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External relation work should consider fundamental and long-term national interests the foundation
8/5/2014 11:4' Send Print
Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong attended and delivered an important speech at the conference. Picture: Viet Nam News Agency

Compared with the 27th Diplomatic Conference two years ago, this conference takes place at a time when there are new developments in international, regional and national situation. The entire Party and people are implementing heavy tasks of national construction and defense. External relations as an important front are facing numerous challenges. If the 27th conference was to build concrete program of action in the field of external relations to implement the standpoints, guidelines, and orientations of the 11th Party Congress, this conference is an opportunity to review and assess the realization of the program of action in the past two years and the implementation of the Resolution of the 11th Party Congress in the first half of its tenure and make recommendations on key tasks in external relations in the coming years to continue realizing the 11th Party’s Resolution. This is also an opportunity for us to expedite exchanges, initiate studies in major and new external relation issues in preparation for the 12th National Party Congress. I believe and hope that you will bring into full play wisdom and work in a serious, responsible and creative manner to find out appropriate solutions and policies for external relation issues at present.

Since the 11th Party Congress, beside fundamental advantages, there are difficulties and great and complicated challenges in the world and national situation. However, with efforts of the entire Party, people and army, we have recorded many remarkable achievements and results in the field of external relations. Most prominent are:

- We have maintained and strengthened a peaceful and stable environment favorable for national construction and defense. Given complicated and unprecedented development in regional and international situation, difficulties in the world and national economies, it is encouraging to maintain a peaceful and stable environment, stabilize macro economy with relatively high growth rate, mobilize sizable official development aid (ODA) and foreign direct investment (FDI), expand market and increase export turnover. This confirms and gives prominence to the image of Viet Nam - a country of peace and stability on the way of development and a reliable friend of countries and the international community.

- We have continued to maintain national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and properly solved problems on the sea. We have completed marker planting along border with Laos and 75% of borderline with Cambodia; actively negotiated on delineation of the Bac Bo Gulf and cooperation in less-sensitive areas with China and delineation of exclusive economic zone with Indonesia. We also settled successfully existing problems with neighboring countries on the basis of international laws, mutual agreements and step by step turn the common border of Viet Nam with neighboring countries into border of peace, friendship and cooperation. Differences in disputes in the East Sea, though obstacles still remain, are reduced and put into negotiation table and bilateral and multilateral dialogues.

- We have gained sympathy and broad support of international friends. In-depth bilateral and multilateral relations have been strengthened and developed. Strategic partnership and comprehensive partnership have been established between Viet Nam and other countries, especially with powers have created a substantive shift in external relations, and presented an advantage for international integration of Viet Nam in the new situation. It is possible to say that we have never had so many friends and partners. Many important fora including some country’s Parliaments have reached relatively high consensus about support for Viet Nam.

- Viet Nam has played up its role as an active member of regional and global mechanisms. Our country has participated deeper and wider in Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific linkages through such organizations and fora as ASEAN, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Asia Pacific Economic Council (APEC) and East Asia Summit (EAS). Viet Nam joins eight bilateral and regional free trade agreements and is negotiating six other agreements including two biggest ever agreements which are the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Viet Nam has together with other member countries made active contribution to the process of building the ASEAN community and enhanced its position and profile in the regional community. For the second time, Viet Nam has officially stood for non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2020 - 2021 term; is ready to host the 32nd International Parliamentary Union General Assembly in 2015 and the APEC Summit for the second time in 2017. Recently, Viet Nam was elected the to Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), UNESCO World Heritage Committee and United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2014 - 2016 term for the first time, elevating its position and the trust of international community.

- There has been obvious changes in mobilization of overseas Vietnamese in line with the Resolution 36 of the Politburo. Overseas Vietnamese have increasingly turned their hearts and minds to the homeland, closely bound to the country and made practical contribution to national construction and defense. Vietnamese representative offices in foreign countries have done a good job in protecting citizens and become reliable addresses to Vietnamese living and working abroad.

