Sunday, 18/2/2018
Join hands for rapid and sustainable national development
14/2/2018 16:58' Send Print
President Tran Dai Quang. Photo: VNA

With joint efforts of the entire Party, people and army, we have fulfilled and surpassed the main targets for socio-economic development in 2017. Mr. President, can you speak briefly about the outstanding achievements of country?

President Tran Dai Quang: It can be affirmed that for the first time in many years we fulfilled and even overfulfilled all 13 socio-economic development targets set by the National Assembly. Macro economy is stable, inflation is under control, and budget revenues and large balances of the economy met the set requirements.

GDP growth reached 6.81%, import-export turnover bagged US$425 billion, the highest ever, foreign direct investment (FDI) reached a record height of over $33 billion. The association of economic development with solving social problems, especially hunger eradication, poverty reduction, and health care has gained very encouraging results. National defense, security, political security, law and order and safety have been maintained. Much attention has been given to leading and directing the work of building a clean and strong Party and political system, thus important results have been achieved.

Achievements in all fields have contributed to consolidating confidence, creating an atmosphere of elation in the whole society, and a favorable momentum for the country to continue its sustainable development, which is recognized and appreciated by the international community. The United Nations ranked Vietnam's Sustainable Development Index in 2017 at 68 out of 157 countries and territories, up 20 places compared to 2016.

The year 2017 marked the success of Vietnam on external relations, can you assess Vietnam’s outstanding achievements in foreign affairs in the past year?

President Tran Dai Quang: The year 2017 is a special year in Vietnam’s diplomatic history. In the context of rapid , complex and unpredictable changes in the world and regional situation, foreign affairs were actively and positively carried out and tremendous achievements in the implementation of the strategic objectives and interests of the country have been gained.

First and foremost, it was the great success of the APEC Vietnam Year 2017 and the 25th APEC Summit where Vietnam successfully assumed its role as the host, making it a historic milestone in the process of economic and political linking in the Asia-Pacific region, demonstrating Vietnam’s status, acumen and wisdom. Vietnam made a number of initiatives, and priorities, flexibly and creatively organized events, overcame differences and created consensus so it did not only maintain APEC's cooperation and linkage, but also contributed to building the strategic vision of APEC for the coming decades.

We strengthened our cooperation with neighboring countries, regions, major partner countries, and traditional friends. Leaders of Vietnam and other countries conducted many visits and exchanges of high-level delegations. In particular, there were dozens of high-level visits between Vietnam and leading countries in the region and the world. Never before, within a day, did we welcome top leaders of China and the United States in State visits to Vietnam.

Foreign affairs contributed to taking advantage of important external resources for national development. In the context of uneven and unstable global economic recovery, and the growing trend of trade protectionism, we strongly promoted economic, trade and investment cooperation with other countries in both bilateral and multilateral channels, and contributed significantly to shaping economic and trade links in the region.

During of the APEC Summit Week, we played an active role in maintaining and promoting the progressive and comprehensive negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Trade activities and foreign investment attraction in 2017 achieved good results beyond expectation.

Foreign affairs, international integration and cooperation in the fields of diplomacy, national defense and security through bilateral and multilateral channels contributed to firmly defending sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, national security, social order and safety and the strategic interests of the country. In ASEAN, we made a very important contribution to strengthening solidarity, consensus and common voice on strategic issues in the region. Security and defense dialogues and cooperation mechanisms with neighboring countries, regions and major partner countries, Vietnam's active participation in multilateral security and defense forums as well as the United Nations peacekeeping operations strengthened the political trust between Vietnam and other countries, promoting our position and prestige in the international arena.

The APEC Year 2017 was the highlight of Vietnam's foreign affairs last year, affirming its position and strength in multilateral diplomacy. As the President of the 25th APEC Summit, can you speak about the significance of this biggest multilateral foreign relation event?

