Peace, cooperation, and connection for development were common hope of all countries and peoples. However, the increasing intense of the strategic competitiveness among powerful countries and the Russia-Ukraine conflict posed numerous challenges. Non-traditional security threats like climate change, natural disasters, and epidemics were getting increasingly complicated. Most of the countries have returned to normal status; however, the recovery process is slow due to long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son

In that context, the diplomatic sector closely coordinated with the Party's external affairs, people-to-people diplomacy at all levels and sectors to synchronously, creatively and effectively implement foreign affairs activities with significant outcomes, contributing to the country’s achievements in foreign affairs and socio-economic development in 2022.

These outcomes resulted from the sound leadership of the Party Central Committee, the Politburo, the Secretariat, the Party and State leaders, together with the guidelines for external affairs in the resolution of the 13th National Party Congress.

Particularly, the diplomatic sector helped reinforce external affairs, maintain peace and stability; safeguard national independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity for socio-economic development; contributing to lifting up the country’s position in the international arena. External activities at all levels, especially those of the Party and State leaders, helped strengthen political trust, creating new impetus for expanding and deepening relations with neighboring countries, traditional friends and potential partners. In 2022, there were nearly 70 external activities of high-ranking leaders both in person and online, with numerous specific cooperation agreements signed.

Together with the defense-security sector and related ministries and sectors, the diplomatic sector continued to firmly consolidate the borderline of peace, friendship, cooperation and development; create favorable conditions for socio-economic exchanges; and at the same time, persistently promote dialogue and negotiation, in which important steps  were taken in delimitation and settlement of a number of border and territorial issues in accordance with international law.

Regarding multilateral diplomacy, the sector continued to make active and responsible contribution to important mechanisms and forums, especially the U.N., ASEAN, APEC, and Mekong sub-regional cooperation. In 2022, Vietnam was elected to many important positions such as Vice President of the 77th session of the U.N. General Assembly, member of the U.N. Human Rights Council for the 2023-2025 tenure, and member of the Intergovernmental Committee of UNESCO's Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (Convention 2003) for the 2022-2026 term.

The diplomatic sector coordinated with central agencies and ministries, sectors, and localities to actively promote economic content in external activities of leaders of the Party and State, sensitively seize the opportunity  of countries’ reopening, take advantage of linkages, economic agreements and new development trends in the world to expand and deepen cooperation with partners. As a result, the economic diplomacy made practical contribution to maintaining macroeconomic stability, promoting the country's growth, boosting exports, and attracting many external resources for restructuring the economy and developing the country sustainably.

Economic diplomacy, in close connection with cultural diplomacy, external affairs information and UNESCO-recognized heritage continued to create effects to widely promote the images of the country, people, culture and Vietnam's development achievements to the world. The activities for overseas Vietnamese continued to be strongly deployed, contributing to reinforcing the whole-people great unity bloc.

The citizen protection affairs saw important results, such as promptly evacuating more than 6,000 overseas Vietnamese in Ukraine, returning about 1,200 citizens who were forced to work in Cambodia, and safeguarding hundreds of fishermen and fishing vessels as well as legitimate rights and interests of Vietnamese citizens abroad.

These outcomes resulted from the right foreign policy of the Party and State, the country’s potential and international prestige after more than 35 years of the renewal cause; the close and synchronous coordination among the Party, the State and people-to-people's diplomacy; the active participation of the whole political system; the support of the whole people; and the cooperation of international partners and friends.

The diplomatic achievements in 2022,  especially since the 13th National Party Congress, have affirmed that the “Vietnamese bamboo” diplomacy is suitable to the country’s conditions and meets  the requirement for the national development in the current context. Amid the complicated developments of the international situation, the “Vietnamese bamboo” still maintains stable position, with “strong roots” of independence, self-reliance, multilateralism and diversification of international relations, upholding the fundamental principles of the U.N. Charter and international laws, for the national interests and for equality and mutual benefit of each country.

The diplomatic identity of "Vietnamese bamboo"  was promoted in each foreign activity, especially in high-level external affairs, as well as in relations with each partner at multilateral mechanisms and forums. It has contributed to affirming a brave, sincere, faithful, reliable and responsible Vietnam to the international community while maintaining the overall foreign policy situation favorable for national defense and construction cause, especially amid unstable and uncertain factors affecting the world.

The diplomatic activities over the past year continued to enrich and deepen valuable lessons in foreign affairs in the renewal cause. Particularly, the more challenging and difficult the situations are, the firmer, more flexibile and creative the strategy should be.

The diplomatic sector should handle well the relations between the national independence and self-reliance and the international solidarity and cooperation, between the national interests and the international obligation, between the multilateral and bilateral ties, and among the political, economic and cultural diplomacy. It should forecast and provide strategic recommendations on external affairs for higher levels to promptly deal with complicated developments of the regional and global situations.

The diplomatic sector is entering a new stage of development. It should continue promoting the identity of "Vietnamese bamboo" and the glorious tradition of the revolutionary diplomacy, closely cooperate with the Party and people-to-people’s diplomacy, the national defense, security, economy, culture, and social affairs to synchronously, creatively and effectively implement external relations tasks. Meeting the demands and task requirements in the new context, the entire diplomatic sector under the leadership of the Party is determined to build a healthy, strong, professional, and modern sector, contributing to the national defense and development cause and deserving the trust of the Party, State and people.

By Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son

Translated by Trung Thanh