The diplomatic sector in 2009 joined hands with the nation maintaining peace and stability, maximising national aggregated strength, and utilising all opportunities advancing the country towards development and international integration, said a senior government official.
In his review of the diplomatic sector’s performance in 2009, Deputy Prime Minister cum Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem emphasized that the sector contributed to heightening the country’s role, reinforcing its position, and promoting its strength in the international arena.
He stressed that in the context of the speed and complicated developments erupted in the world due to the global economic crisis of 2009, the entire Party and the people concentrated their efforts on weathering the negative impacts to press ahead and grow sustainably.
Under the current global situation, the Vietnamese diplomatic sector continues adhering to the foreign policy of independence, peace, cooperation and development, Deputy PM Khiem said.
By doing so, the diplomatic sector has brought into full play what it achieved over the past years and spared no effort to carry out external activities in a diverse, flexible, uniform, and broad-ranging manner, the Deputy PM noted.
In its efforts, the diplomatic sector has executed its mission to promote political, economic, and cultural diplomacy based on the close and harmonious coordination of diplomatic activities of the State, the Party and the people.
The Party and the State have for long defined priorities of external affairs, which included preserving a peaceful and stable environment, making the best use of external resources to help the national economy overcome difficulties, and exerting efforts to assume the assigned international affairs with the utmost responsibility to raise the country’s role and position, Deputy PM Khiem said.
He went on to note that in that spirit, international relations have been carried out proactively and positively in a uniform and comprehensive manner, focusing on their main set targets.
Regarding political diplomacy, Vietnam has continued to deepen its ties with neighbouring, regional and major countries and other important partners in a steady and cooperative manner, thus aiding to maintain a peaceful environment favourable for development, the Deputy PM said.
“The special ties with Laos and the comprehensive cooperation with Cambodia have been tightened in all areas,” Mr Khiem said, remarking the enhancement of economic relations with these two ties in particular.
He elaborated that the country has coordinated closely with Laos in deploying a project to upgrade and augment a system of markers on their shared border and has also worked with Cambodia to accelerate their demarcation and border marker planting work.
The official mentioned that the country’s wide-ranging cooperation with other Southeast Asian countries has been boosted multilaterally within the framework of ASEAN.
ASEAN member countries continued to be Vietnam’s leading economic partners, accounting for 20 percent of the national import-export values and investing in more than 1,300 projects with a total registered capital of US$44 billion, according to the government official.
The “comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership” with China continued to grow in line with the set motto and agreed cooperation with many activities held to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties and the “Vietnam-China Friendship Year-2010,” Mr Khiem noted.
He cited areas of importance including numerous exchanged visits between government representatives working diligently to elevate bilateral economic ties as well as striving to increase two-way trade turnover to US$25 billion in 2010.
The official also pointed out that the two countries completed the demarcation and the planting of land border markers and basically finalised the legal framework on land border with the conclusion of such important agreements as the one border management regulations, and another on border gates and land border gate management.
On the other hand, Vietnam has persistently contacted China in solving matters related to the East Sea and other issues arising in the bilateral relationship in order to maintain both the nation’s territorial sovereignty and friendship with China, Deputy PM Khiem said.
“We have taken initiative in promoting the relations and completed an important step in the process of establishing strategic partnership, comprehensive partnership and development partnership frameworks with major countries and industrialized countries,” he said.
Referring to the ties with the US, Khiem said the two countries have actively deployed the “friendship partnership, multi-dimensional cooperation, mutual respect and mutual benefit” relations.
In the last year, both countries have exchanged working visits at all levels, organized their second political-security-defence dialogue, boosted economic, trade and investment cooperation, and worked together to promote the US’s cooperation with countries bordering along the lower part of the Mekong river.
“We advocate to converse with the US on democratic, human right and religious issues on which the two sides have different views, and work together in addressing humanitarian matters left from the war. We, at the same time, resolutely fight acts in violation of national sovereignty, harming the country’s security,” Mr Khiem said.
Meanwhile, Vietnam’s strategic partnership with Russia continued to deepen, the official noted, explaining that the two countries have collaborated closely to carry out the implementation of prioritized cooperative issues, especially in the field of energy, oil and gas, telecommunication, defence and infrastructure.
Vietnam has promoted its bilateral ties with Japan and the Republic of Korea to strategic partnership with the focus on economic and development cooperation, said Deputy PM Khiem.
He also affirmed that the country has made practical progress in its ties with the European Union after five rounds of talks regarding their Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) along with stepping up bilateral relations with EU members, particularly in economy and development.
“In its foreign policy of diversification and multilateralisation, Vietnam continues to treasure and pay attention to boosting its relations with traditional friend countries via bilateral cooperation forms and multilateral mechanisms,” said Khiem.
The outstanding outcome was to exchange high-level visits and expand cooperation in a wide range of fields with Cuba , the official noted.
