s
continuous refusal to establish the US-India-Australia triangle since
2011 (R. PANDIT, 2011) and the birth of the Supply Chain Resilience
Initiative (SCRI) (RP. RAJAGOPALAN, 2020) at the Indo-Japan strate-
gic dialogue on October 7, has made Japan currently the only country
in the remaining three “triangles” of the Quad: the Japan- US- India
triangle in terms of connectivity infrastructure, the Japan – US – Aus-
tralia triangle also in terms of infrastructure (P. MCCAWLEY, 2019),
and the Japan – India – Australia triangle in the New Supply Chain
for external “triangle” structures related to the Quad, India has also
established two partnership triangles India – Australia – Indonesia
DE, 2019) and India – Australia – France (INDIAN MINISTRY OF
FOREIGN AFFAIRS, 2020b) to strengthen the Indo-Australia axis to
counterbalance instead of letting the Quad structure leans towards
the US – Japan axis (with two partnership triangles US – Japan – Ko-
rea and the US – Japan – Mongolia) (US DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
2017) and (iii) all three countries India, Japan and Australia all support
the content of non-military cooperation (in the mentioned n3 con-
tent group) in which the construction of the Japan – India – Australia
triangle on the supply chain is the first step for the trend of promoting
demilitarization” or “softening” of the Quad.
Thus, through this Conference, it can be clearly seen that the
active efforts of all three countries including India, Japan and Aus-
tralia in transforming the Quads structure in the direction of “cen-
trifugation” away from the coordination of the US. Although India,
Japan and Australia are all taking turns to cooperate with the US on
each of the small goals in the Quad, they tend to delay the process of
militarizing” the Quad in general. The US side also seems to have
an alternative when it has built a series of “strategic triangles” based
on the US – Japan axis (such as the US – Japan – India, the US – Ja-
pan – Australia, the US – Japan – Korea, The US – Japan – Mongolia)
to “replace the framework” for the Quad when seeing the delay in
the progress of this blocks institutionalization, however, both India
– Australia and India – Japan axes have also built “strategic triangles”
which has a counterbalancing nature (such as the Indo-Australia-Ja-
pan triangle, India-Australia-France, India-Australia-Indonesia) and
is likely to shape the Indo-Japan-Russia triangle in the near future
(S. PARASHAR, 2020). Therefore, no matter how the US builds the
framework of the “Asian NATO”, the three countries India, Japan and
Australia also have solutions to counterbalance and reduce depen-
dence on US coordination as well as reduce the possibility of intense
estudos internacionais • Belo Horizonte, ISSN 2317-773X, v. 10, n. 3, (out. 2022), p. 21-33
escalation to shape military blocs rivaling China. Consequently, Viet-
nams flexible behavior in interacting with the previous Quad+ co-
operation mechanism on Covid-19 is completely consistent with the
centrifugal trend in the internal structure of this block.
2. Flexible response of Viet Nam in the expansion of Quad
The news that Viet Nam was invited to join Expanded Quad is
currently grasping the attention of regional and international public
opinion, focusing on three small points: (1) the US is “politicizing
multi-field cooperation institutions to utilize the third wave of “Chi-
nese escape” within the framework of the Quads functional coopera-
tion, and (2) Chinas reaction to “politicizing” activities. The wave of
Chinese espace” of Quad+ led by the US and (3) Vietnam agreed to
participate Quad+ at the active invitation of the US.
These implications have implicitly created public opinion “po-
liticizing” the event Viet Nam participates in the activities of the
expanded Quad, triggers inferences that Viet Nam currently has to
take sides in the upcoming “Cold War 2.0” ” – an outdated argument
foundation which is common in the 90s but will cause misunderstan-
dings, misperception and miscalculation. This is especially sensitive
to Vietnam-China relations in particular and Vietnam’s “non-aligned
foreign identity/reputation in general, even affecting Vietnams “mul-
tilateralization” strategy towards other countries. Therefore, the use
of the traceability method to clearly analyze the implications in or-
der to understand the positions of each side and propose solutions for
Vietnam is an urgent research work.
