|Le Hoai Trung, Secretary of the Party Central Committee and Chairman of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations__Photo: VNA
Amid numerous difficulties and uncertainties in the global situation last year, Vietnam has obtained significant results, making breakthroughs and historic achievements. These have become a “highly impressive bright spot” in the country’s achievements over the last more than half of the 13th National Party Congress as assessed by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong.
Le Hoai Trung, Secretary of the Party Central Committee and Chairman of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations, made the comment in an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency on the outstanding achievements in 2023 and orientations for foreign affairs in 2024.
First, he noted, the foreign policy identified at the 13th National Party Congress attaches importance to neighboring countries. Last year, Vietnam continued enhancing political trust, expanding cooperation, creating new milestones, and consolidating relations with neighboring nations.
With regard to China, the successful visit to Vietnam from December 12-13, 2023 by General Secretary of the Communist Party of China and President of China Xi Jinping, his spouse, and a high-ranking Party and State delegation of China, and the trip to China from October 30 to November 1, 2022 by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong right after the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China were historic landmarks in the relations between the two Parties and the two countries. These particularly important events intensified and elevated the Vietnam - China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, helped build a strategic community with a shared future, and created new and important favorable conditions for developing the bilateral ties more steadily, stably, and practically.
To Laos and Cambodia – the two neighboring countries holding special positions and importance, the second high-level meeting in 30 years among the top leaders of the three Parties of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia on September 7, 2023, the Vietnamese Party leader’s bilateral meetings with his counterparts of the other two countries, the meetings among the three countries’ Prime Ministers, and the three countries’ first Parliamentary Summit on December 5, 2023 strongly affirmed that their special solidarity, close-knit ties, and mutual support are objectively inevitable, vital, and also a factor of leading importance to the security and development of each nation. Vietnam’s economic ties with the other two countries were identified as breakthrough fields while defense - security cooperation also made new progress, Trung continued.
He noted that General Secretary Trong, other key Party and State leaders of Vietnam, and leaders of other Southeast Asian countries paid many mutual visits, exchanged opinions, and held meetings via different forms to enhance mutual understanding and outline orientations for cooperation in bilateral aspects and within the ASEAN framework, thus meeting demand of each country and ASEAN in the new context.
Vietnam joined hands with China, Laos, and Cambodia in improving the effectiveness of border management, combating crimes, dealing with issues emerging in a timely manner, and gaining new results in the building of land borders of peace, cooperation, and development.
Besides, Vietnam coordinated with the neighboring coastal countries to boost partnerships in multiple areas and promote contact mechanisms on sea-related issues, he said, adding that it also persistently and resolutely protected its rights and legitimate interests in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and actively contributed to the maintenance of peace and stability and the enhancement of cooperation in the East Sea.
Second, Vietnam actively implemented the 13th National Party Congress’s policy on further promoting and strengthening bilateral cooperation with partners, especially strategic partners, comprehensive partners, and other important ones, the official went on.
Trung elaborated that during the visit to Vietnam by US President Joe Biden from September 10-11, 2023 at the invitation of Party General Secretary Trong, the two sides established the “Comprehensive strategic partnership for peace, cooperation, and sustainable development”. As a result, for the first time since the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, now the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, in 1945 – which was also the year of the UN’s establishment, Vietnam is a strategic partner or comprehensive strategic partner with all permanent members of the UN Security Council.
He said that from May 21-23 last year, Dmitry Medvedev, Chairman of the United Russia Party and Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, visited Vietnam and had talks with Party General Secretary Trong. Via the trip, Vietnam showed the importance it has attached to sound relations with Russia, the latter’s effective and precious assistance for the Southeast Asian nation during wartime and for national construction and protection, the strategic importance of bilateral ties, and the continued promotion of the two countries’ comprehensive strategic partnership in a way matching each nation’s conditions, thereby contributing to peace, cooperation, and development in Asia-Pacific and the world.
Meanwhile, the Vietnam - India comprehensive strategic partnership continued to flourish in various areas, including politics, trade, and defense, the official said, noting that India views Vietnam as one of its leading partners in the region.
In late 2023, Vietnam and Japan elevated bilateral relations to a Comprehensive strategic partnership for peace and prosperity in Asia and the world.
During a visit to Vietnam by President of the Republic of Korea Yoon Suk Yeol from June 22-24, 2023, the two countries exchanged 17 cooperation documents that match the orientations of their comprehensive strategic partnership set up in December 2022, Trung said.
