Innovative mindset leads diplomatic goals

February 09, 2024 | 11:00
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Vietnam reaped significant achievements with the large contributions of diplomatic activities in 2023. Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son spoke with VIR’s Nguyen Dat about how the diplomatic sector has and will perform to help the economy stride ahead confidently.
Innovative mindset leads diplomatic goals
Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son

What were the most outstanding diplomatic achievements in 2023?

Last year was an exciting one in foreign affairs, with many outstanding imprints. First of all, foreign relations at bilateral and multilateral levels continued to be expanded and deepened, in which relations with many important partners were raised to new heights with new developments in quality, notably relations with neighbouring countries, China, the US, Japan, and many other partners.

Foreign affairs activities, especially those at a high level, took place vibrantly across continents and at many important multilateral forums and mechanisms such as ASEAN, the United Nations, the Mekong Subregion, APEC, the COP28 summit, and through the Belt and Road Initiative.

In 2023, we successfully organised 22 visits overseas by our key leaders and 28 high-level visits by leaders of countries to Vietnam (see Page 9). This affirmed the new stature and position of Vietnam in the world. We continued to play a role in important international organisations such as the UN Human Rights Council and UNESCO, while also making active and responsible contributions to common world issues such as combating climate change, peacekeeping in Africa, and sending rescue forces to Turkey, among many other activities.

In addition, the research, consultation, and forecasting work on foreign affairs achieved many important results. Faced with the very complicated developments of the international situation, the diplomatic sector, along with other sectors, provided consultancy for the Politburo, the Party Secretariat, and the government through many important foreign affairs schemes, especially the initiative on developing relations with a number of important partners, cooperation in ASEAN, the Mekong Subregion, and policies on responding to other countries’ initiatives.

Economic diplomacy has also continued to be promoted on the basis of thoroughly grasping the spirit of Directive 15 of the Secretariat, taking localities, businesses, and individuals as the centre. Economic diplomatic activities have made an important contribution to promoting economic growth, with import and export turnover in 2023 reaching $683 billion, in which more than 30 export items had an export turnover of over $1 billion.

When it comes to foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction, in the January-December 20 period of 2023, Vietnam wooed a total of $36.6 billion in newly-registered capital, newly-added capital, and capital contribution and stake acquisition, which was up 32.1 per cent as compared to 2022. Moreover, we have also accessed many new quality capital sources in a difficult world economic context. Moreover, we have also accessed many new quality capital sources in a difficult global economic context.

What were the economic diplomacy’s main contributions to national socioeconomic development in 2023?

Economic diplomacy has been widely deployed in all foreign affairs activities, especially high-level diplomacy, closely linked with political diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, and other fields of diplomacy. In which, economic cooperation is always the central content of relationships, especially ties with important partners.

Our upgrading of relations with other countries in the past year has created a breakthrough in economic cooperation, opening up many opportunities for Vietnamese localities and businesses.

International economic integration and participation in international economic links have been more proactive, positive, and effective. Besides effectively implementing already-signed free trade agreements, in 2023, we signed a trade deal with Israel and are now actively negotiating more with other partners. Also in 2023, over 70 cooperation documents of ministries and sectors, and nearly 100 cooperation deals of localities and hundreds of agreements of businesses were inked. As a result, economic diplomacy activities have contributed to promoting economic growth, and increasing exports and attracting foreign investment.

What will be the pivotal tasks and directions of the diplomatic sector in 2024, and how will they be implemented?

The year 2024 is important in successfully carrying out the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress. In the coming years, the international situation is forecasted to continue being unstable and uncertain, with new and more complicated factors likely to appear. Domestically, the socioeconomic situation continues to recover and develop, but there are still many challenges.

However, the country’s potential, position, international reputation, and the foreign affairs achievements achieved in 2023 are a solid foundation for Vietnam’s foreign affairs and diplomacy to overcome issues, contributing to the successful implementation of the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress.

