Fire proves gold, adversity proves men   

Addressing the 30th Diplomatic Conference, General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong stressed that the diplomatic sector has gained important results, making it a spotlight in the 2018 overall success story of the country. With the motto of pro-activeness, creativity and effectiveness, the sector has confirmed its role and created new important milestones, contributing to lifting the position and power of Vietnam in the international arena.

As for the multilateral foreign relations, significant and substantial development has been made as the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee issued Directive 25 on August 8, 2018 on strengthening and heightening the role of multilateral foreign relations towards 2030. This is the first time that the Party’s organ has issued a separate resolution on multilateral foreign affairs, marking an important milestone in the foreign relations implementation and the institutionalization of the 12th Party Central Committee’s policy on pro-active and active international integration.

The first level-two field hospital of Vietnam deployed to the UN Mission in South Sudan

In 2018, Vietnam successfully organized important international events, proving the increasingly important role and prestige of Vietnam while creating more opportunities in cooperation for Vietnam. The success of those events has shown that the role, position and prestige of Vietnam has increased significantly, opening up various opportunities for Vietnamese enterprises.

Besides, the international community also entrusted Vietnam to more important multilateral tasks. In May 2018, countries in the Asia-Pacific region officially nominated Vietnam as the sole candidate for the non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the tenure of 2020-2021. In December 2018, Vietnam was for the first time elected to the UN International Trade Law Committee (UNCITRAL).

In the context that international relations are undergoing sophisticated, complicated and unexpected developments, with pro-activeness and creativity, Vietnam not only strengthened, but also expanded its relations with key partners. In 2018, the Vietnamese Party and State leaders made 28 visits to foreign countries and attended major international conferences, welcomed 33 senior leaders from different countries to Vietnam and hundreds of high-level meetings on the sidelines of important multilateral events. Those high-level visits and meetings have really created a new impetus for developing Vietnam’s relations with partners in all fields, practically serving the country in its maintenance of security and development.

In spite of trade protectionism here and there, the Vietnamese economy still enjoyed a steady growth rate. Along with 10 other member countries, Vietnam signed the Comprehensive Partnership and Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP) and is one of the seven countries that approved the world’s first new-generation free trade agreement, affirming its role as an important economic connection in the region. What’s more, Vietnam and the European Union (EU) are finalizing the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) for signing.

Placing businesses and people in the center and standing side-by-side with enterprises in reaching out to the world, the economic diplomacy sector has contributed significantly to promoting Vietnam’s trade with major partners, such as China, the US, the Republic of Korea, Japan and the EU.

Vietnam has made more progresses in the fields of politics, defense and security as it has made contributions to keeping international peace and security. For the first time, Vietnam has sent its level-two field hospital to a UN peacekeeping mission. Joint exercises, search and rescue operations and friendly exchanges between Vietnam and China, the US, Japan, India, the Republic of Korea have contributed to strengthening mutual understanding and political trust.

Vietnam’s land borderlines with the neighboring countries of China, Laos and Cambodia have been well managed to truly become the borderlines of peace, friendship and development. As for the East Sea (South China Sea) issue, Vietnam also firmly protected its national maritime sovereignty, legitimate rights and interests in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS 1982).

In addition to the aforementioned highlights, another remarkable achievement in the foreign relations work of the Party and State is the effective protection of overseas Vietnamese. In 2018, Vietnam applied protection measures to 10,378 Vietnamese citizens (up by 22% compared to 2017) and 1,589 fishermen aboard 189 fishing boats and organized many activities for expatriates, contributing to strengthening the great national unity.

Firmly heading for development

In general, it can be said that the foreign relations sector has contributed significantly to the cause of national construction and defense, helping raise Vietnam’s position in the region and world. With the important achievements in 2018 and high determination, the sector is entering 2019 with high spirit of creativity, continuing to maintain a peaceful and stable environment for national development; firmly protecting national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity; preserving in-depth, efficient and sustainable relations with neighboring countries; well implementing Directive 25 of the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee on foreign affairs; maintaining the momentum of international integration to enter a higher stage of international economic integration.

With the new position and strength of the country after more than 30 years of renovation, under the sound leadership of the Party and State, Vietnam will continue to reap achievements in the realm of foreign relations, making contribution to the national construction and development cause.

Translated by Huu Duong