President Tran Dai Quang: The APEC Vietnam Year 2017, with the 25th APEC Summit as the focus, taking place in Da Nang City from 6 to 11 November was very successful. This was a remarkable achievement in external relations of the entire Party, people and army, contributing to enhancing APEC's role as the leading regional economic cooperation mechanism in a rapidly changing world with turning-point developments. That success marked a new milestone in the process of international integration and multilateral relations, contributing to the consolidation of the trend of peace, cooperation, development and enhancing Vietnam’s prestige and position in the international arena.

The 25th APEC Summit brought Vietnam into the world spotlight. All APEC economic leaders and leaders of the three guest countries including Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar attended the APEC Summit. In addition, more than 21,000 people took part in activities of the APEC Year 2017 and more than 11,000 people participated in the APEC Summit Week. All these constituted a record number of attendees in APEC history. This shows the strategic position and the great role of Vietnam in the region, commitments of member economies to the APEC cooperation process, as well as the international community's concern for APEC and Vietnam. Leaders of APEC economies highly valued Vietnam’s role in leading, and initiating ideas and initiatives to bring APEC to consensus on many issues and towards building a common future.

A record number of more than 4,000 businesspeople participating in APEC Summit events demonstrated APEC's entrepreneurial and startup spirit and creativity, affirming that APEC is a forum for people and businesses, at the same time, opening up new prospects for investment, trade and business growth in the Asia-Pacific region and Vietnam.

In particular, the APEC Year 2017 was also an occasion for Vietnam to commemorate milestones in the history of multilateral foreign relations, especially the 40th anniversary of the Vietnam's accession to the United Nations (1977-2017), and 20th anniversary of joining APEC (1998-2018). The results achieved in APEC Year 2017 will create momentum for Viet Nam to assume major international responsibilities in coming years, including its candidacies for the United Nations Security Council in the 2020-2021 term and ASEAN Chairman in 2020.

The success of the APEC Year 2017 also laid the groundwork for raising bilateral relations between Vietnam and its partners. During the APEC Summit Week, historic bilateral visits were made with dozens of bilateral meetings and contacts. Particularly, Party General Secretary and President of China Xi Jinping paid a State level visit to Vietnam immediately after the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China; and for the first time, a President of the United States, President Donald Trump, paid a State level to Vietnam in the first year of his term.

The success of the APEC Year 2017 and the 25th APEC Summit again reaffirmed multilateral diplomacy’s important role and contribution through out the process of national construction and defense. In the context of the new international situation with many changes, building on the results of the APEC Year 2017 and multilateral foreign relations, we will continue to take advantage of broad support and efficiently mobilize resources for the comprehensive and synchronous renovation; lay the foundations for furthering and deepening bilateral relations; facilitate international integration of ministries, committees, branches, localities and enterprises across the country, contribute to ensure a peaceful, and stable environment, firmly defend independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and enhance Vietnam’s international role and status. This is an important foundation for us to continue implementing objectives and tasks set forth by the 12th Congress of the Party.

Along with both internal and external relation achievements, we also identify limitations that need to be overcome. As the Head of State, what are you concerns?

President Tran Dai Quang: We are happy and feel proud of the great achievements of the country, at the same time must seriously and frankly look at our limitations.

Quality of growth is not yet high, in some sectors and fields the growth rate is slow; there are constraints in many mechanisms, policies and regulations; administrative procedures in some areas are cumbersome; corruption, waste and negative phenomena still occur in many places, many complaints and denunciations have not been resolved; many projects progress slowly with low efficiency and loss; restructuring of agricultural, industrial and service sectors in some regions and localities is still slow and not effective; waste is found in resource exploitation; effective solutions have not yet been taken to address environmental pollution in rural areas and craft villages.

In addition, child abuse, domestic violence, negative phenomena, degradation of ethics and lifestyles cause public resentment; natural disasters, floods and storms, caused heavy loss in lives and property, seriously affecting people’s production and life; ethnic minorities living in remote and mountainous areas, and disaster-prone regions as well as the poor are still facing many difficulties.

