Thirty years of renewal and major diplomatic lessons


(QNO) - Calendar year 2016 marks 30 years of carrying out the Doi Moi (Renewal) process for stronger national development evidenced by the fact that from a low-income nation, Vietnam has risen as a middle-income country with an average annual economic growth rate of more than 6% .

These achievements are attributable to the diplomatic sector’s remarkable contributions to boosting the country’s deeper international integration with higher global profile.

Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son recently sat down with a VOV reporter for an interview to share the lessons as well as contributions of the diplomatic sector after 30 years of pursuing the Doi Moi process.

Following are key translated excerpts from the interview.

Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son
Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son

VOV: Over the past three decades, the diplomatic sector has made major contributions to expanding Vietnam’s substantive cooperation with other countries across the globe. Could you please tell about the outstanding achievements in external affairs during 30 years of innovation?

Deputy PM Bui Thanh Son: Over the past 30 years, Vietnam has recorded the tremendous achievements of great historical significance which has turned it into a middle-income country entering a new development stage. Foreign affairs’ major contributions are shown in the following areas:

First, the diplomatic sector has helped the country escape from embargo to normalize relations with other countries in the world. After 30 years of innovation, drastic changes have been seen in Vietnam’s international relations. The country has established relations with 185 countries out of total 193 UN member states. 

Second, we have become involved in 70 regional and international organizations, playing a pro-active and responsible role.

Third, we have had a stronger voice in the international arena with higher respect and our initiatives have been internationally acclaimed. 

Over recent years, we have deepened our relations with partner countries by setting up a strategic partnership with 15 partners in the world, a comprehensive partnership with 10 partners and multi-faceted cooperation with other friends so as to create a firmer confidence, mobilize all resources to boost national development, and enlist international support in the struggle to defend sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.

We have gained important achievements in multilateral foreign policy demonstrated by our involvement in ASEAN as a responsible member. It is worth noting that our voice has been respected at international forums- ASEM, APEC and the UN. We were elected to important positions with a majority of votes in favour such as non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2008-2010 term, membership of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

Additionally, we have made accomplishments in overseas Vietnamese affairs with the issuance of Decree No 36 creating a close link between the domestic and overseas Vietnamese communities and reiterating the indispensability of the Vietnamese community as contributions to the process of national construction and development.

VOV: Could you share the lessons learned in the external activities of the country during 30 years of innovation?

Deputy PM Bui Thanh Son: The first lesson is to define national interests which are both our principles and objectives. During the renewal process, we have always determined to maintain a peaceful and stable environment and pool all resources for national development, safeguard sovereign and territorial integrity, and reinforce relations with international friends. With that goal, we have been flexible in handling situation in different periods and adopting proper policies to court international support for our innovation.

The second lesion is to gather national strengths, combine foreign affairs- political diplomacy, military diplomacy and economic diplomacy, and take full advantage of the combined strength of the entire political system to step up diplomatic activities and international integration.

VOV: Looking back to what we have achieved during 30 years of renewal, the diplomatic sector has played an important role. Could you please elaborate on future activities of the diplomatic sector in order to continue bring into full play the gained achievements?

Deputy PM Bui Thanh Son: The country is facing the more complex global situation amid economic uncertainties, emerging non-traditional security in many regions, terrorism, migration, particularly climate change which are having negative impacts on most countries throughout the world.

In this context, foreign affairs should be carried out based on the domestic situation. This year, we are set to implement the external policy and 2016 -2020 plans for socio-economic development.

Foreign affairs will focus on the following main tasks: First, it is essential to apply thoroughly the foreign policy adopted at the 12th National Party Congress for further enhancement of proactive international integration and maintenance of a peaceful and stable environment to push up economic development.

Second, we must be persistent in the struggle for protecting sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Third, we are to build a specific action program to deepen our relation with other nations.

We are entering a new period of integration with the signing of a series of bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements (FTAs). In the time to come, it is imperative to step up communication to help the business community better understand hurdles and challenges thus turning them into good opportunities to serve international economic integration.

Defending sovereignty and territorial integrity by peaceful measures on the basis of respect for international law also takes centre stage in foreign affairs in the time ahead.

VOV: Thank you very much.