Trung highlighted new strides in Vietnam’s relations with Australia, New Zealand, others in the South Pacific, the European Union and its members, and the UK. He also mentioned the countries having traditional friendship with Vietnam, especially Cuba, as well as the nations currently showing new roles in the Middle East and Africa like Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkey, South Africa, and Tanzania. By establishing diplomatic relations with The Bahamas, and Trinidad and Tobago, Vietnam now has diplomatic ties with all 33 countries in Latin America.
In addition, during a trip to the Holy See by President Vo Van Thuong in July 2023, the two sides agreed on the Status of the Resident Papal Representative and the Office of the Resident Papal Representative in Vietnam at the 10th session of the Joint Working Group between Vietnam and the Holy See in March 2023. Last December, the Pope appointed the first Resident Papal Representative in Vietnam.
Third, other important aspects of external affairs and diplomacy were also promoted and reaped encouraging results, the official stated.
In particular, economic diplomacy actively helped boost socio-economic recovery and development after the COVID-19 pandemic and grasp opportunities to meet new development demand of the country. The issues of economy, trade, investment, official development assistance (ODA), science - technology, labor, and legitimate economic interests of the Vietnamese State, businesses, and people were among major issues discussed between Vietnam and partners, particularly during high-level meetings and visits. Vietnam remained a leading country in participating in multilateral trade, economic, and investment frameworks and initiatives, thus expanding its economic cooperation chances with many partners.
Besides, multilateral diplomacy in external relations of the Party, State, and people considerably helped bring into play the role of international institutions and laws, strengthen cooperation in the settlement of common issues, and promote national interests, he remarked, affirming that Vietnam is an active and responsible member of the international community as seen in its engagement in global efforts in response to climate change.
Fourth, Trung added, researching, forecasting, and advising activities related to external relations were carried out frequently and involved the close coordination among relevant agencies, serving as an important basis for implementing the Party and State’s foreign policy and responding to new issues in a timely manner. The research on the foreign policy style of “Vietnamese bamboo” and the publication of the Party General Secretary’s book on the building and development of comprehensive and modern diplomacy deeply imbued with the characteristics of “Vietnamese bamboo” also attracted great attention from the public in the country and the world.
The significant results of external affairs in 2023, along with the achievements assessed as “bright spots” of the last half of the 13th National Party Congress, have brought into play the role of external relations, identified by the 13th National Party Congress as the pioneer in creating and maintaining a peaceful and stable environment, mobilizing external resources for development, raising Vietnam’s stature and prestige, and generating new strategic opportunities so that the country can enhance foreign relations, secure a favorable complexion of external relations, and capitalize on new and important conditions to realize the industrialization, modernization, and national development targets set by the 13th National Party Congress.
The implementation results of Vietnam’s foreign policy also had many international impacts such as contributing to common affairs of the international community, consolidating the role of ASEAN and developing countries, and reflecting the significance of a foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, friendship, cooperation, development, and diversification and multilateralization of foreign relations in the current world, according to the official.
He attributed the success of Vietnam’s external relations firstly to the fortune, strength, and international stature and prestige that the country has never had as it does nowadays; the Party’s sound guideline for foreign relations and the foreign policy style deeply imbued with the characteristics of “Vietnamese bamboo”; and the leadership of the Party Central Committee, with the direct and regular leadership of the Political Bureau and the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee, headed by General Secretary Trong.
The Party leader, State President, Prime Minister, National Assembly Chairman, along with the Permanent member of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat, Politburo members, members of the Secretariat, the Vice State President, Deputy PMs, and National Assembly Vice Chairpersons directly engaged in important diplomatic activities, thus strongly stepping up the implementation of the Party and State’s foreign policy, particularly towards major and important partners.
Underlining the coordination among the three pillars of the Party’s, State’s, and people’s external relations, Trung noted officials of the Party at all levels met and worked with not only those of foreign political parties but also the governments and people’s organizations of other countries. When visiting Vietnam via the State channel, international partners also wished to meet with leaders of the Vietnamese Party, which showed that they are knowledgeable about and respect Vietnam’s political regime as well as the stature, role, and prestige of the Party and its leaders.
Talking about the orientations for external relations in 2024, Trung said Vietnam will continue implementing the foreign policy identified at the 13th National Party Congress, adhere to General Secretary Trong’s directions given at the recent national conference on external affairs and the 32nd diplomatic conference, and focus on the leading task of sustaining a peaceful and stable environment and firmly protecting the country's independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity.
Another important thing is to effectively carry out the agreements with international partners and make use of new and favorable strategic opportunities, he added.- (VNA/VLLF)