China's Belt and Road may be China's "Project of the Century," but for Vietnam it encapsulates an age-old predicament, namely, how best to respond to the mix of opportunity and challenge represented by its very large neighbor next door. This article finds in Vietnam's response a mix of caution and engagement reflective of Vietnam's distinctive positionality on the asymmetry-authority framework outlined in the introductory essay. It gives special attention to how ongoing maritime disputes intensify the challenge on both asymmetry and especially, domestic authority dimensions, but also how Vietnam's response to BRI illustrates elites' dynamic adjustments between four key sources of domestic legitimacy—welfare, anticorruption, nationalism, and autonomy. While the domestic nationalist challenge posed by China largely explains Vietnam's caution and ambivalence about BRI, these tensions also make BRI's diplomatic and political functions and thus, Vietnam's engagement more important beyond the economic opportunities it may offer.


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pp. 683-708
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