In this article, we elaborate on how Chinese Belt and Road Initiative projects (formerly known as One Belt One Road) are received in Vietnam. Sino-Vietnamese relations are usually shadowed by the maritime dispute over South China/East Vietnam Sea. Thus, some of the Vietnamese researchers are skeptical and cautious about BRI expansion. Although it predominantly appears to be an economic model, BRI routes pass through disputed waters which makes us think that it also has a geostrategical dimension. However, Vietnam as a country of infrastructure gap, in which energy demand grows faster than the economy, needs BRI infrastructure investments to cut the transportation and energy costs, and accordingly become more competitive. In that sense, BRI projects are definitely needed. As a response to BRI, a group of opposing countries, U.S., Australia, Japan and India developed the idea of Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) excluding China. Vietnam, rather than becoming a battleground of an international conflict as is the case in the 20th century, applies a balancing and hedging strategy. BRI also activates IPS which may offer attractive proposals to lure Vietnam away from China. On the other hand, Sino-Vietnamese economic relations are very deep and close. Thus, Vietnam is not willing to risk losing one for another. In this article, Vietnamese positions over BRI projects and the likely future of Vietnam through BRI are presented and discussed.
Belt and Road Initiative, One Belt One Road, Vietnam, BRI-skepticism, Sino-Vietnamese relations