Ambassador Chau said that despite experiencing a 2020 full of uncertainties, the country successfully overcame challenges and yielded important results, thereby adding fresh impetus to the successful implementation of the Resolution adopted during the 12th National Party Congress.
According to the local diplomat, the nation has achieved several successes, including enhancing its reputation and position both regionally and internationally. Although there are numerous difficulties ahead and only limited resources to deal with them, the country has made every effort to strengthen solidarity, co-operation, and collaborating with others on measures to combat the pandemic.
Indeed, the nation has provided masks, medical supplies, and finance to 51 countries and international organisations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, enhanced economic diplomacy has allowed the country to attract additional resources for the purpose of national development. This includes the effective implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the ratification of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA). In addition, moves were made to accelerate the conclusion of negotiations towards the successful signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), with diplomacy yielding plenty of opportunities for the country.
Moreover, peace and stability have been maintained, while sovereignty, sovereignty rights, and legitimate interests in the East Sea, known internationally as the South China Sea, have been protected. Vietnam has actively co-operated alongside ASEAN member states and other concerned partners to promote peace, co-operation, the rule of law, and the peaceful settlement of disputes at sea.
This has taken place while emphasising that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS) is a foundation for determining the legitimate rights and interests of all parties, whilst also serving as a framework to govern maritime activities. Major countries, including India, have also expressed a clear view on the East Sea issue, putting forward their support for a rule-based order. In line with this, it has called on parties to respect international law, the UNCLOS, and the peaceful settling of disputes.
Multilateral diplomacy has also seen drastic changes made to building and shaping important multilateral institutions, with the country successfully taking on the dual role of serving as ASEAN Chair and non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. This has seen many initiatives put into practice in the context of the world bracing efforts to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most notably, the nation led ASEAN to overcome many challenges and respond effectively to the impact of the pandemic. It has been able to stay flexible in organising a broad array of conferences, particularly the 36th and 37th ASEAN Summits, along with high-level meetings with key dialogue partners involving the the adoption of over 80 documents as a step to speeding up the ASEAN Community building process.
With regard to the UN Security Council, the nation proposed for the first time that December 27 be observed as International Day of Epidemic Preparedness each year.
Vietnamese external relations with other countries have also continued to be strengthened. Last year, saw the nation upgrade its relations with New Zealand to a strategic partnership, bringing the total number of strategic partnerships to 17, and comprehensive partnerships to 13.
Finally, citizen protection and mobilisation of the Vietnamese community abroad have been promptly deployed amid the COVID-19 epidemic. Last year saw relevant agencies arrange 260 flights aimed at safely bringing home 73,000 citizens from 59 countries and territories globally.
According to Ambassador Chau, to continue promoting the pioneering role of Vietnamese diplomacy, it remains necessary to find ways to realise national interests. Of the three interests in security, development, and global position, priority must be given to development interests, thereby capitalising on every opportunity to develop into a rich and powerful nation
“Vietnam is poised to become a developed country with modern industries, surpassing the low average by 2025. It will move to become a high-middle income nation by 2030, a developed country with high income by 2045. Therefore, the diplomatic sector alongside other relevant ministries need to develop specific strategies and policies aimed at achieving the set targets,” the ambassador said.
This means that external activities must be managed uniformly to improve efficiency, with a specific focus on key tasks, while also underlining the need to ensure the Party's unified leadership and direction, in addition to the State's centralised management of foreign affairs and international integration.
It is therefore imperative to build a contingent of professional and sharp-witted diplomats who have political firmness, a capable research capacity, and great bravery in order to properly handle any possible scenario, the local diplomat added.