The speech with a message of peace, promoting trust, cooperation and development attracted much attention.
The People's Army Newspaper would like to introduce the following opinions to clarify the message.
" Self-strengthening, self-help " – basic principle to uphold national independence
Talking with the reporter of the People’s Army Newspaper, Assoc. Prof., Dr., Major General Vu Cuong Quyet, Director of the Institute for Defense Strategy under the Ministry of National Defense, affirmed that the defense minister's speech showed the strategic vision towards regional and international security issues, associated with reality and defense and security challenges facing Vietnam.
The speech confirmed that the trend of peace, cooperation and development is always a common desire of mankind. However, traditional security issues still remain complicated, particularly strategic competition, disagreements, conflicts of interest, and disputes over territorial sovereignty between countries. Therefore, enhancing defense capacity to safeguard the Fatherland and keep peace is really an objective and indispensable requirement of every single country and Vietnam is no exception. In that general context, each country has chosen their own response strategy and Vietnam persistently chooses a peaceful solution which is clearly reflected in the all-people's defense posture whose nature is peace and self-defense and Vietnam strengthens its defense potential to protect the Fatherland.
Sharing the same view, Hoang Thi Ha, an expert from the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore said that at the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue, all countries underlined the need to enhance defense and military capabilities to protect sovereignty, territorial integrity and national interests.
According to Ms. Ha, this is a legitimate self-defense need and it is also an important message from Vietnamese Defense Minister General Phan Van Giang at the dialogue. The principle of self-strengthening and self-help is fundamental in upholding national independence, she said.
According to assessments by several domestic and international scholars and military experts, the message on defense and security of Vietnam at the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue demonstrated the enhancement of the role and position of Vietnam in the international arena when the peaceful and self-defense nature of the all-people's defense posture is clearly confirmed.
Expert Hoang Thi Ha said that in the context that the strategic competition has increased and countries gather around major powers in the direction of polarization and power maximization has been continuously promoted, small and medium countries, especially those in Southeast Asia, have been facing many difficult problems, including the challenge of how to maintain independence and self-reliance in relations with other countries. In addition, with limited resources, how could they both improve defense capacity and prioritize solving socio-economic issues and non-traditional security threats such as natural disasters, terrorism and diseases? With the return of the “balance of power” and “military deterrence” approaches of major powers, how can ASEAN continue to maintain its role in promoting cooperative security? Major powers have been increasing their attention to and continued strategic investment in Southeast Asia. This contributes to enhancing the geopolitical role of Southeast Asia and brings both challenges and opportunities for regional countries.
Vietnam open to publicity and transparence in enhancing defense potential
According to the expert from the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, several defense ministers participating in the dialogue emphasized the importance of improving deterrence and response capabilities, which means increasing defense budgets, that Japan, the Republic of Korea and many European countries are doing.
Ms. Ha said that this is a paradox of international relations in the current era. In order to ensure peace, it is necessary to increase military strength. This paradox will have complicated consequences on two aspects. Firstly, an arms race, especially among major powers, will be intensified. Secondly, there will exist a higher level of security dilemmas in which one or a group of countries maximizing their own security potential causes fear, suspicion and arms race from other countries.
In his speech at the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue, Defense Minister Phan Van Giang emphasized that strengthening defense capacity must ensure transparency, avoid suspicion and misunderstanding and reducing strategic trust among countries. Scholars evaluated that the message sent by the Vietnamese defense minister is meaningful for a forum to promote cooperation, peace, and development like Shangri-La since it has contributed to resolving countries' concerns about strengthening defense potential and military strength in general. Assoc. Prof., Dr. Major General Vu Cuong Quyet said that in that context, strengthening defense potential is an inevitable trend and promoting win-win cooperation is extremely necessary to ensure that this trend does not shift to a fierce arms race because cooperation always goes together with competition. To maintain peace and prosperous development for mankind, countries should heighten their sense of responsibility, and strengthen defense potential in an open and transparent manner.
According to Senior Colonel Vu Thanh Van, Director of the Department of Foreign Relations under the Ministry of National Defense, one of the important highlights in the defense minister's message at the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue was the affirmation that Vietnam is willing to be open and transparent in strengthening defense capacity and modernizing the military to avoid suspicion, misunderstanding and strategic distrust among countries which could lead to an arms race and unpredictable consequences. Vietnam's modernization of weaponry and equipment is to defend the Fatherland, not intend to threaten to use force or use force to fight against other countries. It is in line with the country's "Four Nots" defense policy including not joining any military alliances, not affiliating with one country to fight another, not allowing foreign countries to set up military bases or use Vietnamese territory to fight other countries; and not using force or threatening to use force in international relations.
In this regard, Assoc. Prof., Dr. Major General Vu Cuong Quyet emphasized that the nature of Vietnam's all people's defense posture shows transparency. In particular, strengthening defense potential means strengthening not only military strength but also the synergy of the whole country, including political, spirit, economy, science and technology, and military strength. Modernizing the military is not only modernizing materiel, but also building a politically- and spiritually-strong military with modernization in organization, personnel, and military strategy.
According to Senior Colonel Vu Thanh Van, Vietnam’s national defense is an all-people's and comprehensive defense posture and strengthening defense capacity is to enhance potential in all aspects, not simply modernizing weaponry and equipment.
Protect oneself and contribute to protecting world peace
At the 19th Shangri-La Dialogue, the Vietnamese defense minister once again emphasized the message that Vietnam understands the value of peace, wishes to maintain and be determined in keeping peace, and defending independence, freedom, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and interests of the nation after having experienced many wars of self-defense, suffered from a lot of pains and losses. Vietnam aspires that the world, the region, all countries and peoples can enjoy peace, freedom, prosperity and happiness.
Assoc. Prof., Dr. Major General Vu Cuong Quyet said that Vietnam’s peace, stability and development are inseparable from peace in the region and the world, as President Ho Chi Minh once taught that "keeping the world peace means preserving our country’s interests.” Vietnam has strengthened its defense potential in a bid to improve the efficiency of the cooperation in response to common security challenges, and engagement in U.N. peacekeeping operations. Therefore, Vietnam's enhancement of its defense potential is to both protect and preserve its peace, and contribute to protecting peace in the region and the world.
Senior Colonel Vu Thanh Van said that Vietnam’s speeches delivered at Shangri-La dialogues always convey a meaningful message that Vietnam always wishes that the regional and world security to be maintained stable and stays ready to contribute to the common peace; and countries settle disputes and disagreements by peaceful means and on the basis of respecting international laws and regional commitments, such as the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea, internationally South China Sea, and respecting independence, sovereignty, territory and interests of nations.
Translated by Mai Huong
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