President Ho Chi Minh (front, second from left) and First Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Vietnam, now the Communist Party of Vietnam, Le Duan (front, second from right) attend the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1961. (Photo: VNA)

Opening the door, integration for development

During his journey to seek a right revolutionary path for Vietnam, President Ho Chi Minh formed the thought on the issue of opening the door for integration.

The flags of Vietnam and other countries fly outside the Thuy Dinh convention hall in Ninh Binh province, the venue of the Vesak Day celebration in 2019.

In an article published on the L’Humanite newspaper on August 2, 1919, he wrote that in terms of principles, common progress depended on the development of internationalism and civilisation could only be beneficial when international relations were expanded and enhanced.

After the success of the 1945 August Revolution, President Ho Chi Minh considered the expansion of international relations and sending of personnel to other countries to learn advanced sciences and technologies necessary for the socioeconomic development in Việt Nam.

  President Ho Chi Minh (white shirt, centre, second row) in a photo with delegates to the international conference on solidarity with the Vietnamese people to fight the US imperialists, held at the Presidential Palace in November 1964. (Photo: VNA)

In his letter sent to then US Secretary of State James Byrnes on November 1, 1945, the Vietnamese leader put forth the initiative of building people-to-people diplomacy to start cooperative ties between the peoples of the Vietnam and the US.

His strategic thought on an open economy was mentioned most fully and clearly in the “Appeal to the United Nations” issued in December 1946. In this letter, he stated that with democratic countries, Vietnam was ready to carry out the open door and cooperation policy in all fields:

President Ho Chi Minh receives Kaysone Phomvihane, head of the delegation of the Party and the Patriotic Front of Laos, during the latter’s visit to Vietnam in 1966. (Photo: VNA)
Chinese President Mao Zedong (front, left) welcomes President Ho Chi Minh on June 25, 1955 during the latter’s visit to China. (Photo: VNA)

a. Vietnam would create favourable conditions for investment from foreign companies into all of its industries.

b. Vietnam was ready to expand ports, airports and roads for international trade and transit.

c. Vietnam accepted to take part in all international economic cooperation organisations under the leadership of the United Nations.

d. Vietnam was ready to sign special security agreements and conventions related to the use of some of its naval and air force bases with naval and ground forces within the framework of the UN. 

Throughout the revolution, those viewpoints reflected the President’s far-sighted vision.

Vietnamese soldiers have joined the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan since 2018. (Source: UN)

Attracting external resources to bring into play internal strength

President Ho Chi Minh steadfastly pursued the door opening policy to help maintain stability in the region and the world so that the Vietnamese people could live in peace and freedom and pursued economic integration into the world to receive assistance from international friends in order to have conditions for tapping into the country’s potential.

Over the past years, Vietnam’s integration into the world has reached a new level as seen in the country’s participation in increasing multilateral mechanisms.

However, he also emphasised that the internal strength must be the key and noted with great internal strength, diplomacy would be successful. “If the internal strength is a gong, diplomacy is the sound. Only when the gong is large can the sound be big.”

The leader called on each Vietnamese citizen to strongly uphold the spirit of independence, self-reliance, standing on their own feet, and “exerting their own efforts to liberate themselves”. He said: “If a nation does not exert its own efforts but waits for help from others, it does not deserve independence.”

President Ho Chi Minh (second from right) and Prime Minister Pham Van Dong (first, left) receive Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett and his wife, who are great friends of the Vietnamese people, in 1966. (File photo)
President Ho Chi Minh visits the Uralmash factory named Ordzhonikidze in Sverdlovsk, now Yekaterinburg city of Russia, in 1955. (Photo: VNA)
Vietnam’s relations with other countries have been increasingly reinforced and expanded.

“If a nation does not exert its own efforts but waits for help from others, it does not deserve independence.”


The President requested cadres work well with foreign experts, learn advanced experience from other countries, and properly preserve and use the machinery and commodities provided by other countries; stringently fight bureaucracy, wastefulness, and embezzlement; and gradually build a contingent of international economics personnel who have both revolutionary virtues and high specialised capacity to easily cooperate with and learn from foreign entrepreneurs.

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong meets with leaders of other countries. Over 35 years of implementing the Doi moi (Renewal) policy, Vietnam has obtained a number of significant achievements, including many on external relations.

Nowadays, Vietnam has built a foreign policy matching the domestic and international situations and also conforming to the principles based on President Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, serving as the basis for expanding external economic relations.

The 10th National Party Congress affirmed the policy of actively integrating into the world and properly handling the relationship between independence, self-reliance and international integration; and comprehensively, intensively, flexibly, and effectively integrating into the world for the sake of national interests with national independence, self-reliance, and sovereignty guaranteed.

Vietnam’s foreign policy is targeted at firmly maintaining national sovereignty, independence, self-reliance, and the socialist-oriented development path; setting up friendly and equal relations with other nations, making use of the assistance and cooperation from people around the world for its national reform, development, and safeguarding; firmly maintaining regional and global peace and stability to focus on economic development; ensuring Vietnam’s extensive integration into the global economy; and unceasingly improving the country’s position in the region and the world./.