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The Party’s external relations contribute to lay an important political foundation for Vietnam's ties with other countries
2/5/2018 15:38' Send Print
Member of the Party Central Committee, Head of the Party Central Commission for External Relations Hoang Binh Quan. Photo: VNA

In 2017, the world and regional situation developed rapidly and complicatedly, containing restless, uncertain and sudden elements. making multi-dimensional impacts on security and development environment of countries. Global and regional governance mechanisms faced with challenges and at the same time played decreasing role in addressing security, climate change and other development issues. Less attention was given to respect for and observance of international law, posing quite a few challenges to resolving contradictions and disputes based on international law. Power use, imposition, promotion, threat and willful use of force in international relations tended to increase, causing unsecure psychology, especially among small and medium countries. Disputes about sovereignty over borders, territory, sea and islands developed complicatedly. Big powers pushed for strategic ambitions and goals in areas, so competition and force gathering were complex. Pragmatism, nationalism, and populism emerged strongly in many countries. Trade protection and economic benefits tended to grow. Capitalization of democratic and human right issues to step up interference in the internal affairs of countries and regions continued to evolve complicatedly. Internal unrest and security “hot spots,” especially the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, the Korean Peninsula and the East Sea saw new complicated developments. Terrorism, non-traditional security issues, particularly cyber-security, natural disasters, and environment increasingly caused negative impacts on the development and security of nations. Though the world economy positively recovered, there remained many risks. Economic inequality, social polarization also had negative impacts on security and social cohesion in many countries.

In that context, as a ruling communist party, our Party continued to actively expand and strengthen relations with political parties in the world, as the foundation and political force for relations between Vietnam with other countries based on the principle of independence, self-reliance, equality, mutual respect, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, ensuring national interests, considering maintaining a peaceful and stable environment for national development and defending territorial sovereignty top priority tasks, contributing positively to the common struggle for peace, national independence, democracy and social progress in the world.

Achievements of the Party's external relations in 2017

First, the relationship between our Party and ruling parties of socialist and neighboring countries having the same borderlines was strengthened with important development steps, contributing to strengthening trust, creating an important political foundation, and overall orientation for comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and other countries.

Our Party has strengthened in-depth relations with the Lao People's Revolutionary Party. The political trust and special solidarity between the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Lao People's Revolutionary Party were increasingly tightened. External relation activities were successfully organized, namely the 55th anniversary of diplomatic ties (5 September 1962-5 September 2017) and the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Vietnam-Laos Friendship and Cooperation Agreement (18 July 1977-18 July 2017), exchange of high-level delegations with various contents in diversified and practical forms, demonstrating vividly the traditional friendship, special solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos. In 2017, through party channel, the two sides exchanged 39 delegations led by high-ranking leaders of the two parties; at the same time, successful organized the Vietnam-Laos, Laos-Vietnam Friendship and Solidarity Year during the visit to Vietnam in December 2017 of the General Secretary and President of the Republic of Laos Bounnhang Vorachit. Mechanisms of cooperation between the two parties were reformed and deepened, focusing on strategic issues, concrete and practical contents. The two Parties also successfully organized the 5th Theoretical Conference with the theme "Rapid and Sustainable Development" in August 2017. Our Party paid much attention to promoting cooperation in the training of officials and education on traditional and special relations between Vietnam and Laos for the young generation of the two countries. This is both the foundation and depth of bilateral relations. Vietnam also conducted three training courses for 111 high-ranking officials and 12 professional refresher courses for 190 senior managers of Laos.