2.1. Analysing the origin of the event
Initially, the origin of the point (1) bases on the context that US is
promoting simultaneously 3 trends that are greatly affecting interna-
tional politics in the first half of 2020: (i) “politicizing” the areas of bi-
lateral strategic competition with China in terms of trade (from June
2018) (P.ANH, 2018) and technology (from May 2019) (T.HANG, 2019);
(ii) “institutionalizing” new waves of “Chinese escape” at the multi-
lateral level of the India-Pacific region in the field of infrastructure
(from November 2019) (J. LYN, 2020); and (iii) “unipolarizing” global
leadership efforts to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic on the part of
the US government (issued from April 2020).
In which, trend (i) not only plays the role of reducing the inter-
dependence between the US and China but also accelerates the wave
of “Chinese escape” (ii). The trend (ii) is the process of expanding
the cooperation function of the Quad (or “softening” the fundamen-
tal security cooperation function of the Quad) and restructuring the
Quad block towards an open but dependent on the agenda from the
superstructure (similar to the ASEAN Expansion cooperation or ASE-
AN+). And trend (iii) represents an effort to make the Quad become
the sole representative in the current essential field of cooperation is
Bui Hai Dang, Luc Minh Tuan, Tran Xuan Hiep The Flexibility of Vietnam’s Taccs in Relaon with the QUAD at the End of the Term of U.S. President D.Trump
the prevention of Covid-19, as a pilot to make the Quad become a key
leadership axis the process of global “Chinese escape”. Therefore, all
three trends, shaping the point (1) has created a clear perception of
the process of establishing a comprehensive (multi-sectoral) strategic
threat platform from the Quad (not just limited to security or infra-
structure as before) from the outlook of the Chinese government.
Secondly, the origin of the point (2) derives from 3 trends: (i) the
recognition of the campaign to attribute unilateral responsibility
from the US and its allies for the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic to
China (GLOBAL TIMES, 2020), (ii) the multilateral support of Quad
members (J.MALHOTRA, 2020) requires China to transparently ex-
plain its responsibility for the Covid-19 pandemic and (iii) a harsh re-
sponse from China to any US activities related to taking advantage of
Covid- 19 to fight China (GLOBAL TIMES, 2020). These three trends
have created Chinas perception of the US integrating more global co-
operation initiatives on Covid-19 into the Quad to carry out activities
to restrain China, requiring China to respond quickly and drastically.
Thirdly, the origin of the point (3) is quoted by the public (N.
DANG, 2020) from the 03 following outstanding information: (i) re-
ported by the Times of India (India) The first phone call (March 20) (I.
BAGCHI, 2020a) and the second (March 28) (I. BAGCHI, 2020b) con-
ducted by US Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun with high-rank-
ing representatives from the Quad and three external representatives
(Vietnam, New Zealand, South Korea) which self-referred to as the
Quad Plus” to discuss the prevention of Covid-19; (ii) published by
Reuters (May 4) (H. PAMUK – A.SHALAL, 2020) on the confirmation
of US Secretary of State M. Pompeo (speech on April 29) that the US,
Japan, India, Australia and three countries Vietnam, New Zealand
and South Korea are discussing about restructuring the global supply
chain with the initiative “Economic Prosperity Network (EPN)”; and
(iii) the confirmation (May 14) (N. NHAM, 2020) from the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam about participating in unofficial phone
calls with 6 countries (USA, Japan, Korea, India, Australia, New Zea-
land) to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic situation and post-pandemic
economic recovery measures.
These three pieces of information not only highlight Vietnam’s
participation in activities that tend to contain China coordinated by
the US, but also highlight the ability to access the superstructure of
the Quad - the focus of the direction of the US, making it easier for
the point (3) to create the implication that Vietnam actually agreed to
initially join the US initiatives to contain China as a country advising
the superstructure of the Quad block, complete the logic circuit from
(1) to (2) and (3).
