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|Vietnam’s 2020-2021 membership of the UNSC has helped enhance the country’s prestige, making it favourable to expand trade and woo investment|
Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son felt proud at Vietnam leaving a strong image and unique national character in the minds of international friends and of member states of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) during its 2020-2021 role as a non-permanent member of the organisation.
This image and character were crafted through various actions during the term (see box).
“This means a strong rise in Vietnam’s international prestige, which has indirectly helped the country expand trade and attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) from many nations and territories,” Son told VIR at a press conference last week. “Vietnam’s contributions to solving international issues have strengthened trust of the international community and investors. The fact that a big increase in trade and registered FDI last year has partly come from a good job done by Vietnam at the UNSC.”
The Ministry of Planning and Investment reported that during January-December 20, 2021, the total of new, adjusted capital, and share purchases by foreign investors stood at $31.15 billion, up 9.2 per cent annually. Specifically, nearly 1,740 projects received investment licenses with total registered capital of over $15.2 billion, down 31.1 per cent in volume but up 4.1 per cent in value on-year. In addition, 985 operational projects registered additional capital of more than $9 billion, down 13.6 per cent in volume but up 40.5 per cent in value on-year. Nearly $6.9 billion was recorded in share purchases, marking an annual decrease of 38.2 per cent.
Among 106 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, Singapore ranked first with over $10.7 billion, tantamount to 34.4 per cent of the total, ahead of South Korea with around $5 billion and Japan at nearly $3.9 billion.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said that during his meetings with foreign investors and groups, they told him that one of the key reasons behind their decisions to cultivate and expand investment in Vietnam is that, besides the country’s increased improvements in the investment and business climate, its international prestige is on the rise as Vietnam has joined many multilateral forums and organisations such as the UNSC, ASEAN, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the Asia-Europe Meeting, among many others.
“This has also helped Vietnam woo more FDI and expand trade with foreign markets,” PM Chinh said.
In 2021, Vietnam exported goods worth $336.25 billion last year, up 19 per cent on-year, while its total import turnover sat at $332.25 billion, up 26.5 per cent on-year.
A rise in exports and FDI has contributed to the economy’s gradual rebound since Q3 of 2021. Last year, Vietnam’s economy grew only 2.58 per cent, the lowest level since the 1990s. However, after declining -6.02 per cent for Q3 due to the serious resurgence of COVID-19, the economy bounced back to 5.22 per cent on-year in Q4, higher than the on-year 4.61 per cent in the corresponding period last year.
“Vietnam’s UNSC membership has further enhanced the country’s prestige and contributed to ensuring peace and stability in the region and the wider world, while showing off the country as a reliable and responsible member of the international community. This has and will act as firm groundwork for Vietnam to attract more FDI and expand trade,” said Minister Son, adding that Vietnam also wants to stand for a seat once again on the UNSC in the future.”
State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Vietnam was honoured to act as the non-permanent member of the UNSC for the 2020-2021 term, especially its assuming the presidency of the body in January 2020 and April 2021. “With the aspiration to become a peaceful and prosperous nation, a reliable partner, and a responsible member of the international community, Vietnam remains steadfast in our foreign policy of independence, sovereignty, diversification, and multilateralisation of relations, promoting international integration and actively contributing to the efforts of the United Nations and the UNSC,” he stated.
“Faithful to our motto of partnership for sustainable peace, Vietnam will spare no effort to strengthen the cooperation between the United Nations and regional organisations, including ASEAN, and elevate such ties, for peace, security, and development around the world,” the president stressed.
Ten achievements during Vietnam’s membership of the UNSC for 2020-2021
1. Vietnam fully embraced a multilateral approach, safeguarding and upholding international law and the UN Charter. During the first presidency of the UNSC in January 2020, Vietnam convened the High-level Open Debate on upholding the UN Charter and presided over the adoption of a presidential statement on this theme. A record number of 111 speakers representing member states and international organisations participated in and made statements at this open debate.
2. The country promoted sustainable and comprehensive solutions to conflicts. This ranges from preventing to addressing the root causes of conflicts and dealing with the aftermath of conflicts on the basis of respect for independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in internal affairs, and peaceful resolution of disputes. These endeavours always take into account the legitimate interests of all parties concerned, strengthen humanitarian assistance and the protection of civilians, and promote dialogue and negotiation for peace and the long-term development of all nations.
3. Vietnam strengthened humanitarian assistance and the protection of civilians in armed conflicts with concrete and tangible actions. Vietnam took the lead on the issue as penholder of Resolution 2573 – the first UNSC resolution on the protection of objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population in conflict areas. It also identifies attacks against schools, hospitals, and water and energy infrastructures as violations of international humanitarian law. As one of the few resolutions co-sponsored by all 15 UNSC members, Resolution 2573 showed a high level of consensus by the council on this matter.
4. Vietnam highlighted and drew the attention of the UNSC and the international community to the long-term consequences of wars and conflicts on the lives of ordinary people and the security and development of all nations, including the issue of explosive remnants of war (ERW). Under Vietnam’s presidency of the council in April 2021, the council adopted a presidential statement stressing the need for further international cooperation to address the dire consequences of ERW that infringe upon the safety and sustainable livelihoods of peoples and communities.
5. The nation acted as a bridge-builder and strengthened meaningful cooperation between the UNSC with regional organisations in the maintenance of international peace and security. Notable efforts include the first-ever UNSC briefing on cooperation between the UN and ASEAN and the promotion of ASEAN centrality and presence at the UNSC in addressing regional issues, including the situation in Myanmar.
6. Advocacy and actions to support vulnerable groups in conflicts were strengthened, particularly women and children. Vietnam organised the International Conference on Women, Peace and Security, and adopted its outcome document “the Hanoi Commitment to Action” in December 2020, convened the open debate on sexual violence in conflict against women and girls in April 2021, and hosted the UNSC Arria-Formula Meeting on Addressing Challenges of Children without Parental Care in Conflict Situations last December.
7. Joint efforts in addressing urgent non-traditional security challenges posed to the international community were enhanced, such as the COVID19 pandemic and maritime security. Particular focus was given to climate security, with Vietnam making active contributions to the Like-Minded Group on Climate Security at the UNSC and the Informal Expert Group of Members of the Security Council on Climate and Security.
8. Vietnam demonstrated a balanced, transparent and responsible approach in its work at the UNSC, thereby narrowing differences and promoting dialogue and cooperation. This was particularly evident during Vietnam’s presidency of the council, and as chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to Resolution 2206 in 2015 concerning South Sudan. Vietnam also served as the chair of the Informal Working Group on International Tribunals and took the lead in drafting Resolution 2529 on renewing the mandate of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals Prosecutor.
9. The voice of non-permanent members of the UNSC, who represent all UN members, were promoted. A notable highlight was Vietnam’s efforts to convene a meeting in November 2020, in collaboration with Norway and South Africa, between the 10 non-permanent members of the UNSC and the five newly elected members of the UNSC for 2021-2022 to exchange information and enhance coordination.
10. The country made substantial contributions to the common work of the UN in its capacity as a non-permanent member of the UNSC. Such efforts include deploying troops to UN peacekeeping missions, introducing the resolutions on UN-ASEAN cooperation and on the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness, and initiating the establishment of the Group of Friends of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs