Defense relations are an important foreign relations channel, consisting of all activities and peaceful measures to implement the foreign guidance and policy and defense policies in relations with other countries and international organizations, contributing to successfully implementing the mission of national construction and safeguarding, maintaining peace and stability in the region and the world.
Defense relations work is the duty of not only the Ministry of National Defense and the military, but also other sectors when conducting foreign relation activities related to independence, sovereignty and interests of the nation as well as to regional and world security and peace. All defense external affairs are led by the Party, managed by the Government, and most directly conducted by the Central Military Commission and the Ministry of National Defense.
Over the past more than 30 years of “doi moi,” along with the implementation of the Party’s foreign policy, the State’s diplomatic activities, and the people-to-people diplomatic activities, defense relations have been continuously developing in both scope and scale in cooperation with countries, organizations and international institutions, contributing to gradually integrating Vietnam’s defense sector into the world.
In that spirit, thoroughly grasping the principles, viewpoints, and guidelines in implementing the Party’s and State’s foreign policy of pro-active and active international integration, Resolution No.22-NQ/TW of the 11th Politburo on international integration and the 8th Resolution of the 11th Party Central Committee on the national defense strategy in the new period, the military has promoted the work comprehensively and synchronously and strengthened defense international integration, thereby making important achievements. The contents and forms of defense foreign relations and cooperation have been expanded in various fields, with many partners, contributing effectively to the socio-economic development and national security, firmly defending national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, heightening Vietnam’s position in the region and the world while enhancing the potential and strength of the Vietnam People’s Army.
In recent years, with encouraging results in international defense cooperation, the defense relations sector has earned an important position in boosting relations and cooperation with other countries and international organizations, truly reflecting Vietnam’s national defense policy of peace, capturing the attention and support of the international community for the legitimate interests of Vietnam, thereby contributing to the protection of the national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, safeguarding the people, the Party and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Besides, also by promoting defense relations both intensively and extensively, Vietnam has mobilized more resources from the outside to step by step modernize weapons and technical equipment and improve combat capabilities of the military and the country’s defense power. Especially, the defense relations sector has made important contributions to building and strengthening trust with other countries, contributing to maintaining a peaceful and stable environment in the region and the world. These very important achievements affirm the new military development of Vietnam in the foreign relations sphere.
The above achievements have created new bases and capabilities for the defense relations sector in the coming years. It is a very important premise for the military to continue implementing foreign relations work both bilaterally and multilaterally.
Facts have affirmed that defense relations are an important component of the nation’s foreign affairs, holding the following features: Firstly, it comprises both cooperation and struggle to protect national sovereignty, territorial integrity, security and interests. Secondly, it contributes to maintaining peace, creating a favorable environment, taking advantage of international conditions to develop the country. Thirdly, it helps improve the role and position of Vietnam in the international arena. Fourthly, it serves to take advantage of external resources to build the military. Defense relations serve as one of the pillars of Vietnam’s overall diplomatic front. To make the sector the “early protection of the nation from afar by peaceful means,” we need to do our best to implement the following tasks and solutions:
First of all, we should all be aware of the relationship between the real power of the country and foreign relations capacity to build the synergy and create a solid foundation for implementing the plan of early protection of the Fatherland from afar by peaceful means. Foreign relations are an art, relying on not only primarily the craft of communication, but also the real power of the country. In the era of international integration, the strength of a country includes its position and prestige in the international arena, expressed through bilateral and multilateral relations and the country’s contributions to international activities and organizations, for peace, friendship, cooperation and development. In order to create the strength for foreign relations in general and the defense relations sector in particular to implement the plan of early national protection from afar, it is necessary to carry out the tasks and solutions synchronously and effectively to ensure that “The Party is strong and healthy; the country is powerful; the people lead a happy life; the troops are strong; and there are more friends, fewer enemies.”
We are to flexibly, creatively and effectively implement the principles and guidelines of the foreign policy in the new context, thoroughly grasp and apply Ho Chi Minh’s thought of “Flexible in dealing with situations,” with the core immutable goals of national interests, independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. We are to base ourselves on those immutabilities to deal with complicated and unpredictable developments of global situations and international relations.
We should soundly combine cooperation and struggle for national interests in foreign relations. While cooperation serves as the basis, struggle is conducted by peaceful measures. Cooperation is to best promote consensus and create a basis for building trust and implementing “win-win” approaches to mutual benefits, while reducing and resolving disputes and conflicts. Struggle without the use of force is to achieve the set goals while preventing armed conflicts and war.
The defense relations sector must also actively contribute to building a revolutionary, regular, elite and gradually-modernized military. Through cooperation, the sector must build a contingent of military personnel in charge of defense relations with strong political position, absolutely loyal to the revolutionary cause of the Party and the Fatherland while wisely taking in modern military knowledge of the world. In order to achieve this goal, not only should we send defense relations staff to training courses abroad to acquire modern scientific and military knowledge, but also train them on site via defense cooperation activities. Moreover, through defense trade, defense industrial cooperation and other defense cooperation mechanisms, we should take advantage of resources including financial investment, science-technology, advanced management methods, and more, to equip troops with increasingly modern weapons and military equipment, suitable to Vietnamese military art and conditions, helping promote military science and technology, meeting the requirements of building a comprehensively strong people’s defense posture.