2.2. Vietnam’s exible foreign aair strategy in interacting with the Quad +
Firstly, Vietnam has not yet officially participated in the activities of
the Quad Expansion. Obviously, Vietnam only sent senior officials to
attend the unofficial phone call of the US Deputy Secretary of State
estudos internacionais • Belo Horizonte, ISSN 2317-773X, v. 10, n. 3, (out. 2022), p. 21-33
on March 20 and March 28 to share experiences in dealing with the
Covid-19 pandemic, but when it came to the official meeting of For-
eign Ministers on post-Covid-19 economic recovery activities con-
ducted by the Quad +, the Foreign Minister of Vietnam (and New
Zealand) did not attend, instead the representatives of Brazil and Isra-
rean representatives attended fully the Covid-19 cooperation activi-
ties within the framework of the Quad Expansion. A spokesperson for
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam on May 14 also confirmed
that Vietnam’s participation only stopped at “unofficial” phone calls.
Therefore, it can be seen that Vietnam is still steadfast in its neutral
position in international cooperation, and has realized the political
nature within the structure of the new Quad (using essential multi-
field cooperation networks to draw small countries into the tradi-
tional and non-traditional security orbit generally coordinated by the
Quad) should stop at information sharing and limit operations to the
framework of “cooperation mechanisms, exchange, and phone call in
a constructive and responsible spirit” (THANH HA, 2020). Therefore,
point (3) is an incorrect inference of international and regional public
opinion, although point (1) and (2) are two highly persuasive cognitive
Second, the frameworks of “contain China” built and advocated by
the US are only superficial to attract public opinion, but have yet created
an effective threat to China on a pragmatic basis. The US is in the pilot
phase of creating a series of institutions such as the Blue Dot Network
among the US - Japan - Australia (officially announced in November
2019 to compete with Chinas BRI) (J. LYN, 2020), as well as the idea
of advocating for cooperation in infrastructure connecting the US -
India - Japan (JAI) since 2018 has not yet produced results because of
many differences in India’s calculations (J. PANDA, 2019). Even the
EPN initiatives are still in the early stages of advocating (despite ha-
ving a financial background from US-based funds), while the concept
of the Quad+ has many precedents since 2013 (N. DANG, 2020) but
completely lacks the institutional framework and agenda, now limi-
ted to working only within the framework of phone calls. Many vie-
wpoints also believe that the idea of the Quad Expasion is still at a
rudimentary level, even just helping to supplement the “communica-
tion corridor” for Indias relations with Vietnam, South Korea, Brazil,
Israel, but does not have much impact on the overall strategy of the
Indians (J. PANDA, 2020), and simultaneously promotes the process
of “demilitarization” or “softening” the Quad that the US actually
does not want ( RAJESWARI PILLAI RAJAGOPALAN, 2020). This
causes the argument point (1) to be reduced seriously.
Third, China has not actually had an official response to Quad+ by
the time the bloc holds an official ministerial-level phone call (May 2020).
All official statements of the Chinese side at this time only repeats
the harsh response to the countries participating in the media cam-
paign attributing the responsibility for the Covid-19 pandemic to
China, unintentionally including the US, Japan, India and Australia
Bui Hai Dang, Luc Minh Tuan, Tran Xuan Hiep The Flexibility of Vietnam’s Taccs in Relaon with the QUAD at the End of the Term of U.S. President D.Trump
(x5 trend) and international media have arbitrarily grouped into in-
formation that China opposes the Quad + block. Chinese media at
May 2020 have many indications that they know how to distinguish
disadvatageous interactions in the Covid-19 issue at the bilateral level
(with each country in the Quad) and multilaterally (the whole Quad).
Even an editorial criticizing the US’s multilateral initiatives from Chi-
na International Televisions news site - CGTN (May 4) had to borrow
the words of a Russian author to accuse the US of utilizing the shell of
Covid-19 to create an EPN to promote supply chain changes toward
China’s disadvantage (NHAT DANG, 2020). Therefore, the point (2) is
just an inference based on information inflated by international me-
dia on the basis of real trends.
These three statements have clarified: (i) Vietnam’s initiatives in
identifying the true nature of the Quad+ as well as the steps demons-
trating clearly the country’s friendly neutral foreign policy, (ii) The
US really intends to use Covid-19 to entice countries to participate in
the Quad + but has not had any considerable results and (iii) China
actually keeps a cautious attitude toward responding to moves rela-
ting to the Quad+ to reduce “miscalculation” with countries whose
geostrategic position is important to them (like Vietnam).