Those achievements and results are vivid verification of our Party’s current foreign policies and creative and effective applications of lessons learnt of the renovation period. We have been fully aware of putting national interests above all with the cross-cutting objective of firmly safeguarding independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, political socialist regime in close combination with creating the most favorable international environment for socio-economic development to build Viet Nam into a country with “prosperous people, strong country, democracy, equity and civilization.” We have creatively applied lessons on combining national strength to that of the time, maintaining independence and self-reliance and international integration; persistent in principles but flexible in tactics; and realizing synchronously and comprehensively external relation activities.

Here, there is one question: what has helped to bring about those achievements and results when there are difficulties and challenges in regional and international situation? In my opinions, the decisive factor is we have unswervingly implemented the foreign policy of independence, sovereignty, peace, cooperation and development; multilateral and diversified relations and proactive and active international integration for the sake of national interests. On that basis, the Party has calmly and wisely assessed situation, scientifically and dialectically analyzed regional and world’s state of affairs, made use of opportunities and carefully studied challenges. At the same time, we have applied lessons learnt from our nation’s history to rationally and dialectically solve a series of relations.

In complicated situation, we have combined skillfully demands for defense of independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity with demands for safeguarding the socialist regime and favorable international environment for national construction and development. We have perseveringly strengthened cooperation in the principle of mutual respect, and mutual interests while fighting any sign of encroachment in national interests, contributing to peace, independence, democracy, and social progress in the world.

Continuing to generate aggregated strength, we have harmoniously carried out political, economic, cultural and national defense and security diplomacy; combined Party, State and people external relation activities; coordinated Central and local levels and combined bilateral and multilateral diplomacy.

These important achievements are results of the aggregated strength of the entire Party, people and army with great contribution from generations of cadres, Party members and public employees of the diplomatic sector as an advisory and implementation organization in external relations. On behalf of the Party and State, I warmly congratulate and commend you for your great efforts and practical contribution.

However, we can not be subjective and satisfactory because the situation is still complicated, immediate tasks are heavy and there are things need to be done. I call on participants to the conference to seriously review what good things have been done, and what have not including eight issues I recommended at a previous conference. They are research on strategic forecast, international integration, promotion of our role as an active member of the international community, enhancement of cooperation on national defense and security, contribution to economic development, defense of sovereignty and territorial integrity, realization of the Politburo’s Resolution on overseas Vietnamese, strengthening foreign information service and building of the diplomatic sector, especially training and fostering of cadres’ acumen and virtues.

From now to the end of the term of the 11th Party Congress and the following years, the regional and world situation will continue to be complex. Cooperation and struggle in international relations will be diversified with new elements. The fast changing regional and world situation brings about opportunities and challenges which need to be carefully studied.

The Resolution of the 11th Party Congress clearly stated external relation guidelines and tasks: to firmly maintain a peaceful and favorable environment for development, defend independence, sovereignty, unification and territorial integrity; safeguard socialist regime; enhance position of the country; actively contribute to the struggle for peace, national independence, democracy and social progress in the world. These tasks are closely associated, interrelated and supplemented each other. The 11th Party Central Committee issued the Resolution 28 on Strategy on National Defense in the new situation; the Politburo issued Resolution 22 on international integration to further concretize the 11th Party’s resolution in this field.

The primary tasks of the diplomatic sector is to be fully aware of and implemented strictly and effectively the Party’s standpoints and leading ideology, proactively and actively mobilize, build and take advantage of new opportunities for national construction and defense. Concrete tasks are:

First, continue to play a leading role in ensuring a favorable peaceful environment for national construction and defense, implement industrialization, modernization and strategic tasks on socio-economic development so that by 2020 Viet Nam will basically become a modern and industrialized country. During war time, soldiers are vanguards in national defense. In peace time, diplomats are vanguards in peace building, national defense and attract resources for national development. We should fully grasp and apply skillfully our ancestor’s lesson: “National construction should goes hand in hand with national defense”, “National defense should go before threat”, develop preparedness plan and early eliminate threat of war. It means we should build a strong economy, mighty national defense, people without resentment, stable socio-political situation and a nation as a national unity bloc.

