Vietnam’s foreign affairs achievements in 2013

apan and ASEAN leaders at the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit, marking the 40th anniversary of ASEAN-Japan dialogue relations (VNA)

apan and ASEAN leaders at the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit, marking the 40th anniversary of ASEAN-Japan dialogue relations (VNA)

Nhan Dan – In 2013, the regional and global situations continued to undergo complicated developments with profound impacts on the environment of peace, security and stability in our country, creating both opportunities and challenges.
In this context, the foreign affairs of the Party and State have been carried out in a positive and proactive manner, achieving important outcomes and contributing to the protection of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Maintained has been the environment of peace and stability, lifting Vietnam’s position in the international arena to a new height. Vietnam has enlisted significant resources from other countries around the world to serve its national construction and development cause.
1. 2013 witnessed a number of visits by made by senior leaders of the Party, State, Government and National Assembly to neighbouring countries, major countries and the nation’s most important and traditional partners.

The special relationship with Laos and comprehensive co-operation with Cambodia continued to be strengthened and promoted. Relations with China were maintained in a stable manner with many exchanges between high-ranking leaders and the peoples of the two countries. Bilateral relations between Vietnam and other ASEAN member countries were strengthened. Vietnam-Russia co-operative ties saw positive developments in many fields – politics, diplomacy, economics, trade, education and training, oil and gas, security and defense. With important results achieved during a visit to India by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong in November, the Vietnam-India strategic partnership was improved on four economic pillars: economics-trade, security-defense, science-technology, and education-training and culture.

Enhancement of the strategic partnership between Vietnam and Japan continued through a number of activities during the Vietnam-Japan 2013 Friendship Year. The strategic partnership with the Republic of Korea saw great progress after the official visit to Vietnam in September by RoK President Park Geun-hye. During the official visit to the US by President Truong Tan Sang in July, Vietnam and the US established a comprehensive partnership, which created a new framework for co-operation between the two countries in many fields. Vietnam-EU relations have developed in quality, marked by official visits by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to Belgium and the EU, Italy, and the UK (January 16-24); NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung’s visit to Germany (March 2013); and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to France (September 2013). Vietnam’s relationships with traditional friends in Asia, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America have been promoted through practical exchanges among high-ranking delegations. It can be seen that 2013 witnessed strong developments in co-operative ties between Vietnam and other countries. So far, Vietnam has established 13 strategic partnerships and 11 comprehensive partnerships, including partnerships with all five permanent member States of the UN Security Council. Thus, it can be said that Vietnam has basically institutionalised relations with all its key partners, creating a framework of relations with major and important neighbouring countries in a deep, stable and sustainable manner.

2. 2013 also saw a wide range of activities in multilateral diplomacy at regional and international forums. President Truong Tan Sang attended the 21st APEC Summit and the high-level Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) meeting in Bali, Indonesia (October 6-8, 2013); PM Nguyen Tan Dung attended and delivered a keynote address at the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore (May 2013), the 2013 World Economic Forum on East Asia in Myanmar (June 2013), the 68th session of the UN General Assembly (September 2013), the 23rd ASEAN Summit, the East Asia Summit (October 9-10, 2013), and the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit.

The highlight of multilateral diplomacy in 2013 is the widespread international support Vietnam has earned from important organisations and multilateral forums. For the first time, Vietnam was elected to the UN Human Rights Council with the highest number of votes among candidate states, elected as the chairman of the Board of Governors of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for the 2013-14 term, and elected to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for the 2014-2017 tenure. Vietnam will host the 132nd Assembly of the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) in March 2015. For the second time, Vietnam was entrusted to host the APEC Summit in 2017. Currently, Vietnam is actively preparing to participate in the UN peacekeeping force, and is nominated to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2020-2021 term and the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for the 2016-2018 tenure. The above results in multilateral diplomacy affirmed Vietnam’s active and proactive role as a responsible member of the international community.