In order to fulfill the above-mentioned tasks, we should focus on improving the efficiency of the defense relations sector, continue to develop international defense relations in depth. To enhance the quality of defense relations activities, it is required that the defense relations sector must comprehensively improve its ability to grasp the situation, staff work and task accomplishment, in which the quality of the staff work on strategic issues in defense relations, part of the national defense strategy, and in the construction of the whole people defense posture plays a key role. Upon carrying out the advisory role and implementing the defense relations tasks, there must be close coordination among responsible defense agencies, such as the Foreign Relations Department, the Vietnam Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Institute of International Defense Relations, as well as other agencies and units to avoid overlapping.
All sectors, especially leaders and commanders of agencies and units in the military, should be properly aware of the role of defense relations in increasingly deepening international integration of the country and combining external affairs and defense-military work, while they must view defense relations as an indispensable component of the country’s defense power. We must change the perception that external affairs are only related to reception protocols, which only focus on the form, not the effect on the defense-security situation of the country and the task performance of agencies and units. In grasping the situation, it is necessary to improve the quality of information, especially strategic forecasts on situations of the world and the region which is related to Vietnam’s defense situation, requiring the coordination among sectors and the processing and analysis of information to be strengthened.
Improving the capabilities of agencies in charge of defense relations work and related individuals and units is key to improving the efficiency of the work in the coming time. All agencies and units should participate in the work with the core force being the specialized agencies of the Ministry of National Defense, and closely coordinate with sectors, ministries, central agencies, localities and people to conduct external activities with appropriate and creative forms and measures. As for the border defense friendship exchange mechanism, the border force and military regions should closely coordinate with local authorities, related sectors and local people to ensure safety, practicality, and effectiveness of the activities. In the military, the role of specialized agencies must be promoted while foreign languages and expertise in other related areas should be fostered so that each officer or soldier performing tasks along the borderline, at sea and on islands can join foreign relations activities and serve as representatives of the country and the military.
In-depth development of defense relations is also important to improve the quality of the work. It is necessary to closely combine bilateral cooperation and multilateral cooperation in a united strategy and plan to promote advantages of various types of cooperation, creating appropriate cooperation mechanisms to enhance the position and power of defense relations in particular and of the whole people’s defense posture in general. Bilateral defense relations should be boosted to develop Vietnam’s defense ties with partners intensively, stably and sustainably, contributing to creating consensus in multilateral relations in the region and the world. Multilateral defense relations should also be enhanced to create a higher position and role for Vietnam in shaping and leading some issues of the region, showing the country’s responsibility towards security, peace and stability of the world, helping solve arising problems in bilateral relations. Vietnam is to more actively participate in such mechanisms as ADMM, ADMM+ and other forums of the EU, the UN and the region. Especially, the defense relations sector should proactively build schemes and plans to organize defense-military events in the year that Vietnam takes the ASEAN chair (2020), thereby reaffirming Vietnam’s capacity, voice and position in realizing defense cooperation mechanisms and shaping established regional security structures.
More attention should be paid to promoting and improving the efficiency of border defense relations, strengthening relations with the neighboring countries of China, Laos and Cambodia, with border defense exchanges serving as a highlight. Based on the Vietnam-China land border defense friendship exchange, it is necessary to draw lessons and promote and expand the exchange with Laos, Cambodia and some other ASEAN countries. As for maritime sovereignty disputes, on the basis of political agreements, general and long-term strategic interests, international law, and regional codes of conduct, we should maintain dialogues, cooperation and construction of mechanisms to resolutely protect national sovereignty and interests and prevent armed conflicts.
For more than 30 years of “doi moi,” defense relations have always helped develop and promote the glorious tradition of the Vietnam People’s Army, serving as a really important diplomatic front, contributing to creating a firm foundation for the implementation of the Party’s and State’s foreign policy, maintaining a peaceful and stable environment for the country’s development. The defense relations sector has contributed to firmly protecting independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, national security, helping build a steady whole people’s defense posture in close combination with the whole people’s security posture, and more.
The cause of building and safeguarding the Fatherland in the new period poses highly-demanding tasks, requiring further application and promotion of traditions, innovation of thinking, actions, and determination to successfully implement the Party’s viewpoint and motto on the early protection of the Fatherland from afar by peaceful means as well as the direction of General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong on the issue.
In the new period of national development, the defense relations sector is to further grasp the Party’s and State’s guidelines and policies and closely follow the instructions of the Central Military Commission and the Ministry of National Defense. The sector must also actively and proactively beef up defense cooperation in both scope and scale for practical and effective outcomes, contributing considerably to the cause of national construction and safeguarding.
Written by Defense Minister, General Ngo Xuan Lich
Translated by Huu Duong
- Defense external relations contribute to successful implementation of foreign policy
- Vietnam to join world youth festival in Russia
- Defense foreign relations contribute to protecting the Fatherland: General Vinh
- Nhandan Newspaper - Promoting comprehensive international integration and positively contributing to APEC
- Promoting comprehensive international integration and positively contributing to APEC
- Promoting comprehensive international integration and positively contributing to APEC Most Recent News
- Young officers of Vietnam, China boost exchange
- Vietnam’s Defense Minister visits LNDA
- Vietnam-Cuban relations further bolstered