Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong: First of all, on behalf of the Party Central Committee and Central Military Commission, I would like to send warm greetings and best wishes to all officers and soldiers of the Vietnam People’s Armed Forces. I believe that the Vietnam People’s Army with its good revolutionary nature, glorious traditions and great achievements in 2017 will excellently complete its missions and attain more achievements in 2018, significantly contributing to the cause of national construction and protection of our beloved socialist Fatherland.

Reporter: Thank the Party General Secretary for your wishes. How do you appraise the achievements gained by the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) in 2017?

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Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong: The year of 2017 saw proud achievements in various fields. Particularly, the army under the leadership of the Party firmly protected national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity while creating a peaceful environment for national development.

As every knows, the regional and global situations witnessed various complex developments last year.Furthermore, the country encountered a large number of difficulties and challenges, including natural disasters causing huge losses to people. Meanwhile, hostile forces continue carrying out anti-revolutionary activities.

With great efforts of the entire Party, people and army, the country succeeded in maintaining political stability and preserving a peaceful environment for national development while firmly protecting national independence, territorial sovereignty, national interests as well as the Party, State, people and socialism.

Thanks to the basic factors of national independence and freedom, our country could develop fast and sustainably. The year of 2017 saw an impressive increase in our country’s economic power and comprehensive strength while the position and status of the country, Party and VPAwere raised in the international arena. This was because we combined closely and effectively the implementation of the two strategies of national construction and defense.

In the mission of protecting our Fatherland, we should know how to mobilize the whole nation’s strength as well as international supports in both strategic and tactical aspects. I should underscore that international integration and defense cooperation are sound Party-oriented strategies, contributing to protecting the Fatherland from a distance and at an early time when the country is still not in danger. We promote international integration and defense cooperation to build up strategic confidence, preserve an environment of peace, cooperation and mutual development with other countries, and consolidate the country’s defense and security posture. But this also requires us to be active, proactive, flexible and effective while avoiding driven into a passive or surprising position. We should detect and prevent threats from outside coupled with rolling back internal risks in order to serve our renewal process more effectively and efficiently.

The Party, State and people have recognized and highly appreciated the great efforts and contributions to the country’s achievements of all officers and soldiers. The Party, State and people have also been grateful to them for their sparing no effort to firmly protect the national borders, seas and islands as well as national independence and sovereignty. The Party, State and people have acknowledged the valuable sacrifices, sweat,efforts of military officers and soldiers in protecting and saving the people and their assets in natural disasters as well as in hunger elimination, poverty reduction and building of the new-style rural area.

Reporter: You have mentioned “domestic enemies” so do you think that maintaining the domestic stability is an approach to protect the Fatherland?

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong: It is correct. The issue is not new but our thousands-of-years lesson in the national history of the country’s building and protection. The lesson was underscored by President Ho Chi Minh and the Party when our revolutionary government was newly established in 1945. At that time, we had to struggle against hunger and ignorance, which were regarded as the nation’s “domestic enemies. Moreover, the Party and President Ho Chi Minh also considered bureaucracy, corruption and wastefulness as the nation’s “domestic enemies.” Only when the nationhas wiped out the “domestic enemies,” it can enjoy real peace, stability and solidarity, the government can work effectively and efficiently, the nation has sufficient potential and power to defeat foreign enemies as well as to build and develop the country.

Over the past time, bureaucracy and corruption have become national diseases and have been defined by the Party Central Committee as threats to the Vietnamese revolutionary cause. They have negatively affected the position, credibility and power of the Party, and undermined the people’s trust in the Party’s leadership and political system. If they were not prevented and held back, these “enemies” would ruin spoil officials, our system from the inside, undermine the foundations of the system and lose the leading role of the Party in the country. These problems risk the loss of the country from inside as Uncle Ho warned in the past.

Aware of the “domestic enemies,” although the Party Central Committee of the 11th term had issued the Fourth Resolution on Party building, the Party Central Committee of the 12th term had again issued the Fourth Resolution on Party building, and the Sixth Resolution to concretize the missions and provide major solutions to Party building and re-organization. At the same time, the Politburo has mobilized the entire Party, people and army to enhance the movement “Learning and following the thought, morals and style of President Ho Chi Minh.”

This has demonstrated the strong will of the Party in preventing and fighting negative phenomena inside the Party organization. It has also displayed the Party’s high sense of spirit and consistent resolve to undauntedly struggle against corruption and wastefulness as well as to build an army of State workers, deserving to be devoted servants to the people.

