Vietnam’s 45-year UN membership: New position anticipates new chances

Vietnam’s admission to the United Nations (UN) on September 20, 1977 was of great significance, given that the war had just ended and national reunification had been regained in the Southeast Asian country.

On September 20, 1977, the Vietnam flag hoisting ceremony was officially held at the UN headquarters, marking Vietnam’s admission as the 149th member of this largest global organisation. In photo: Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Nguyen Duy Trinh (second from right) attends the ceremony (File Photo: VNA)

At that time, Vietnam was a symbol of the national liberation movement, winning a lot of love from mankind. However, apart from the joy of independence and national reunification, the country had to face many difficulties, as it had an outdated economy and technology, and was still besieged and embargoed by many nations.

(Photo: VNA)

Looking back on the past 45 years since Vietnam joined the UN, Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh, former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and former Ambassador to the US, pointed out to seven significant aspects to the country.

First, the UN’s admission was the recognition of a new, peaceful, unified and independent Vietnam that could participate in international mechanisms, despite embargoes it was suffering. Vietnam’s official membership to the largest global organiation opened up a new chapter in Vietnam’s relations with the world, thus enabling Vietnam not only to take advantage of international assistance for the country’s reconstruction, but also actively participate in and contribute more to the common affairs of the organisation and the world.

Ambassador Pham Quang Vinh

Second, along with achievements in innovation, development and international integration, Vietnam has accompanied and contributed more effectively to the common affairs of the UN and the world. Notably, the country got engaged in the planning and implementation of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals and Sustainable Development Goals to 2030, becoming an example of cooperation and effective implementation of the organisation’s action programmes.

Accordingly, the nation has also actively participated in UN cooperation programmes on the environment, climate change, disease prevention and control, poverty reduction, and support for disadvantaged people.

Level-2 Field Hospital Rotation 3 officers and soldiers join UN peacekeeping operations in South Sudan.

Third, Vietnam always upholds and actively contributes to strengthening the principles of the UN Charter and international law, for peace, friendship, cooperation and common development of all nations. This is also a consistent principle in Vietnam’s foreign policy, Vinh stated.

When joining the UN Security Council, Vietnam put forth many important initiatives. The country has also been participating actively in UN peacekeeping operations, which has gained great applause from the UN and other nations.

Fourth, Vietnam has gradually participated in and increasingly promoted its role in the UN’s leading bodies. Since the second half of the 1990s, Vietnam has participated in the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and then the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Vietnam twice worked as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council – the UN’s main body responsible for peace and security – in the 2008-2009 and 2020-2021 terms. With these roles, Vietnam has actively contributed to the common affairs, and can enhance its position and reputation at the UN and in the international arena.

(Photo: VNA)

Fifth, Vietnam has also upheld the principles of the UN Charter and its important documents such as the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to contribute to peace, security, cooperation and development in the region. Accordingly, the country has actively promoted cooperation between the UN and ASEAN in various areas, ranging from peace, security, development cooperation to response to global challenges such as the environment, climate change, and diseases.

Regarding the East Sea issue, Vietnam always emphasises respect for international law and the UNCLOS to ensure peace, stability and security, and navigation safety and freedom, and legitimate rights and interests of coastal countries; as well as for the peaceful settlement of disputes without further complicating the situation. This is also the common view and principle of ASEAN.

An Bang island of Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago (Photo: VNA)

Sixth, Vietnam always has a harmonious combination between ensuring national interests and active, responsible contributions to the common affairs of the UN. Within the framework of the organisation, Vietnam participates in planning international agendas based not only on national interests but also with the principles of international law to create a fair playground between big and small countries, for peace, security and development based on international law.

Last but not least, the ambassador stressed that in the coming time, with new conditions and a new position, Vietnam needs to continue promoting the above-mentioned foreign policy principles, to serve its development aspirations towards 2030 and 2045, while continuing to further promote an active role in the world’s common affairs, for peace, security, development cooperation and settlement of global challenges./.