|By Pham Binh Minh - Member of the Politburo Deputy Prime Minister,Minister of Foreign Affairs |
Diplomacy has also supported the nation’s revolution through massive difficulties, leaving great imprints on each of the country’s development periods, from contributing to seizing and firmly maintaining national independence in the revolutionary government’s beginning days to fighting against invaders and bringing the whole nation to reunification and to the current time’s national construction and protection.
Right after the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1945 and under the clear-sighted leadership of Uncle Ho and Party leaders, diplomacy played a leading role in firmly keeping national independence and successfully protecting the nascent revolutionary government. The diplomatic corps also took the lead in convincing nations to recognise the sovereignty and independence of Vietnam.
During the fight against the French colonists and the US imperialists, the Vietnamese revolutionary diplomacy became an important strategic front and an important part in the country’s revolutionary strategy, standing shoulder to shoulder with the military to bring the country to triumph.
The victories of Vietnamese diplomacy in Geneva in 1954 and in Paris in 1973 were all major milestones in the country’s journey to regaining independence and in the nation’s reunification.
After the war ended, diplomacy was a key channel in supporting the nation to dispel political blockage and economic embargo, and in normalising relations with neighbours and major countries.
In the time of doi moi and deepened international integration, the key task for foreign affairs is to continue creating a more favourable international climate for national socioeconomic development, boosting national industrialisation and modernization, as well as national construction and protection while actively contributing to the shared fight of the world’s people for peace, national independence, democracy, and social progress.
The diplomatic corps have also helped expand and deepen Vietnam’s relations with diverse nations and territories, with the expansion of markets and new fields of cooperation, and the attraction of resources to serve socioeconomic development. At the same time, it has also contributed to maintaining a peaceful and stable environment, firmly protecting our national and territorial integrity, and gradually building up the country’s international position and prestige.
At present, Vietnam has diplomatic ties with 189 out of 193 members of the United Nations, and has established long-term, stable relations with 30 strategic and comprehensive partners, creating a firm foundation for the country and other nations to advance mutual benefits, and for peace, cooperation, and development in the region and the wider world.
The diplomatic apparatus has made great efforts in implementing the country’s strategy of active international integration. It has provided consultancy for the Party and the government on sturdy and strategic measures which allowed the country to become an important link in many regional and global economic groupings, with the inking of many free trade agreements (FTAs), including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam FTA. This has generated major momentum for national development. Furthermore, diplomatic corps have also actively cooperated with relevant ministries and sectors to boost international integration in terms of security-defence, society, culture, and science and technology.
Multilateral diplomacy has grown strongly with many important achievements, affirming Vietnam as a responsible member of the international community. Not only playing a key role in successfully organising many big international events, especially acting as host of the Francophone Summit (1997), ASEAN summits (1998, 2010, and 2020), ASEM (2005), or APEC (2006 and 2017), Vietnam has also advanced many ideas and intiatives to contribute to solving shared issues of the region and the wider world. Especially, it played a crucial role in organising the second summit between the US and North Korea – which it hosted in Hanoi – boosting dialogues, reconciliation, and peace in the Korean Peninsula, and this has earned high appreciation from the international community. Vietnam has joined and made positive contributions to almost all important organisations, especially ASEAN, ASEM, APEC, and the UN, G7, and G20.
Regarding security and defence, the country’s diplomatic efforts have contributed to firmly protecting national sovereignty and territorial integrity. It, together with relevant ministries and sectors, has made great efforts in negotiating and constructing road border lines with Laos, Cambodia, and China. It has also worked closely with the defence and public security agencies in protecting the country’s sovereignty in the East Sea.
Furthermore, the diplomatic corps have also helped cement the nation’s ties with people, localities, and enterprises. Many economic diplomatic activities have been organised, expanding markets and partner networks for businesses. Cultural diplomacy has also promoted Vietnam as a culturally rich nation with successful renovation. Currently, 39 heritages of Vietnam have been recognised by the UNESCO as the world cultural heritages.
At the same time, it has also actively deployed activities to protect Vietnamese citizens and overseas Vietnamese.
To reach all these achievements, in addition to being steadfast to the principles of independence, self-reliance, and placing the nation’s benefits above all, the diplomatic sector has always thrown its full weight behind other external activities like those of the Party, the National Assembly, people, and defence-security, and of each ministry, agency, and locality in order to effectively implement the country’s diplomatic and international integration activities, for the shared goals of maximising national benefits about security and development, and further enhancing the country’s prestige in the international arena.
The world is about to embark upon the third decade of the 21st century with intensive, rapid, and unpredictable developments. Peace, cooperation, and development remain a shared aspiration of all peoples in the world. However, the world is now facing numerous challenges, especially the global economic downturn, strategic competition among powerful nations, as well as traditional and non-traditional challenges such as pandemic, environmental pollution, climate change, and the security of our water resources.
Under the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, changes in the international landscape have become more pronounced, having direct and multi-faceted impacts on Vietnam’s security and development climate. This has generated both opportunities and challenges.
In this new situation, diplomacy will need to continue enhancing its proactive role in building a more peaceful environment that better facilitates national development and our stature in the world. Accordingly, we would need to develop a diplomatic apparatus that is larger, more modern, and of higher quality, with more efficient operations, based on the inheritance of the Vietnamese diplomatic tradition and the ideology of Ho Chi Minh diplomacy. At the same time, the diplomatic sector must also take the initiative to nourish and strengthen the spirit of innovation, with dynamic adaptation to the swift changes in the existing situation, in order to be able to fulfill its role in the time to come.
With the new position and strength of the country, our diplomacy will continue enhancing the glorious tradition and significant achievements of the past 75 years. It will also continue accompanying the country’s development, with great devotion to the nation and people. Under the leadership of the Party, Vietnamese diplomacy will continue marching forward and creating new milestones in the country’s history, greatly contributing to the nation’s construction and protection.