Last year was a time of monumental growth for Vietnam’s external affairs. It marked the 45th anniversary of Vietnam’s membership of the United Nations (UN), the 60th anniversary of the Vietnam-Laos diplomatic ties, and the 55th anniversary of the Vietnam-Cambodia relations. Vietnam has taken on important positions at international and regional forums. The year also witnessed numerous visits by Vietnamese leaders to other countries and foreign leaders to Vietnam.
2022 was the second year of the Resolution of the 13th Party Congress on implementing the foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, friendship, cooperation and development. Multilateralism and diversification of foreign relations combining national strength with the strength of the era has helped Vietnam integrate into the global milieu. Vietnam has become a reliable partner and a responsible member of the international community.
The objective of foreign policy is to ensure the highest interests of the nation on the basis of basic principles of the United Nations Charter and international law, equality, cooperation and mutual benefits.
President of the UN General Assembly Abdulla Shahid emphasised that Vietnam is a model of the UN, which makes significant contributions to consolidating multilateralism and participation in UN affairs.
Vietnam’s external activities leave good impression
After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam’s bilateral diplomatic activities have resumed with a series of high-level visits by leaders to other countries and foreign leaders to Vietnam.
Vietnamese leaders made many foreign trips, contributing to promoting bilateral relations and effectively bringing into play the foreign policy of multilateralisation and diversification and the avocation of being friends with all countries.
Noteworthy is Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s official visit to China at the end of October last year. He was the first foreign leader welcomed by China following the Communist Party of China’s 20th National Congress.
Chinese Ambassador to Vietnam Xiong Bo described the visit as a demonstration of the special importance of the relations between the two Parties and countries and sending out a clear message that the two sides will strengthen solidarity and cooperation, and maintain the path to socialism.
This showed the mutual respect between the two Parties and two countries, especially the respect of the Chinese Party, Government and people and Xi Jinping in particular towards the Vietnamese Party leader.
On the occasion, the two sides issued a 13-point joint statement on continuing to promote and deepen the Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. They also inked 13 documents on bilateral cooperation across fields, especially economic cooperation.
The two sides agree to actively promote connectivity of their development strategies, accelerate discussions on and the signing of a cooperation plan between the two governments on promoting connectivity between the “Two corridors, one belt” Framework and the “Belt and Road” Initiative.
The Chinese side will actively speed up the process of market opening for Vietnam’s sweet potato, citrus fruits, swiftlet nest and some agricultural and fishery products, while the Vietnamese side will do the same for Chinese milk. They also agreed to push for and facilitate cooperation in aviation, land and railway transport, investment and trade cooperation between the two countries’ businesses.
In addition, the two sides demonstrated their determination to increase the export and import of high-quality farm produce and food products of both countries. Vietnam and China want to cooperate in seeking measures to handle congestion of trade at border gates and to ensure safety in the pandemic fight.
Also in 2022, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh paid official visits to Cambodia, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg; and attended the ASEAN-US Special Summit in the US, and a summit celebrating the 45th anniversary of relations between ASEAN and the European Union (EU).
He had meetings with leaders of the UN’s leading important agencies, extending the message that Vietnam considers the UN a leading reliable partner for peace, cooperation and development in the world, and affirming that Vietnam is always a sincere, reliable and responsible partner of the UN and the international community.
In his working visit to the US, the PM had bilateral meetings, during which foreign leaders stated they attach great importance to relations with Vietnam, affirming their respect for political institutions of Vietnam and desire for bilateral relations to develop deeper and more effective.
In 2022, National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue paid official visits to Hungary, the UK, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand; and attended the 43rd General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA-43).
Vietnam’s participation and contributions at conferences has shown its important role and position in the region.
The trust of the international community in Vietnam has been reflected by the votes for important positions at the UN. On June 13, Vietnam was elected as one of the Vice Presidents of the UN General Assembly’s 77th session, representing the Asia-Pacific region. On October 11, it was elected to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the second time, for the 2023-2025 tenure.
UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Pauline Tamesis said Vietnam’s election to the council presents both a great responsibility and an important opportunity to redouble efforts in protecting and promoting economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights in line with international human rights standards.
Promoting international integration and national development
Vietnam has established diplomatic ties with 189 out of a total of 193 UN members. The Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) has established relations with 247 political parties in 111 countries, while the Vietnamese NA has relationships with the National Assemblies or parliaments of 140 countries. People’s friendship organisations have relations with 1,200 foreign people’s organisations and non-governmental ones.
The country is an active and responsible member of more than 70 international organisations and forums, including the UN, ASEAN, APEC, ASEM, and the WTO.
Thirty years ago Vietnam had trade relations with only 30 countries and territories, whereas now the Southeast Asian nations has viable trade relations with 230 countries and territories.
Vietnam has fulfilled its international responsibilities as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, rotating chair of ASEAN, and host of the ASEAN Summit, ASEM summit, APEC Summit, and World Economic Forum on ASEAN. It has sent hundreds of officers and soldiers to the UN peacekeeping force in Africa.
Its voice and initiatives have received international support, resulting in Vietnam’s higher position and reputation in the international arena.
In the context of complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam has actively and responsibly contributed to the international efforts in preventing and controlling the pandemic. It has also enlisted the international support of vaccines, medical equipment and medicines, significantly contributing to the pandemic fight and socio-economic recovery and development.
Addressing the National Foreign Affairs Conference last December, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong affirmed that Vietnam has created a favourable international environment and mobilised external resources to promote industrialisation, modernisation, and socio-economic development.
From a country with a centrally-planned economy under siege and embargo, Vietnam has become a country with a socialist-oriented market economy extensively integrating into the world, he said.
He asked for more efforts to make stronger breakthroughs, promote creativeness, as well as look for new partners and new directions.
Vietnam’s external affairs in 2022 showed that Vietnam is confident to continue promoting international integration and national development, contributing to strengthening the trust of international friends and partners, people in the homeland and abroad; and promoting peace, stability, cooperation, development and prosperity in the region and the globe./.