The relationship between the Communist Party of Vietnam and the Communist Party of China continued playing an important role in shaping and guiding the stable development of the two countries' relations. The year 2017 was a special one in bilateral relations with the exchange of two very important visits. In early 2017, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong paid an official visit to China and in late 2017, General Secretary and President of China Xi Jinping paid an official visit to Vietnam. This was the first visit to a foreign country of President Xi Jinping after the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China in October 2017. This was also the first time in the history of Vietnam and China relations, the General Secretary of the two parties exchanged visits in the same year. Meetings and exchanges between top leaders strengthened mutual understanding, reaching important common perceptions, thereby increasing political trust between the two countries, controlling and settling disagreements including the East Sea issue. The political trust between the two countries was also manifested through the exchange of special envoys sent by the two leaders to congratulate and inform the other of the Congresses’ results soon after the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China. Last year, the two parties successfully organized the 13th Theoretical Seminar entitled "Strengthening the Party's leadership towards the press and media in the new situation-Vietnam experience, China experience” in May 2017; and the second meeting of the two Politburos’ representatives. The two sides also strengthened cooperation in training cadres, contributing to promoting substantial cooperation between the two parties.

The political relationship between our Party and the Cambodian People's Party was boosted, playing an important role in strengthening the political foundation between the two countries. High-level delegations of the two parties were exchanged during the year which marked the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations (24 June 1967- 24 June 2017) and the Vietnam- Cambodia, Cambodia-Vietnam Solidarity and Friendship Year. In particular, the visit of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to Cambodia in July 2017 marked a historic milestone, and was an opportunity for the two sides to look back on the 50-year history of relations, capitalizing potential and bringing bilateral ties to a new high and making them more substantial and effective.

The friendship, solidarity, loyalty, purity, and trust between our Party and the Communist Party of Cuba were constantly tightened and deepened through the exchange of practical experiences and theories. The two parties successfully organized the third seminar on "Socio-economic Development Orientation and Political and Ideological Work in the Documents of the 12th Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam and the 7th Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba" in May -2017. This was an opportunity for the two parties to share experiences and discuss issues arising from each country's development practices, making an important contribution to clarifying the issues of development theory of each party, contributing to promote the good traditional political relations between the two parties.

Second, our Party's relations with ruling parties, political and important parties in the regional countries, big countries and important partners also made new breakthroughs, creating a political basis and motive force for further expanding Vietnam's relations with other countries, stepping up communication and taking advantage of assistance and cooperation of political parties, countries, and political circle toward Vietnam’s innovation and socio-economic development. As a ruling party, our Party attached importance to enhancing mutual understanding, exchange of experiences in national management and socio-economic management; fostering long-term stable relations and multi-faceted cooperation, equality and mutual benefits between Vietnam and other countries. The visits of historical significance of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong to Indonesia and Myanmar in August 2017 marked a significant change, consolidating and broadening cooperation with the two countries. With Indonesia, the visit deepened the strategic partnership, strengthened political trust, fostered substantive cooperation, and created a new stage in the relationship between the two countries. With Myanmar, the visit upgraded bilateral relation to comprehensive partnership, marking a new milestone and momentum for the comprehensive, substantial and effective relations between Vietnam and Myanmar. In addition, many visits made by members of the Standing Committee of the Secretariat, the Politburo, the Secretariat, the Party Central Committee to other countries promoted relations with many ruling parties, expanded relations with political parties, and the signing of many cooperation agreements laid the foundation for increasingly expanded external relations of the Party.

On the other hand, Vietnam also welcomed representatives of many ruling parties, political and other important parties from other countries, such as the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, the Japan Democratic Party, the ruling People’s Action Party of Singapore, the ruling Republican Proposal Party of Argentina, and the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists. Diplomatic missions in Vietnam, international organizations, high-level delegations of other countries and parties to Vietnam met or wished to work and contact our Party leaders as well as the Party's advisory bodies. This showed that ruling and political parties as well as political circle of other countries attached importance to and were better aware of the leading role of our Party. In general, political parties of other countries, regardless of political tendencies, expressed their desire to promote and strengthen cooperation with our Party, highly appreciated the leadership of our Party in maintaining political stability and socio-economic development. They hailed Vietnam's important contributions to peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world, supporting Vietnam's stance on regional as well as international issues.

