WEF ASEAN: Deputy PM attends Asia’s geopolitical outlook panel session

Thursday, 2018-09-13 17:50:40
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Deputy PM and FM Pham Binh Minh (centre) speaking at the panel session (Photo: VNA)
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NDO/VNA – Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Pham Binh Minh, was among the speakers at a panel session on “Asia’s Geopolitical Outlook” at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN (WEF ASEAN) 2018, in Hanoi, on September 13.

FM Minh said he was concerned about three things when it came to the shifting regional geopolitical landscape – the disruption of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), the rise of protectionism and security threats.

“It is undeniable that Industry 4.0 will offer tremendous opportunities, but if countries cannot seize these opportunities, they could be left behind and the development gap could widen,” he said. “It would lead to the transformation of the geo-economic and geo-political landscapes.”

The rise of nationalism and protectionism also worries him alongside the power politics and strategic competition that can lead nations, whether big or small, to make choices to adapt to the situation.

And his last concern is the traditional and non-traditional security issues that continue to be a threat, including maritime disputes, climate change, and cyber security, etc.

The Deputy PM also mentioned regional initiatives such as the Belt and Road Initiative or the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, saying that Vietnam welcomes the initiatives as long as they contribute to the maintenance of peace, stability and prosperity in the region.

“The initiatives must be open, transparent and inclusive, and respect international law and the self-determination of the nation,” he added.

He later talked about the challenges of Industry 4.0 which he believes can affect the production methods.

For a country’s economy that relies heavily on labour intensity, Industry 4.0 will affect its model of production and the labour force, he said. Artificial intelligence, automatic advances, and robots would take the jobs of the labour force so education must be the main focus of any country to provide better skills to the young workers in order to enable them to adapt to the new context, he noted.

Joining FM Minh in the session were Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea Kang Kyung-Wha, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan Taro Kono, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe and Associate Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) from Singapore, Lynn Kuok.

The meeting discussed how Asia can secure peace and stability amid a rapidly changing geo-economic context, shifting allegiances, and new security strategies from regional and global powers.

The speakers showed they are quite optimistic about Asia’s geopolitical outlook as the situation has seen progress recently, with the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) resuming peace talks, the US-DPRK summit and the new breakthroughs in the denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula. They also spoke highly of ASEAN’s centrality in the regional security architecture.