This year marks Vietnam’s 30th year of renewal. Once a poor country, Vietnam has now become a middle-income country with an annual economic growth rate of 6% and improved living conditions.  Vietnam’s achievements are largely due to the diplomatic sector which has helped Vietnam integrate into the world and assume a more prominent role in the international arena.

Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son (Source: VNA)

Making national interests a top priority

Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son said diplomacy has significantly contributed to Vietnam’s multi-faceted achievements during the reform process of the last three decades: “We have established diplomatic relations with 185 of the 193 UN members. We have joined 70 international organizations as a responsible and proactive member. Vietnam’s status has been elevated in the global and regional arena. Its initiatives have been internationally acknowledged”.

Vietnam was a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council from 2008 to 2010. Vietnam joined the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) from 2016 to 2018 and UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee from 2013 to 2017.

Vietnam’s achievements are due to a foreign policy which gives national interests top priority. In its renewal, Vietnam always aimed to maintain a stable environment, mobilize resources for national development, defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and expand foreign relations. Deputy Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son said: “Giving national interests top priority is both the principle and the goal of Vietnam’s diplomacy. Pursuing this goal, Vietnam has flexibly handled complications and changes of different periods and adopted appropriate policies to take advantage of international friends’ support for our renewal”.

Son says the wisdom of promoting national strengths in foreign affairs has been proved during 30 years of renewal. President Ho Chi Minh mentioned this guiding principle when Vietnam’s diplomatic sector was established.

Promoting renewal achievements

The world is rapidly evolving. Political instability, terrorism, migration, and climate change are affecting many countries. Son said that in this context, Vietnam needs more practical, effective, and flexible policies and strategies to protect national interests, take advantage of opportunities, reduce risks, and create a driving force for national development. The Deputy Foreign Minister said his ministry needs to focus on three main tasks: First, it is essential to apply thoroughly the foreign policy adopted at the 12th National Party Congress for international integration and maintenance of a peaceful, stable environment to boost economic development. Second, it’s important to be persistent in the struggle to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Third, Vietnam must deepen its relationship with other nations. Son said: “To achieve these tasks, we need to work out specific action programs. 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 understand the challenges and turn them into opportunities to increase international economic integration.”

2016 is the first year of implementing the Party’s guidelines on socio-economic development until 2020. Making national interests the top priority, safeguarding national independence and self-reliance, and expanding international integration are the major directions of Vietnam’s diplomacy.


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