To achieve these goals, it is necessary to establish stable bilateral and multilateral relations; seek more partners, and expand and diversify markets. These demands are urgent when economic, partner and market competition becomes fiercer; the threat of falling far behind economically is very likely in such developing country as Viet Nam.

Second, consistently follow the renovation policy, multilateral and diversified international relations; friendly relations with neighbor countries, friendship, strategic partnership and comprehensive partnership substantive and in-depth relations, and create organic association in terms of security and development between Viet Nam and partners. At present, beside maintaining and unceasingly strengthening friendly relations with neighboring countries, Viet Nam has established strategic partnership and comprehensive partnership with more than 20 countries including powers, and permanent members of the UN Security Council. These relations have created new substantive changes in external relation activities which should be promoted and deepened to facilitate proactive and active integration in the new period. Meanwhile, we should also be persistent in our principle which is neither join any military alliance nor give permission any foreign country to have military bases in Viet Nam. Viet Nam does not ally with any country to oppose other.

Third, build a roadmap and suitable steps to implement the Resolution 22 of the Politburo on international integration. Proactively and actively participate in regional and international multilateral mechanisms of essential interests to contribute to form a new strategic geopolitical and geoeconomic state of affair in Asia-Pacific and identify supreme position for the country in the new situation. In developing plans and implementation of international integration, advantages and difficulties, opportunities and challenges should be fully estimated to avoid simple and one-sided judgment and emphasis on advantages only, and negligence of challenges or vice versa.

In the process of international integration and cooperative opportunities with other countries, Viet Nam’s attractiveness can only be increased when it has a stable political society, a dynamic economy and is a reliable partner in international relations and exchange. Internal strength is a decisive and the most important factor. Integration results depend on satisfactory settlement of big relations including safeguarding of independence, sovereignty and international integration and combination of the national strength with that of the time.

Fourth, correctly settle border and territorial issues, first and foremost disputes in the East Sea. This is one of the most key issues to ensure peaceful environment and stability in the immediate future and long time to come. Border and territory are sensitive issues for every country and nation. Our nation has staged long struggles, suffered great losses and made sacrifices to defend independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity so independence, sovereignty, border and territory are all the more sacred. In the past period, with great efforts and persistence, Viet Nam and other countries have solved several problems relating to border and territorial issues. What remain are legally, historically and practically complicated. We have persistently settled these problems through peaceful means on the basis of international laws and friendly and cooperative spirit. On the issue of the East Sea, though fundamental and long-term solutions have not been reached, we together with other countries have strictly observed international laws, especially the UN Convention on 1982 Law of the Sea, respected the Declaration between ASEAN and China on Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), exerted efforts together with ASEAN countries and China to develop the Code of Conduct for Parties in the East Sea (COC) to effectively manage disputes and prevent conflicts in the East Sea.

Fifth, continue to promote cultural diplomacy, foreign information service, dissemination and cultural values to enhance Viet Nam’s role, prestige and image in international arena. Continue to implement successfully the Resolution 38 of the Politburo on mobilization of overseas Vietnamese. Build and promote the image of Viet Nam and Vietnamese people, foreign policy of peace, friendship and friendly cooperation of Viet Nam; win the sympathy and support of the international community to the peaceful, stable and developing Viet Nam to facilitate foreign relation activities. Sincerity, affection and gratitude, loyalty, respect for moral code are characters of Viet Nam’s diplomacy. Viet Nam wants to be a reliable friend and partner of countries in the international community for peace, cooperation and development; and wishes that all countries are constructive friends and partners.

Sixth, continue to push up fundamental research and strategic forecast. The regional and world situation is changing fast; internal situation and foreign policies of big and key partners of Viet Nam are unceasingly changing. Thus, special attention should given to research and strategic forecast to grasp in time situation development trends to help country be active. President Ho Chi Minh summed up that if the time was not ripe, two good cards were nothing, but if the time was ripe, a pawn might make success. Grasp right opportunity and trends to map out appropriate guidelines and policies is a popular principle. However, there are always difficult problems which can be only answered when we have accurate strategically forecasting analysis.

