HÀ NỘI — Strengthening relations with countries is one of the diplomatic sector’s key tasks, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh told local media ahead of the 29th Diplomatic Conference and the 18th National External Affairs Conference starting tomorrow.

Per orientations set by the12th National Congress of the Communist Party of Việt Nam, the conference will focus on enhanced efficiency of external affairs and international economic integration, he said.

“The event takes place under the rapid and unthinkable developments of the world context over the past years such as increased instability, sovereignty disputes, terrorism, cross-border crime, climate change, violence, among others, which have quickly spread and impacted our region,” Minh said, saying that Việt Nam had made proper responses to such events.

In regard to the economic aspect, the world economy has yet to move away from stagnation, while economic linkage of regions and sub-regions has rapidly increased.

“Up to 157 free trade agreements have taken shape in the past five years, requiring countries to keep up economically while taking advantage of benefits brought about by the trade pacts,” the Deputy PM said.

“Under such circumstance, the diplomatic conference will reassess the world situation as well as impacts on and challenges facing the country, from which putting forward recommendations for adequate diplomatic measures to realise targets set by the 12th National Party Congress.”

Diplomacy serves trade

 The conference is focused on discussing how to maintain a stable environment through strengthened relationships with other countries.

 Minh said over the past 15 years Việt Nam had built up 15 frameworks for strategic partnerships and another 10 for comprehensive partnerships with countries around the world.

 “Upon the availability of the frameworks, it is our task to further intensify these ties, which means the conference aims to raise the efficiency of as well as increase frameworks on the basis of national interest.”

 “The second target is to achieve international integration actively.

 “This requires efforts of not only diplomatic sector but all sectors, and of the whole nation. Economic integration is key but economic development always goes side by side with maintaining a peaceful and stable environment.

 “It is essential to work out how external affairs could serve economic development, how to enable local people and businesses to make full use of free trade agreements.”

 In Southeast Asia, Việt Nam is the country that has inked the most free trade agreements.

 Over the past five years, the diplomatic sector has contributed to maintaining regional peace and increased political trust of countries in the world and region. Initially, Việt Nam scheduled economic integration but during this period of time, integration has expanded to all fields.

 Việt Nam has also participated in co-operation in defence and security, joining the UN peace-keeping force, and became a member of the UN human rights and socio-economic councils. The country has played an active role in ASEAN.

 Additionally, regarding the crucial work towards Vietnamese overseas – “an inseparable section of Vietnamese people”, “the diplomatic sector always pay heed to making sure that legal bases in the host countries fully support Vietnamese there, helping them to integrate into the local community,” said Minh.

 Independent and self-reliant

 When asked if Việt Nam would fear being dragged into the game of big players in the world, Deputy PM Minh said competition among big nations always exists as it involves strategic interests, economic interests and more.

 He noted that “the strategic competition between big nations has become quite complicated and severe, not only in political, but also in military and economic areas.”

 "However, Việt Nam has learned precious lessons and would not let any party drag the country into such competition," he said.

 “We pursued a foreign policy of independence and self-reliance. Experience shows that only by following that path, can we defend our independence and sovereignty,” Minh said.

 “To that end, Việt Nam needs to foster ties with all nations on the basis of mutual benefits. Việt Nam has gone from the policy of ‘increasing friends and decreasing enemies’ to ‘making friends with all countries’,” he added.

 According to the Deputy PM and Foreign Minister, Việt Nam would like to make friends with all countries in the world, with special importance being attached to neighbouring countries.

 East Sea issue

 In response to questions about Việt Nam’s concern about possible conflicts in the East Sea (internationally known as the South China Sea) and strategies to maintain the nation’s sovereignty over seas and islands, Deputy PM and FM Minh said the East Sea was not just an issue for countries in the region as it was a waterway of overriding importance for the world.

 “Ensuring navigation security and safety is a joint goal for countries inside and outside the region. All countries are responsible for maintaining stability in the East Sea since any incident will stop waterway traffic,” Minh said.

 Minh said disputes among countries over islands and archipelagoes needed to be dealt with through negotiations.

 "Conflicts leading to war will go against agreements which target preventing war and controlling conflict.

 “Việt Nam always asserts its sovereignty over the Trường Sa (Spartly) and Hoàng Sa (Paracel) archipelagoes and sticks to protecting that sovereignty through peaceful measures on the basis of abiding by international law. Also, Việt Nam calls for countries to respect international law,” Minh said. — VNS



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