3. Several suggestions for Vietnam’s foreign defense strategy in
interacting with the Quad in the coming time
Firstly, the trend of “Chinese escape” is still happening without
the US push (mainly the first wave with additional impact from the
second and third wave), so Vietnam does not need to join the new
supply chain mechanism coordinated by the US or the Quad (always
with civil society conditions and priority for private corporations, as
well as terms of “contain China”), but only need to prepare suppor-
ting industrial and high-tech ecological platforms to catch the shift.
Secondly, due to the supply chain segment that countries in the
Quad (as well as the EU) are campaigning to move with many diffe-
rent points, at a time when all businesses are facing financial difficul-
ties with Covid-19 so the fact that the campaign to move the supply
chain during the Covid-19 period has had very limited effectiveness
(despite being heavily promoted by the Western media due to the fact
that it captures the general sentiment of public discontent with Chi-
na). Therefore, Vietnam needs to counter-delineate between infor-
mation of practical value and information that only has the value of
disturbing public opinion (used by the parties to overwhelm the other
party’s mentality but when carefully studied, there is no or have little
practical value).
Third, Vietnam may consider mobilizing parties to participate
in functional activities of the Quad (Quad +) to promote the trend of
softening” the Quad to the point of no return. The existence of a
multi-eld cooperation mechanism coordinated by the US in addition
to the mechanisms in which China has inuence in the region will
help shape a balance-to-balance order in non-traditional security elds.
estudos internacionais • Belo Horizonte, ISSN 2317-773X, v. 10, n. 3, (out. 2022), p. 21-33
(unlikely to turn into a “hard collision”) is also a suitable direction for
Vietnams strategy of “multilateralization” and balancing the parties.
Fourth, in the context that the US - China institutions are ba-
lancing - counterbalancing, it will create empty space and time for
ASEAN to perfect the functional cooperation mechanisms coordina-
ted by this Association. The remaining 6 months of the “double year”
is a good opportunity for Vietnam to link the bridge the US-China
mechanisms with ASEAN (or “step-by-step ASEANization”). That is,
instead of asking questions whether joining or not participating in
the Quad+ in the field of Covid-19, within Southeast Asia, the coun-
tries participating in the Quad+ will have to ask the opposite question
whether to participate in Covid-19 cooperation with ASEAN or not?
Fifth, Vietnam and ASEAN should understand the trend of “de-
militarization” and “de-Americanization” of the Quad that are being
carried out by India, Japan and Australia to gradually coordinate with
these trends to promote the “centrifugation” in the Quad out of the
original orbit controlled by the US.
Sixth, Vietnam as a country with a lot of experience in eective
COVID-19 prevention and one of the rare safe destinations of the supply
chain during the post-pandemic recovery period of the world economy
(with impressive economic growth) can share experiences in order to
participate in supply chain initiatives (SCRIs) of the Indo-Japan axis (or
other initiatives that India-Japan or India - Australia is the main axis)
with ASEAN countries, or participate more in the non-military coope-
ration mechanisms of the Quad + to gradually “soften” and “ASEANi-
ze” the Quad in the direction that the US cannot be irreversible.
Seventh, Vietnam should be well aware that despite trying to
delay efforts to “militarize” the Quad, the three countries India, Japan
and Australia still have to support/participate individually in upco-
ming US military activities in the East Sea (although they will keep
these activities from having all four parties), so they should not react
strongly or make disadvantageous diplomatic statements for India,
Japan and Australia in FONOPS or an expanded military exercise of
Quad members in the East Sea (usually the West Philippine Sea) in
the near future.
Eighth, Vietnam needs to pay close attention to the “strategic
triangles” that the US is creating in the region to serve as the founda-
tion for the “Asian NATO” (whether Biden or Trump is elected, the
strategy to build the USs Asian alliance system is still in progress) to
replace the Quad in the future to take appropriate precautions, while
avoiding participation in these triangles in the early stages.
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest regar-
ding the publication of this article.
Bui Hai Dang, Luc Minh Tuan, Tran Xuan Hiep The Flexibility of Vietnam’s Taccs in Relaon with the QUAD at the End of the Term of U.S. President D.Trump
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