By doing so, the unity and trust between the Parties, the States and the people of the two countries have been strengthened in the ideological and political fronts and in specific cooperative projects.
Multilateral diplomatic activities in 2009 contributed to the improvement of Vietnam’s status in the international arena and facilitated the country’s bilateral diplomacy efforts.
Significant landmarks included Vietnam ’s successful performance as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council during the 2008-2009 period when the country tactfully addressed complicated issues and took on several initiatives and resolutions. Vietnam made significant contributions to the implemention of the ASEAN charter and building of the ASEAN Community by actively and responsibly cooperating with other member countries. In addition, Vietnam is making all-out efforts to fulfil its mission as the ASEAN president in 2010.
Vietnam has successfully organised the ASEM Foreign Ministers’ meeting (FMM9), participated and made important contributions to various critical multilateral forums such as the 15th ASEAN summit, the 17th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, the Mekong-Japan Summit and the Copenhagen summit on climate change. These activities demonstrated Vietnam ’s desire to always be an active and responsible member of the international community.
In effort to demonstrate its dedication towards democracy, human rights and religion, Vietnam has successfully made the UN Human Rights Council endorse its national report under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism and received positive remarks from other countries. It has actively held dialogues with Western countries on human rights issues and properly resolved many complex issues in order to ensure national security.
Economic diplomacy has helped Vietnam to mitigate adverse impacts of the global financial crisis. By doing so, Vietnam has sensibly integrated more economy-related issues into the political working agendas of high-ranking officials, accelerated the negotiation for and implementation of economic agreements, sped up economic promotion activities to maintain and expand export markets and increased cooperation with not only global leading countries but also other countries of high potential in trade, investment and tourism areas.
Activities for the “2009 Cultural Diplomacy Year” were vigorously implemented, gaining positive results. Vietnam gained UNESCO recognition for Cham island, Ca Mau cape, Bac Ninh love duets and “ca tru” (ceremonial singing) as world heritages. Vietnam ’s election to the UNESCO Executive Board was also an important victory from the country’s efforts in cultural campaigns. Dissemination of information to promote Vietnam ’s foreign relations was improved in terms of both content and forms. This helped the country to timely inform the world of the latest guidelines and policies of the State and the Party, which contributed to gain international support and address bogus claims of oppression in Vietnam.
Matters concerning overseas Vietnamese working abroad, identified as being the central point of the country’s foreign policy, saw tremendous changes. A series of policies helped bring more benefits to the overseas Vietnamese in terms of citizenship, visa waivers, residence, rights to housing purchases and ownership was issued and synchronously implemented. Notably, the first Overseas Vietnamese Conference and the congress to set up the Overseas Vietnamese Business Association were successfully held, increasing the affection towards the homeland among overseas Vietnamese.
Along with the State’s diplomatic activities, the Party’s foreign relations were also carried out effectively and contributed to strengthen solidarity, cooperation and mutual trust with ruling parties in the world, especially with neighbouring countries.
The National Assembly also markedly contributed to the country’s achievements in foreign affairs, expanding relations with foreign parliaments.
In addition, much appreciation was given to the role of people-to-people, which has attracted more and more participants and expanded to more regions.
Local foreign affairs received much attention and assistance from the diplomatic sector.
Foreign affair initiatives were also accelerated with the implementation of the Law on Vietnam’s Representative Offices in Foreign Countries and the amendment and promulgation of regulations relating to management of foreign activities.
In 2010, the world and regional situations are forecast to be complicated, affecting the country’s security and development environment.
Peace, cooperation and development are a major trend. The Asia and the Pacific have seen sign of recovery and growth. However, the world economy still faces many difficulties and will cause impact on the Vietnamese economy. Global issues like epidemics and climate change may be more serious and the Asian region may have new complications.
With those forecasts, Vietnam plans to maintain economic growth, boost reform and ensure political stability, and fulfil the 2006-2010 socio-economic development plan and the 2001-2010 socio-economic strategy.
The Party and people look at 2010 as of great significance and prepare for the 10 th National Party Congress and many major anniversaries of the country, including the Grand Ceremony to celebrate the millennial anniversary of Thang Long-Hanoi.
In foreign affairs, Vietnam will assume the Presidency of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Presidency of the ASEAN-Inter Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) and host the East Asia Economic Forum.
Successfully taking those tasks and organising those events would help Vietnam raise its position and create favourable conditions for its implementation of global objectives including independence, expansion, diversification and multilateralisation.
The country’s achievements in 2009 marked a new development step of Vietnam ’s diplomacy on the way of development and integration of the nation.
Those successes are considered to create impetus for the country’s diplomacy to steadily develop in the 2010.
Under the leadership of the Party and State, the comprehensive diplomacy is believed to fulfill important tasks of foreign affairs in 2010 to welcome the XIth Party National Congress and the goal of developing the country, raising the nation’s international position and bringing the country equal to other countries in the five continents.
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