3. With a deep awareness of the importance of international integration for national construction and defense, the Politburo adopted Resolution 22 on comprehensive and extensive international integration. In the light of Resolution 22, economic diplomacy and international integration saw robust development, contributing to the promotion and deepening of economic co-operation between Vietnam and other important partners, attracting resources for socio-economic development, and helping ministries, sectors, localities and enterprises promote economic foreign relations, as well as removing difficulties in production and business.

In the spirit of ‘proactive and positive international integration’, Vietnam has actively participated in negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP); negotiations on free trade agreements (FTAs) with the EU, the Republic of Korea, and the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union. Vietnam also successfully organised the ASEM high-level Meeting on Disaster Prevention and Relief and the economic co-operation forum between Vietnam and the Middle East-North Africa (November, 2013). The mobilisation work of other countries to recognise the market economy in Vietnam has also achieved encouraging results; to date, 43 countries have recognised the market economy in Vietnam. In the framework of the Mekong Sub-regional co-operation, Vietnam contributed positively to promoting co-operation in the fields of infrastructure development, human resources, climate change response, and sustainable development.

The promotion of trade, investment and tourism was also enhanced to support sectors, localities and enterprises in seeking partners and expanding markets.

4. The border work and protection of sovereignty and territorial integrity received special care and direction. The situation on borders with China, Laos and Cambodia is essentially stable. Vietnam and Laos officially completed the increase and upgrade of border markers along their 2,067km border, positioning 834 border markers in 792 locations in July 2013. The two countries also signed an agreement on dealing with free migration and unregistered marriage in Vietnam-Laos border areas, (July 2013). Vietnam and China held a conference to review the three-year implementation of three important documents on border policies, and promoted the progress of negotiations towards the signing of an agreement on the utilisation and protection of tourism resources at Ban Gioc Waterfall.

Regarding East Sea issues, Vietnam established a principle of perseverance and resolute struggle against violations on the sovereignty and legitimate rights of Vietnam at sea, enlisted the frequent concern and support of the regional and international communities, and ensured its economic activities in the exclusive economic zone and a continental shelf of 200 nautical miles. At the same time, Vietnam consistently settled disputes appropriately through peaceful talks on the basis of international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and it worked towards the formation of a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

5. The fight for democracy, human rights and religious freedom was implemented in a synchronous, appropriate and constructive manner, thereby making further contributions to national security while lessening the negative impact of issues related to democracy and human rights in the promotion of relations with other countries.

The work related to cultural diplomacy, overseas Vietnamese communities, consular services, protection of citizens, information and external affairs was deployed strongly and achieved significant results, improving the image of Vietnam around the world, contributing to strengthening the national unity bloc and protecting the legitimate rights of Vietnamese compatriots.

6. The foreign affairs of the Party is being developed in an active, positive, and effective manner in the direction of attaching importance to developing relations with the ruling parties of key partner countries; strengthening ties with Communist Parties and working parties abroad; and actively participating in multilateral political forums to create a firm foundation for State relations.

7. External activities of the National Assembly were widely deployed and achieved many important results. In particular, Vietnam was selected to host the 132nd Assembly of the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) in March 2015. The NA also successfully held the 5th AIPA Consultative Group Meeting. The external activities of the NA have made an important contribution to strengthening friendly relations and co-operation between the NA and the people of Vietnam with congresses and peoples around the world, as well as enhancing the role and position of Vietnam’s National Assembly.

Over the past year, work in the foreign affairs sector has completed many important tasks set by the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam, contributing to a more stable stance for the country. The positive outcomes were made because Vietnam consistently pursues a foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralism and diversification of relations, proactive and positive international integration for the benefit of the nation and its people. These achievements are the results of the combined strength of the entire Party, people and army, as well as the entire political system’s deep involvement in the implementation of comprehensive external tasks. Vietnam has smoothly conducted political diplomacy with the economic, cultural, security-defense, diplomatic and combined external activities of the Party with the State, as well as the people-to-people diplomacy, the harmonised activities from the central to local levels, and the connection of bilateral diplomacy with multilateral diplomacy.

PHAM BINH MINH, Member of the Party Central Committee, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

(Source: (Translated by Nhan Dan Online))