In 2024, the diplomatic sector will continue to boost the innovation of mindset on foreign affairs. With the fact that the new position and strength our country has never been as it is today, we need to boldly go beyond old-fashioned thinking and find new ways to innovate for the benefit of the nation. To do so, it is necessary to promote activities on research, consultation, and strategic forecasting on foreign affairs.

We need to sensibly detect new issues, accurately identify opportunities, correctly position the country’s strategic position, and take advantage of international trends to proactively have appropriate foreign policies and steps.

Next, it is necessary to promote the diplomatic sector’s pioneering role, and at the same time coordinate closely with the foreign affairs of the Party and the people. Foreign affairs and diplomacy at all sectors and levels must be synchronously deployed to firmly consolidate the environment of peace and stability, and protect the country in an early manner and from afar.

We also need to effectively mobilise new external resources for socioeconomic development and enhancement of the national position and prestige. The focus is on effectively promoting the relationship frameworks that were just upgraded in the past year, implementing the cooperation agreements that have been reached, and continuing to deepen and elevate relationships with other partner nations in order to expand markets, attract high-quality investment, transfer new technology, and create new development space for the country, localities, businesses and people.

This is also aimed to further promote Vietnam’s new role and position in strategically important multilateral forums and mechanisms.

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong has recapitulated very clearly Vietnam’s bamboo diplomacy. What are the connotations of Vietnam’s so-called “bamboo diplomacy”?

Addressing the 29th Diplomatic Conference in 2016 in Hanoi, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong for the first time mentioned this concept, and at the National Conference on Foreign Affairs in 2021 he highlighted the basic connotations of foreign affairs and diplomacy imbued with the identity of “Vietnamese bamboo”.

This is a generalisation of the core content of the foreign policy of our Party and state as well as the unique identity of Vietnam’s revolutionary diplomacy which has been built and developed on the basis of inheriting and creatively applying Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, style, and diplomatic art, as well as the nation’s cultural and diplomatic identity which has endured through thousands of years of national construction and protection.

In a vivid and easy-to-understand manner, the image of “Vietnamese bamboo” has mirrored the core and consistent contents of our Party’s foreign policy as well as the unique identity of Vietnam’s revolutionary diplomacy.

The bamboo’s solid foundation means a principle for the national benefit and also an incarnation of the country’s independent and self-reliant foreign policy, taking real strength as the base, and taking multilateralism, diversification of foreign relations and comprehensive international integration both in quality and quantity to create a bigger position and a new era for the nation.

The bamboo’s solid trunk manifests the way to create strength, in which the strength of great national unity is a fundamental and vital factor. It is a combination of the national strength with that of the times. It is also to uphold the banner of righteousness, humanity, fidelity, and respect for the law.

The bamboo’s flexible branches incarnate the style and art of flexible behaviours on the principle of “Firm in objectives, and flexible in strategies and tactics”, “Understanding yourself and also understanding others”, “Understanding the time and understanding the situation”, “Knowing to advance, and knowing to retreat”, and “Knowing to stop, and knowing to change”.

The direction of Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong is the guideline for the Vietnamese diplomacy to carry out its tasks during the term of the 13th National Party Congress. It has been thoroughly understood throughout the entire diplomatic sector which vehemently determines to build Vietnam’s foreign affairs and diplomacy in a comprehensive, modern, and strong manner, with a strong identity of “Vietnamese bamboo”.

Looking forward on back of achievements Looking forward on back of achievements

Last year was the first in which the whole nation organised many activities to implement the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress, ushering in a new period in national renovation. Meanwhile, the world has been undergoing rapid and complicated upheavals.

A diplomatic legacy to be proud of A diplomatic legacy to be proud of

Since its establishment in 1945, the Vietnamese diplomatic sector has been serving as a great contributor to national development. Bui Thanh Son, Minister of Foreign Affairs, elaborates on such contributions and how the sector will develop in the future.

By Nguyen Dat

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