(VOV) – Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has affirmed Vietnam’s diplomatic sector has worked very hard during the past 68 years to contribute greatly to national development and international integration.
Minh made the remarks in an article published on August 27 marking the sector’s founding anniversary.
Sixty years ago on August 28 President Ho Chi Minh decided to establish the provisional government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, giving birth to the diplomatic sector.
It has since made great contributions to the struggles for national independence and unification and the subsequent socialist construction.
Minh highlighted some of Vietnam’s proudest diplomatic achievements, including the 1954 Geneva Agreement, and 1973 Paris Peace Accord that ended the war and restored peace in the country.
From the start of the Doi Moi (Renewal) process in 1986, the diplomatic sector has played an important role ending foreign embargoes, expanding international relations, cultivating peace and stability, and capitalising on external resources to fuel national development.
Minh noted the sector has a duty to continue elevating Vietnam’s international status as it moves into a new era of opportunities and challenges.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs defined 2013 as the year of proactive integration, following the foreign policy orientation adopted at the recent 11th National Party Congress. Its Government Plan of Action draft is the first step towards implementing the Party Political Bureau’s resolution.
The Minister affirmed Vietnam’s international integration has been boosted in both policy and reality. At the May 2013 Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung revealed Vietnam’s intention to join UN peacekeeping deployments from 2014.
Vietnam is currently negotiating six key free trade agreements (FTAs), including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and FTAs with the Republic of Korea, the European Union, European Free Trade Association (EFTA), and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
The country is expanding relations with important partners. Since the beginning of this year, senior Vietnamese leaders have paid official visits to regional allies like Laos and Cambodia, and other Southeast Asian nations, as well as China, Russia, Britain, the European Union, Italy, Germany, Poland, Venezuela, the Republic of Korea, India, and the US.
It now boats 13 formal strategic partnerships after establishing an additional three with Italy, Thailand, and Indonesia.
Notably Vietnam and the US have established the comprehensive partnership, laying a firm foundation for new development in bilateral relations, contributing to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world.
Vietnam continues to uphold its responsibilities as a member of the international community. It is proactively working towards the construction of a strong, united ASEAN community by 2015 while never losing its long term vision of major regional development orientations beyond that deadline in order to promote the grouping’s internal cooperation and its central role in an evolving regional structure.
Vietnam is also an active contributor to multilateral forums such as the United Nations, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).
It is preparing to chair the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Council of Governors and will run for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council for 2014-2016. It is eyeing a UN Security Council position in 2020-2021. Vietnam is also bidding to host the 2017 APEC Summit.
The diplomatic sector has responded to the complexity of global power balances by closely coordinating with agencies and ministries at central and local levels to safeguard national sovereignty, territorial integrity and security.
Vietnam has upgraded and expanded its border marker system with Laos, made progress in demarcating the border shared with Cambodia, and worked closely with China to implement three land border management agreements.
The country has been vocal in diplomatic struggles defending national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction at sea, always in accordance with the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). It has mobilised regional and international support to maintain peace, stability, freedom, and marine safety, emphasising the necessity of settling disputes peacefully and obeying the dictates of international law like UNCLOS and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC).
Vietnam is working with China to open up Code of Conduct (COC) negotiations in the East Sea as soon as possible, fostering trust and shoring up the ASEAN-China strategic partnership.
It remains determined to smash subversive schemes hostile forces orchestrate to foment instability and intervention through democratic, human rights, and religious issues.
It holds constructive human rights and religious freedom discussions with a number of countries and non-governmental organisations to deepen mutual understanding and cooperation.
Minister Minh noted the diplomatic sector has made recommendations concerning macroeconomic performance to the government, ministries and agencies, helping ease difficulties, support economic restructuring and renew the growth model.
He pointed out some of Vietnam’s major economic diplomacy achievements recorded in spite of international financial uncertainty. In the first eight months of 2013 alone, foreign direct investment (FDI) reached US$12.63 billion, and export earnings fetched US$85.4 billion.
The diplomatic sector will continue scrutinising regional and global developments to identify opportunities for Vietnam to seize and challenges it needs to prepare for, devising future foreign policy orientations ahead of the 12th National Party Congress. The diplomatic sector’s 28th conference will discuss these issues later this year.