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Major results of external defense activities in implementing Resolution of the 8th plenum of the 9th Party Central Committee regarding national defense strategy in the new climate
7/10/2013 15:42' Send Print

A political report presented at the 11th National Congress of the Party Central Committee defined external defense as one of principal security tasks of the country(1). The view of the Communist Party of Vietnam demonstrates that external defense has become an integral part of national defense and an efficient tool to implement the goals of national defense in peacetime.

Therefore, the military’s external defense sector has been moving to implement the optimal defense strategy for the past 10 years, since the 8th plenum of the 9th Party Central Committee set out major directions for a National Defense Strategy. It is guided by the vision of a firm defense of national independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; the protection of the people and the socialist regime, the cause of renewal and national interests, while safeguarding political stability and a peaceful and favorable environment in which the nation can develop.

Over the past decade the world and region has witnessed many complex, unpredictable developments. At the same time, Vietnam has been integrating more deeply and broadly into the world and the global situation creates a complex intertwinement in international relations, between the subjects and partners of Vietnamese defense in general, and the task of external defense in particular. Never before have these inter-relationships proved as complex as in recent times, posing tremendous challenges to the fulfillment of the National Defense Strategy. It requires the protection of national sovereignty, territorial integrity, the Party, and the regime; maintaining a peaceful, stable environment and friendship with the rest of the world; strengthening international integration while safeguarding national independence and self-reliance; resolving contradictions in dealings with world powers, mindful of the fact that the Asia-Pacific region has become the focus of fresh strategic rivalries between the world’s major powers.

These challenges are made more complicated for the defense sector, given the sensitivity of security issues. It requires the correct strategy and effective methods in order to fulfill the tasks as set out by the National Defense Strategy. Over the past 10 years the external defense sector has thoroughly grasped and has creatively applied fundamental vision, principles and directions of the National Defense Strategy in the new climate, as set forth by the Resolution of the 8th plenum of the 9th Party Central Committee. The external defense sector has excelled in the fulfillment of its tasks.

The external defense force firmly adheres to the Communist Party of Vietnam’s mottoes and principles in international cooperation, and has consistently implemented the guidelines regarding the strengthening of cooperation and transforming subjects into partners. Via both cooperation and struggle, Vietnam has increased the effectiveness of cooperation, resolved many disputes and boosted mutual trust and understanding in important defense relations, particularly with neighbors, powerful countries and traditional friends. As a result, the dialectical consideration of subjects and partners has advanced the development of Vietnam’s foreign affairs in general and external defense in particular over the past 10 years.

The external defense sector has thoroughly grasped and creatively applied the 6 basic viewpoints of the Communist Party of Vietnam stated in the National Defense Strategy, complying with the absolute, direct and all-round leadership of the Party over national defense. External defense has met the challenge of more demanding and diverse security-defense cooperation during the process of international integration. Activities have focused on measures to enhance mutual understanding and trust between Vietnam and its partners. Defense dialogue at all levels - including the annual dialogue between the deputy-defense ministers of Vietnam and world powers - has established favorable conditions for Vietnam to discuss strategic issues, advance cooperation, resolve disputes and enable  more proactive and trustworthy relations between Vietnam and other countries. The Ministry of National Defense’s release of the 2009 White Book made defense transparent in order to develop trust in international relations. External defense activities have promoted the position of Vietnam and its army regionally and globally. This success has contributed to forming a strategic national defense position and has accelerated moves towards peace, cooperation and development, which in turn benefits the fulfillment of national construction and defense tasks. It has also satisfied the needs for defense cooperation during the country’s international integration process, helping to safeguard border security and deal with non-traditional security issues (such as terrorism, trans-national crimes, rescue and relief, prevention, combat and mitigation of natural disasters and epidemics…). The defense sector has also been directly involved in the process of international economic integration. The Army’s economic units and industrial sector have proactively seized opportunities to develop their production capacity, becoming vanguards in combining the economic and defense sectors, meeting defense needs while also making an important contribution to national industrialization and modernization.

In order to achieve the goals of the National Defense Strategy in the new climate- as set out by the Resolution of the 8th plenum of the 9th Party Central Committee – the army has proactively defended Vietnam’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and interests. The complex security situation both in the region and globally has made a tremendous impact on national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and interests, entrusting the army’s external defense sector with numerous difficult tasks. On the one hand, they must be part of building a defense stance which enables trends towards a stable peace in the region and creates conditions for the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law. This is the only way to protect national sovereignty and territory while maintaining the peaceful and stable environment for development. Vietnam has established mechanisms for bilateral defense cooperation with those countries who share our borders, including the safeguarding of border security, joint patrols, and the establishment of “hot lines” to other countries’ naval forces… These mechanisms enable the swifter settlement of any arising problems, and prevent conflicts from escalating out of control, which undermine peace, stability and friendship between countries. On the other hand, external defense forces have firmly combined the diplomatic approach with a determination to combat any hostile forces, intent on defeating any plots or attempts to encroach on the sovereignty, sovereign rights and national interests of Vietnam. Notwithstanding, however, its uncompromising struggle against any such forces, and any acts that violate its sovereignty or national interests, Vietnam still attaches great importance to cooperation in the resolution of disputes.

To protect the Party, people and political regime in Vietnam, external defense has made important contributions to the fight against so-called “peaceful evolution” and the violently subversive acts committed by hostile forces. Due attention has been paid to the exchange of dialogues and other communication activities, so that the global public and military forces better understand the Vietnamese Party and State’s beliefs and policies, the fine nature of the socialist regime, and other issues related to defense policy. By doing so, our military has countered the critical slanders of those hostile to the socialist regime of Vietnam.

