Vietnam will strive to fulfill important tasks in diplomacy to contribute to the process of socio-economic development in 2014, after it achieved remarkable diplomatic achievements last year, Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh said in a recent interview granted to the local press.
The deputy premier, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs, reviewed the country’s diplomatic performance in 2013 and announced what diplomatic work needs to be completed during the interview.
Last year, the global and regional situations underwent complicated developments that had considerable impact on peace, security and stability in the Southeast Asian country, Deputy Prime Minister Minh said.
But the country’s diplomatic efforts were carried out in an active and effective way with significant outcomes, the diplomat added, noting that all of this directly contributed to protecting the country’s independence and sovereignty, maintaining peace and stability, and enhancing Vietnam's position in the international arena.
The year 2013 also saw Vietnam conduct a wide range of activities in multilateral diplomacy at regional and international forums, which further boosted its international integration.
In May last year, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung delivered a keynote address at the Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore.
He also attended the 2013 World Economic Forum on East Asia in Myanmar in June, the 68th session of the UN General Assembly in September, and the 23rd ASEAN Summit and the East Asia Summit on October 9-10.
Meanwhile, President Truong Tan Sang participated in the 21st APEC Summit and the high-level Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) meeting in Bali, Indonesia from October 6-8.
High-profile visits and multinational partnerships
Last year also witnessed a number of visits made by high-ranking leaders of the Party, State, Government and National Assembly to various countries and international partners.
These visits helped lift the relations between Vietnam and Italy, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and France to the strategic level.
They also facilitated the establishment of comprehensive partnerships with Denmark and the US.
Vietnam now has strategic partnerships with 13 countries and comprehensive partnerships with 11 others, including the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, when the partnerships previously established with China, India, Japan, and Russia have been counted.
Also in 2013, Vietnam was elected to the UN Human Rights Council for the first time, receiving more votes than any other candidate.
With its increasing international prestige, Vietnam was also voted chairman of the Board of Governors of the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency for the 2013-14 term, and elected to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for the 2014-17 tenure.
The country has been nominated to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2020-21 term, and to join the United Nations Economic and Social Council for the 2016-18 tenure.
Currently, Vietnam is actively preparing to partake in the UN peacekeeping force.
Vietnam will host the 132nd Assembly of the International Parliamentary Union in March 2015 and, for the second time, organize the APEC Summit in 2017.
These developments prove that Vietnam has become a proactive and responsible member of the international community, Deputy Prime Minister Minh said.
Seizing opportunities, overcoming challenges
In general, the global and regional situations in 2013 created a number of favorable conditions for Vietnam, but they also posed many challenges for the country.
Therefore, he urged those working in the diplomatic service to both make the best use of the opportunities available, and to overcome the challenges that may continue to affect the country in 2014.
This year is very important for Vietnam, as it is the key time frame for implementing the Resolution of the 11th National Party Congress, and the second year of boosting the adoption of the Politburo’s Resolution on International Integration, the leader said.
According to recent forecasts, the world in general, and the Asia Pacific region in particular, will continue to experience complex and unpredictable developments this year.
Key tasks for 2014
Therefore, one of the top priorities for the foreign affairs sector is continuing to maintain peace and stability, and creating a favorable environment for the development of the national economy.
Specifically, people working in diplomacy are encouraged to try their utmost for the following key tasks:
First, priority will be given to the implementation of Resolution 22 of the Politburo on international integration to successfully execute the Plan of Action of the 28th Diplomatic Conference held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in December 2013.
Second, the diplomatic sector will continue strengthening the country’s relations and cooperation with its neighbors, including Laos, Cambodia, China, and other Southeast Asian countries.
That also includes other nations in the region with a view to resolving any problems which may arise in the relationships with such countries on the basis of equality and international law.
Third, diplomatic activities that serve economic development will be boosted to call on other countries to recognize Vietnam as a market economy, increase foreign direct investment, accelerate GDP growth, and speed up negotiations on the TPP agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and the Free Trade Agreements with the EU, the Republic of Korea, and the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union.
Fourth, more support will be given to domestic businesses in expanding export markets, seeking business partners, and protecting their legitimate interests in trade disputes.
Assistance will also be provided to these businesses when cases involving anti-protectionism and the imposition of double standards on trade arise.
Fifth, the sector will take advantage of multilateral diplomacy, combining it with bilateral, to step up international integration and prepare for Vietnam to effectively take part in peacekeeping operations of the UN and the activities of the Human Rights Council in 2014.
Sixth, external affairs will be furthered in the fields of politics, economics, culture, and in maintaining relations with overseas Vietnamese to create a combined strength that will enhance the country’s position on the international stage.
Finally, work in international relations will be uniformly managed with an eye towards thrift, and the efficiency of diplomats’ overseas working trips will be improved.