But the current situation of corruption is very complex and artful. Moreover, there still remain obsolete thoughts, socio-psychological obstacles and other difficulties hindering the fight against the “domestic enemy.” Fortunately, current widespread grassroots movements against corruption haveopened a large potential and create a basic premise for the Party Central Committee, Politburo and Secretariat to issue sound policies, strategies and solutions to the fight against the “enemy.”

The results of the prevention and fight against corruption and wastefulness in 2017 stemmed fromthe efforts of not only the 12thParty Central Committee but also of the previous terms. Based on the resolve of its predecessor, the 12th Party Central Committee, the Central Steering Committee on Anti-Corruption, and the Central Discipline Inspection Commission as well as relevant agencies at all levels, at the same time, implement drastic and comprehensive measures to control corruption. In other words, we have created a basis and gathered comprehensive strength to clean up the system and make it more effective and deserving of the nation and revolutionary cause.

However, it is noted that the process of Party building and re-organization as well as struggle against corruption and other negative phenomena are difficult and time-consumed courses. Thus, we should be consistent, patient but resolute and resolved, and its outcomes are not really a joy but sometimes a painful loss of State officials.

In 2018 and the following years, we should know how to overcome the pain and accept the loss to clean up the apparatus in order to make the Party stronger and worthier of its leadership of the Vietnamese revolution – the great and noble mission assigned by the Fatherland and the people.

Reporter: You have mentioned several achievements attained by the country in the past year. Are there any other important achievements of the country in 2017, Mr. Party General Secretary?

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong: Although facing a large number of difficulties and challenges in 2017, the country still achieved fast economic growth and impressive developments in various fields. It was for the first time in many years the country had reached all set targets with some sectors outperforming the plans, and achieved a growth rate of 6.81%, higher than most countriesin the region and world. The year of 2017 also witnessed big successes in international relations. The country improved its position and status in the international arena while actively accelerating international integration, and deepening our bilateral relations and partnerships with other countries. Particularly, Vietnam excellently hosted the APEC Summit Week in Da Nang, leaving a good mark to APEC member economies and promoting the multilateral cooperation with APEC and politico-economic connection within the Asia-Pacific region. This was the result of the Party’s leadership, the aspirations to fly high of the Vietnamese people, and the product of the 31-year renewal process.

As these factors were converged, this provided mature conditions for the Party Central Committee to issue the 3 important resolutions at its fifth meeting, helping Party committees at all levels to lead the country’s economic activities. It was considered a turning point in our renewal process, contributing to unraveling institutional ties while showing resolute thinking for new approaches to the country’s international integration and economic development in connection with the region and world. This has also been the reason for why Vietnam has been considered one of the safe and stable countries in the region, and why the country has still reached an impressive growth rate although suffering a huge loss due to natural calamities every year.

Reporter: Do you want to send a message to the people and army on the occasion of the Lunar New Year?

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong: When still alive, President Ho Chi Minh taught us “Nothing is as precious as the people; nothing is as strong as the people’s great unity bloc.” We have obtained great achievements over the past year, laying a good foundation for the country’s long-term development. All of the achievements have resulted from the national unity bloc under the leadership of the Party. The national traditions and the people’s trust in the Party’s leadership will create enormous power, helping the country step forward. All Vietnamese people should well understand and keep in mind that socio-political stability will always be the good foundation for the country’s development. Socio-political stability will also contribute to expanding relations with the rest of the world.

I also wish that every Vietnamese will hold a higher sense of their citizenships for the Fatherland, and make more contributions to the country construction and defense cause.

For the military, I want to note that the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) have come from the people, have been loved by the people, and have been conferred on the noble title “Uncle Ho’s Soldiers.” Since its inception, the Vietnam People’s Army has fostered the flesh-and-blood ties with the Party and people. So each officer or soldier of the VPA should heighten their responsibilities, preserve the good virtues and bright image of the “Uncle Ho’s Soldiers” in the people’s hearts, in any conditions.

To meet this end, all military people should always try their best to learn, drill and improve their knowledge and abilities; complete all assigned tasks; master the tasked weapons and equipment; be ready to fight and defeat any enemies to protect the country and people; and meet all task requirements of the current context.

All military officers and soldiers should enhance the movement “Learning and following the thought, morals and style of President Ho Chi Minh” while grasping and creatively applying the Party’s guidelines and resolutions as well as the State’s policies and laws in implementing their assignments and duties. They should also hold fast to the revolutionary virtues without being negatively affected by the bad side of the market economy, and always be ready “to sacrifice themselves for the people” and “to work for the people,” deserving the trust of the Party and love of the people.

Welcoming 2018, we are proud of the large fruits we grew in 2017. These successes have createda good foundation and a new impetus for the country’s development. And this has allowed us to expect another successful year.

Translated by Thu Nguyen