The above-mentioned limitations are obstacles on the path of national development. It is important that we look straight into the truth, and proactively propose solutions to overcome.

The year 2018 is the pivotal year of the five-year Socio-Economic Development Plan 2016-2020, can you evaluate advantages and disadvantages of the country?

President Tran Dai Quang: The National Assembly approved key targets for socio-economic development in 2018 which are GDP growth stands at 6.5-6.7%; macro-economy is stabilized, inflation is under control; clear changes to be made in implementing three strategic breakthroughs, renovation of growth model in association with economic restructuring, and improvement of growth quality, productivity and competitiveness of the economy.

We have very fundamental advantages including stable political and social situation, increasing role and prestige in the international arena, and confidence in the prospects of development of the country. Vietnam has a lot of potentials for development and especially we have gained great achievements of historical significance and learned valuable lessons from the 30 years of renewal.

There are advantages, opportunities, difficulties and challenges in domestic and world situation; Vietnam has confronted new problems, and bigger and more complicated requirements for national renewal and development and protection of national independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. In particular, labor is no longer a competitive advantage due to the impact of the fourth industrial revolution; when Vietnam's economy opens widely, it will be much affected by the world economic situation.

In that context, we have to bring into full play the strength of solidarity, self-reliance, and take advantage of opportunities and overcome challenges to go forward.

People throughout the country are concerned with the prevention of corruption and waste. How do you evaluate corruption and waste prevention in the past year?

President Tran Dai Quang: Over the past time, with resolute leadership and direction of the Party Central Committee, the Politburo, the Central Steering Committee for Corruption Prevention, and efforts of competent agencies and people’s support, the fight against corruption and waste has achieved very important results. Many big cases, causing serious damage to property of the State and people have been investigated, prosecuted and tried; many assets have been recovered; and perpetrators have been put to justice.

However, corruption and waste are still one of the four dangers threatening the survival of the Party and the regime. Therefore, the Party and State have affirmed their determination to continue leading and directing regularly and continuously the fight against corruption, waste and mobilizing the strength of the entire people to actively participate in the combat corruption and waste, considering it as one of the key tasks of 2018 and the following years.

Together with actively fighting against corruption and waste, it is necessary to continue effectively implementing the resolutions of the Central Committee, especially the resolutions of the 4th Plenum of the Party Central Committee, 11th and 12th Tenures on strengthening the Party building and rectification. Each cadre and party member must be exemplary and righteous, and take lead in the fight against corruption and waste. The higher positions, the higher responsibility cadres must take and act as the core elements in discovering and combating crimes, including economic crimes and corruption, thereby contributing to the building of a clean and strong Party, Stare apparatus and political system. The fight against corruption must be resolute; there must be no prohibited area and the assets illegally gained by perpetrators that must be recovered.

To prevent and step by step repel corruption and waste all levels, branches, agencies and units must consider it one of the key tasks; and pay attention to leading, directing, making concrete and practical action plans. The Fatherland Front and other committees, branches, mass organizations and mass media agencies should strengthen their supervision, detection and coordination in fighting and facilitating people’s actively participation in this work.

On the threshold of the new year, what message do you want to extend to compatriots, soldiers nationwide, and overseas Vietnamese?

President Tran Dai Quang: Vietnam is still facing many difficulties, but its great achievements, increasingly higher status, synergy, and prestige in the international arena are important premise for implementing objectives and tasks set forth by the 12th Congress of the Party.

I believe that in the new spirit people in the delta as well as in remote and mountainous areas, both inside and outside the country will promote the spirit of patriotism, the will of self-reliance and great national unity, join hands to make our country develop quickly and sustainably and firmly defend the socialist Fatherland of Vietnam.

On the occasion of the new year 2018 and in anticipation of the traditional Lunar New Year Mau Tuat, I wish all Vietnamese compatriots and soldiers, overseas Vietnamese good health, happiness and successes.

Thank you very much, Mr. President!

Source: VNA