That has proved that the defense relations service has made a considerable contribution to heightening the prestige and position of Vietnam in the international arena, in line with the Resolution of the 12th National Party Congress and the 10th Military Party Congress.

Defense relations are not simply the foreign affairs carried out by the Ministry of National Defense or the military, but cover all foreign activities in the defense area in relations with other countries and international organizations. These activities are closely related to national independence and the interests of Vietnam as well as security and peace in the region and the world. The implementation of defense relations is directly led by the Central Military Commission and the Ministry of National Defense.

Closely implementing the Party’s and State’s guidelines on active international integration and foreign policy, the military has over the past years boosted defense relations in a comprehensive manner, enhancing international integration in the defense area, making important achievements.

Level-2 Field Hospital No.1 operating at the U.N. Mission in South Sudan

As a result, in recent years, the overall leadership of the Party over the defense relations service has been strengthened; relations between Vietnam and countries sharing the same borderline and those in ASEAN have always been paid special attention to, featuring high-level visits and exchange of delegations at all levels. Especially, when Vietnam assumes the ASEAN Chair in 2020, the country has successfully hosted important meetings despite negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country has actively participated in ASEAN and ASEAN-led multi-lateral defense cooperation mechanisms.

The defense relations service has also played an important role in the settlement of war legacies. The close cooperation between Vietnam and other countries like the U.S., Japan, the Republic of Korea, Norway, and international organizations has greatly reduced the impacts of war-left UXO (unexploded ordnance) and toxic chemicals on people’s health and other socio-economic activities. The large achievements include the cooperation between Vietnam and the U.S. in the detoxification at Da Nang Airport and now at Bien Hoa Airport heavily contaminated with Agent Orange/Dioxin. Support for UXO and Agent Orange/Dioxin victims has also increased via international defense cooperation activities.

Vietnam’s participation in U.N. peacekeeping operations is a highlight in defense relations. Officially joining the operations in 2014, Vietnam has sent hundreds of its military officers to U.N. peacekeeping missions in South Sudan and the Central African Republic, including its level-two field hospitals. In the coming time, Vietnamese officers will also undertake duties and other positions at strategic organs at the U.N. headquarters, showing the prestige of the Vietnam People’s Army in joining international activities.

The defense relations service has also made an important contribution to balancing Vietnam's relations with major powers and expanding cooperation with countries of potential. The increase in the number of delegation exchanges, defense policy dialogues or bilateral and multi-lateral defense relations activities has helped build strategic confidence between Vietnam and other countries, regions and organizations. Remarkably, in October 2019, the Government of Vietnam signed on the Framework Participation Agreement with the EU.

Defense relations service has contributed an important part to the common success of the foreign affairs and international integration of Vietnam, as Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong wrote in a recent article titled “Thorough preparation and organization of 13th National Party Congress - the country embarks on a new period of development” posted on September 1, 2020.

Along with foreign affairs of the Party and State and the people’s diplomacy, defense relations activities have been promoted in both scope and scale, contributing to enhancing cooperation with other countries, international organizations and institutions. The work has contributed to step by step integrating the defense sector of Vietnam into the world.

With the increasing complicated changes forecast for the coming years in the region and world, defense diplomacy must be further strengthened. Defense relations activities make one of the pillars in the diplomacy sector of Vietnam. The service is special in that it focuses on both cooperation and struggle with other parties to protect national territorial integrity, sovereignty, security and interests, maintaining peace and stability for development, which in turn heightens the position of Vietnam in the international arena. Therefore, in the coming time, the defense relations service must expand its work to more areas with more partners both bilaterally and multi-laterally, featuring a number of focal contents, effectively contributing to socio-economic development, firmly maintaining national security, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In general, the defense relations service has brought into play the glorious tradition of the Vietnam People’s Army, helped build up a solid posture for the foreign affairs of the Party and State, and created favorable international conditions for the country to develop. On implementing the Resolution of the 10th Military Party Congress, the service has thoroughly grasped the Party’s foreign policy, constantly promoted and improved the effectiveness of defense relations, playing an important part in firmly defending national independence, territorial integrity, and sovereignty and building an increasingly powerful Vietnam People’s Army.

Thanks to achievements in defense relations, the national flag of Vietnam will continue to fly in the whole country, in other countries, and at important international events, showing to the world the country of Vietnam as a reliable partner and a responsible member of the international community.

Translated by Huu Duong