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Vietnam pins hope on new president to defend sovereignty

Monday, April 04, 2016, 15:25 GMT+7
Vietnam pins hope on new president to defend sovereignty
Vietnamese State President Tran Dai Quang takes an oath after being elected on April 2, 2016.

Vietnamese lawmakers and members of the public have put their trust in newly-elected State President Tran Dai Quang to work tirelessly to protect the country’s national sovereignty, as he vowed in the oath of office last week.

The need to protect the national sovereignty was listed among the top priorities of the new head of state as he officially took office on Saturday.

“I swear to resolutely and persistently fight to protect Vietnam’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as its national interests and security,” President Quang said in the oath.

Many lawmakers believe that the new state leader, a general who heads the Ministry of Public Security, can fulfill his duties, as he is also the chairman of the Council for National Defense and Security, and the commander of the People’s Armed Forces.

“The new president has been engaged in the professional security sector, so I believe he can perform his duties well,” Truong Trong Nghia, a National Assembly deputy from Ho Chi Minh City, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Sunday.

Nghia said he is confident that President Quang will “find all possible solutions to maintain peace and develop the nation.”

“He will also be able to protect Vietnam’s independence, sovereignty, national interests and security as he has vowed,” Nghia added.

0muNqve2.jpgTruong Trong Nghia

The Ho Chi Minh City lawmaker added that the duty of safeguarding Vietnam’s sovereignty is a very heavy one for President Quang, and other new leaders of the country.

“A part of our country has been invaded and we continue to see our sea sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction violated more severely and blatantly,” he said.

“It will therefore be more challenging and complicated for the new state president than previous leaders.”

More attention to East Vietnam Sea

Lieutenant General Nguyen Quoc Thuoc, a seasoned military commander himself, said not only should the state president but also the lawmaking National Assembly pay more attention to the East Vietnam Sea issue during their term in office.

Vietnam will vote for members for the 14th tenure of the National Assembly in May and the legislative body is expected to convene its first meeting in July.

Vietnam’s sovereignty over the Truong Sa (Spratly) and Hoang Sa (Paracel) archipelagos in the East Vietnam Sea are being threatened, but the outgoing 13th National Assembly failed to address the issue “seriously enough,” Lt. Gen. Thuoc told Tuoi Tre.

“While there are no wars or fighting in the seas, it does not mean we are having peace there,” he said. “There is no peace because our fishermen are still being bullied, arrested, robbed and even beaten in our waters.”

While such a heated situation continues to exist, Thuoc said the National Assembly should respond, adding that the East Vietnam Sea must be viewed as a very critical issue on the legislative body’s agenda.

Lieutenant General Nguyen Quoc Thuoc

At a National Assembly meeting on April 1, Le Van Lai, a lawmaker from the central province of Quang Nam, also said that Vietnam’s assessment of the sovereignty situation is not accurate enough.

While China has repeatedly violated Vietnam’s sea sovereignty and done harm to Vietnamese fishermen, many officials of the Southeast Asian country have always said its national sovereignty is ensured, which Lai said is impossible to agree with.

“Despite all the violations [from China], we just sit here and say ‘national sovereignty is ensured.’ Is it right to do so? How would such an [inaccurate] assessment lead to adequate policies, strategies, protests or objections?” he questioned.

Lai therefore strongly suggested that other lawmakers review the assessment of the sovereignty situation over the last five years, as “only with a correct assessment can we have correct principles and plans.”

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