Seventh, be consistent on the principle that the Party holds supreme leadership and unifies management of foreign relation activities in terms of politics, economy, culture, national defense and security which is a long-term, fundamental and topical. In that spirit, all decisions on and activities of foreign relations, especially issues relating to national stability and development, independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, security and honor should come under the direct leadership of the Politburo and the Secretariat of the Central Committee. All foreign relation activities should be considered on an overall perspective, for national fundamental and long-term interests not for local and sectoral interests. It is necessary to take into account interrelation impacts among politics, economy, national defense, security, culture, science, technology; between national interests and international unity; between Party and State and people diplomacy; between Central and local levels to make them harmonious and supportive. All foreign relation activities should be implemented within programs and plans approved by competent authorities in strict process and mechanisms to avoid overlapping and for unified awareness and actions among functional agencies.

In foreign relation management, it is necessary to clearly identify functions and tasks of the Party, the State and the Government agencies. High unanimity on strategies, steps, harmonious coordination should be reached to avoid waste of resources and to mobilize synergy. Foreign relation activities should be renovated to be more professional with stricter and clearer strategies, programs and plans, more concrete, practical and effective.

Eighth, complete organizational apparatus and build up a contingent of foreign relation cadres who meet increasing demands of our revolution. President Ho Chi Minh more than one time said that: “Cadres are the root cause of all work. Whether a job is a success or failure depends on the quality of cadres.” At a Diplomatic Conference 50 years ago, President Ho Chi Minh taught diplomats: “First to consider the Party’s stance and viewpoints as a compact. Second to practice good ethics and not to place individual interests above common interests. Third to be cautious, vigilant and keep secret all state classified information. Fourth, eager to learn and be self-reliant and practice thrift. Fifth, to learn foreign languages.” The teachings of President Ho Chi Minh, the founder of Viet Nam’s diplomacy are cross-cutting orientations for our diplomats to strive, self-improve, train and successfully fulfil tasks assigned by the Party and State. Foreign relation cadres first and foremost diplomats are special contingent with specially reliable virtues, especially sensitive to situation, especially flexible and clever in negotiation and delicate in behavior. Foreign relation cadres should foster manners including thorough consideration, flexible actions and expertise; capability in terms of profession and foreign languages. Diplomatic cadres should train to possess firm political and ideological acumen, to resolutely fight against “self-evolution”, “self-transformation” and to defend themselves and Party organizations. Each diplomatic cadre should know how to glorify the image of the Vietnamese people and country.

It is possible to say that at present we boast a new generation of diplomatic cadres who are intelligent, understanding, eager to learn and relatively professional. However, there are people who do not work wholeheartedly, do not want to read, to research and thus can not keep up with regional foreign language and professional standards. Subjectivity, loss of vigilance and fade of ideal are still found. I demand the caucus of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and party committees of the sector to pay utmost attention to the work of human resource development while leading the implementation the Resolution of the 4th Central Committee Plenum of the 11th Tenure and Directive 03 of the Politburo on continuing to learn and follow President Ho Chi Minh moral example.

In the thousand-year long history of national construction and defense of Viet Nam, especially in the past half a century, a diplomacy with its own traditions and identity has taken shape and is associated with Ho Chi Minh’s diplomatic ideology. It is possible to say that the modern diplomacy of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam has succeeded and creatively applied the essence of our ancestor’s diplomacy, combining Oriental traditions with selected practices of Western diplomacy to make its own identity.

I believe that encouraging achievements in external relation activities of the diplomatic sector in particular and of external relation forces in general will consititute a great driving force which pushes forward the renovation process and international integration and implementation of the Resolution 28 of the Central Committee and Resolution 22 of the 11th Politburo. Issues discussed at this conference, especially recommendations on policies should be practical to contribute to solving problems we are facing and bring our renovation to new successes to live up with the Party’s will and people’s aspiration.

On the occasion of the new year 2014 and the coming lunar year of Giap Ngo, on behalf of the Party and State, I would like to wish you good health, happiness and successes. I wish the conference success./.

This article was published on Communist Review, No 855 (January 2014)

Nguyen Phu TrongGeneral Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Viet Nam