In terms of cooperation with other countries, the external defense sector focuses on effectively foiling attempts to take advantage of cooperation to propagandize hostile ideologies, particularly the attempt to de-politicalize the military and separate the military from the absolute, direct and all-round leadership of the Party. The more external defense develops, so greater attention should be paid to the safeguarding of internal politics, helping to prevent the “peaceful evolution” plot, including the artifice of inciting “self-evolution” within the military.

The external defense sector makes an important contribution to safeguarding socio-political stability and consolidating the trust of the people and the entire army in the Party and State, as stated in the National Defense Strategy in the new climate, set out by the Resolution of the 8th plenum of the 9th Party Central Committee. Through practical activities, plus the dissemination of information to the domestic media, their work has educated the people about the defense guidelines and policies of the Party and State and military activities in order to protect national sovereignty and the environment of peace, cooperation and development of the country. As a result, the people’s trust in the Party’s leadership and its defense guidelines and policies, the national defense capacity and the military combat strength has been consolidated and enhanced. These factors have served as a foundation for maintaining political stability, and have united all the people in one bloc under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

Implementing the policy of upholding internal strength, and bringing into full play external advantages - in line with the Resolution of the 8th plenum of the 9th Party Central Committee - external defense has actively contributed to building a revolutionary, regular and elite People’s Army, which is gradually modernizing, in terms of human resources and facilities. Defense training cooperation between the Vietnamese army and foreign partners has increased. Diverse and vibrant practical activities, plus numerous ordeals, have trained a contingent of Vietnamese army cadres, who are more knowledgeable about modern wars in terms strategy, campaigns and tactics. This is an important foundation from which best understand the nature of the world’s military forces, in order to modernize Vietnam’s defense status. 

Cooperation between the defense industry and trade has made great progress. Thanks to an appropriate cooperative mechanism, Vietnam has taken advantage of foreign resources: capital, science and technology, and advanced management expertise etcetera. This is in order to develop and ensure the defense industry’s eventual self-reliance on modern facilities, weapons and equipment for the army suitable to Vietnam’s mode of war, which involves all the people in the protection of the fatherland. The diversification of defense-trade relations has also given Vietnam more options in its ability to acquire foreign equipment and weapons, meeting the demands of military modernization.

Following 10 years of implementation of guidelines on foreign affairs - as set out by the Resolution of the 8th plenum of the 9th Party Central Committee on the National Defense Strategy in the new climate– the army’s external defense sector has made a giant leap forward. Bilateral cooperation has been expanded. To date, Vietnam has defense relations with 80 countries and has established defense attaché offices in 31 countries. Meanwhile, 45 countries have set up defense attaché offices in Vietnam. (Before the adoption of the Resolution of the 8th plenum of the 9th Party Central Committee, Vietnam had had defense ties with 60 countries and defense attaché offices in 25 countries; 34 countries had established defense attaché offices in Vietnam). As a result, defense relations have been expanded and deepened.

In the 10 years between 2003-2012, the number of defense-related international agreements signed between Vietnam and other countries increased 4-fold against the period from 1945 to 2002. Strategic defense ties have been given priority. Because of the traditional friendship and regard between Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, there has always been respect for each other’s independence and sovereignty, but there has also been appropriate cooperation in security needs. Defense relations between our neighboring countries have been renewed and have included the beginnings of greater cooperation in certain areas. Defense ties between Vietnam and other ASEAN members were fruitfully strengthened. Relations with world powers and major centers - based on the principle of equality, mutual benefit and non-interference in each other internal affairs - created the intertwining of interests between countries. Defense relations with China were developed based on the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries which are, step by step, establishing cooperative mechanisms to safeguard joint security of land border-areas as well as at sea. Defense ties with major partners like Russia, India, the European Union and others continued to expand, meeting Vietnam’s defense-cooperation needs. Vietnam continued to maintain and develop its defense cooperation with traditional friends, independent countries and developing countries.

Over the past decade, Vietnam’s multilateral defense-cooperation activities have progressed remarkably. From a country with almost zero defense relationships with international institutions, Vietnam has become an active member of many multilateral cooperative defense arrangements, and this has been an important factor in cementing regional military cooperation. Vietnam has proactively realized the initiatives of the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+), winning international acclaim. Vietnam has instigated new initiatives to boost regional defense cooperation in a practical and effective manner. Vietnam’s initiative to establish expert teams on Humanitarian Landmine Action has created a new cooperative field within the ADMM+ framework. This initiative has enhanced regional defense cooperation, making practical contributions to resolving the severe consequences of wars in Vietnam and regional countries. Vietnam has prepared all necessary conditions to be able to join the United Nations’ peacekeeping operations in the near future.

Developing multilateral defense ties has enhanced Vietnam’s international prestige and contributed significantly to settling national security issues. More importantly, these relations have been closely combined with bilateral ties to create diverse, multi-layered cooperative security mechanisms, helping to raise Vietnam’s defense posture and strength. Over the past 10 years, external defense has obtained tremendous results in realizing the targets, mottoes and measures of the National Defense Strategy. These achievements demonstratively confirm the correctness and creativity of the Resolution of the 8th plenum of the 9th Party Central Committee on the National Defense Strategy in the new climate. For the future, infused by the vigor, experience and new ideas of the Party on international integration, the external defense sector needs to creatively apply the Politburo’s Resolution No. 22-NQ/TW dated April 10, 2013 on international integration in order to achieve the National Defense Strategy’s goals in the new climate, as set out by the Resolution of the 8th plenum of the 9th Party Central Committee./. 

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(1) Political report of the 10th Party Central Committee at the 11th National Party Congress, part 8 on defense, security, states: “Continuing to expand international cooperative relations in defense and security”. 

Nguyen Chi Vinh Senior Lieutenant-General, member of the Communist Party of Vietnam's Central Committee, Deputy Defense Minister