Third, our Party's relations with communist, workers’ and leftist parties became more substantive. This is the traditional and important direction of our Party. While parties in the world are facing difficulties in many aspects, our Party set great store by and strove to strengthen solidarity, friendship and mutual support in the struggle for socialism based on Marxism-Leninism and pure internationalism of the working class; stepped up exchange of theoretical and practical issues on socialist construction, party building and other issues of today's world; actively and effectively participated in regional and international meetings, forums, and conferences of parties; united and cooperated in appropriate forms; actively contributed to recovering and developing the international communists and workers’ movement. On the other hand, with some other parties, Vietnam proactively deepened relations through organizing theoretical seminars, political dialogues, exchange of experiences, staff training, active participation in the activities of other parties, and welcoming delegations to visit and work in Vietnam.

Fourth, our Party proactively, actively and effectively took part in multilateral forums of political parties in the region and the world and made our international friends better and correctly understand the situation and progress of Vietnam's innovation. The Party mobilized political parties and circle to agree with Vietnam's position on regional and international issues, working towards national interests and enhancing Vietnam's position in the region and the world. Political parties within and outside the region positively valued the role and contribution of our Party in promoting unity, consensus and orientation of activity co ordinations in different forums in a more dynamic and substantial manner. Our Party actively participated in the 19th International Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties, the 100th anniversary of the Russian October Revolution, the International Conference of Communist and Workers’ Parties in India, the 23rd Sao Paulo Forum, and the 21st "Political Parties and New Society" Forum. As a member of the Standing Committee of the International Conference of Asian Political Parties (ICAPP), our Party proactively took part in ICAPP activities, made initiatives and practical contributions to the implementation of the objectives and priority projects of ICAPP, thus its role and prestige in ICAPP was recognized and respected.

Orientation and tasks of Party external relations in the coming time

The world is entering a period of rapid development with qualitative changes associated with the new scientific and technological revolution and fierce geopolitical competition. In 2018, many complicated and unpredictable changes in the region and the world will take place that will cause direct impacts on Vietnam’s security and development. In order to maintain peaceful and stable environment in the context of Vietnam’s increasing international integration, it is imperative to maximize external relations for national interests, independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. There is also a need to improve effectiveness of the management, coordination and direction of external activities; and ensure the unified leadership of the Party, and the centralized management of the State. In that spirit, the Party should focus on a number of major directions and tasks in external relations as follows:

First, synchronously, comprehensively and effectively coordinate the Party's external relations, State diplomacy and people-to-people relation to create synergy in foreign affairs.

Second, make a positive shift in research capability, forecast and strategic consultancy on external affairs of concerned ministries, branches and agencies; attach importance to renewing forms and contents of communication of foreign information.

Third, deepen and broaden with focus the Party's external relations, making them more affective and practical. Accordingly, in the coming time, it is necessary to deepen the Party's relations with political parties in the world on the basis of constantly strengthening political and strategic trust, fostering the foundation of traditional relations, the special relationship between our Party and the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, the Communist Party of China, the Cambodian People's Party, and the Communist Party of Cuba, create an increasingly solid political foundation, and uphold its role in orienting relations between Vietnam and other countries. Continue to proactively make a breakthrough in expanding relations with ruling and political parties in the region, big countries, and important partners for long-term stable relations. Strengthen solidarity, and mutual support among communist and workers' parties, leftist parties, other parties and national independent, revolutionary and progressive movements. Proactively and actively uphold position and prestige in multilateral forums of political parties. Conduct a preliminary review of the 5-year implementation of Conclusion No. 73-TB/TW on 8 February 2012 of the 11th Politburo on "Strengthening the Party's External Relations in the New Situation."

Fourth, effectively organize the Party and State leaders’ visits, especially of the Party General Secretary to create new imprints and driving force for our relations with important partners.

Building on important results achieved in 2017 and in the past years, the Party will continuously promote its positive, proactive, innovative, creative and effective external relations as one of the three key pillars of the diplomatic front, together with state diplomacy and people-to-people relations, contributing to maintaining a stable and peaceful environment for national development, firmly safeguarding territorial sovereignty, national independence and socialism, and successfully implementing the Resolution of the 12th Party Congress.

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This article was published in the Communist Review No. 904 (February 2018)

Hoang Binh QuanMember of the Party Central Committee, Head of the Central Commission for External Relations