Over the past 10 years of deploying forces to join U.N. peacekeeping operations, the Vietnam People's Army in particular and Vietnam as a whole have spread the message of a peace-loving and dynamic country, an active and responsible member of the international community, contributing to affirming Vietnam’s role, prestige, and status in addressing security-related issues, and maintaining a peaceful and stable environment in the region and the world.

Substantive and meaningful contribution of the Vietnamese “blue berets” has been honored, recognized by the international community, especially people of the host countries, thereby, shining the noble international spirit and virtues of Uncle Ho’s soldiers of the Vietnam People’s Army.

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Vietnam's Engineering Company Rotation 1 departing for UNISFA

Long process of preparation

Peacekeeping operations are one of the most significant activities and a special mechanism of the U.N. The first U.N. peacekeeping mission was established in 1948 by the U.N. Security Council in the form of deploying missions to areas where conflicts had temporarily ceased or peace agreements had been reached to ensure security and build sustainable peace in the areas.

Vietnam's policy of contributing to world peace and stability was formed early. Right after the success of the August Revolution in 1945, President Ho Chi Minh sent a letter to the U.N. General Assembly and major countries to express Vietnam's desire to join the U.N. with the high responsibility of maintaining peace and fighting against oppression and injustice.

That consistent policy has been maintained and promoted until now. On the basis of accurately forecasting the trend of international integration and creating a premise for the cause of building and protecting the Fatherland in the new situation, Vietnam has advocated participating in U.N. peacekeeping activities. This is the result of a long-term process of pro-active and thorough study and preparation.

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Vietnamese female peacekeepers show high sense of determination to excellently complete U.N. peacekeeping duties.

On September 20, 1977, Vietnam became a full member of the U.N. Since 1996, Vietnam has contributed financially to the budget of U.N. peacekeeping operations according to the percentage of GDP agreed upon by the U.N. and Vietnam.

In 2005, Vietnam sent inter-sectoral working groups to a number of U.N. missions to conduct research and field surveys, visit and learn about the models and experience of some partner countries, and take part in international training courses on peacekeeping operations to be well-prepared for the deployment of forces participating in this activity.

Breakthrough decision

On April 10, 2013, the Politburo issued Resolution No.22-NQ/TW on international integration, clearly defining, “Pro-actively and actively participating in multilateral mechanisms on defense and security of which Vietnam is a member, especially the mechanisms within the ASEAN framework and led by ASEAN. Building and implementing plans to join other multilateral mechanisms, including participation in cooperative activities at higher levels, such as U.N. peacekeeping operations, etc.”

On December 5, 2013, the Prime Minister approved the scheme on the participation of the Vietnam People’s Army in U.N. peacekeeping operations in the 2014-2020 period and following years. On this basis, the Central Military Commission issued Resolution 806-NQ/QUTW on continuing to implement the Politburo’s policy, affirming that Vietnam is a responsible member of the international community.

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Emotion of U.N. Under Secretary-General for the Department of Field Support Ameerah Haq expressed in words. (Photo: Vietnam Department of Peacekeeping Operations)

The CMC’s resolution specifies, "Firmly protecting independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity of the Fatherland; protecting the Party, State, people and socialist political system; protecting the cause of innovation, industrialization and modernization; protecting national interests; protecting political security, order, social safety and culture; and maintaining political stability and a peaceful environment."

On the basis of the Politburo’s scheme, Minister of National Defense, General Phung Quang Thanh signed the decision on the establishment of the Vietnam Peacekeeping Center on May 27, 2014. At the ceremony to announce the establishment of the center, General Phung Quang Thanh underscored that the debut of the center was significant to prove that the Vietnamese military, government and people are acting to realize the Party’s commitments to comprehensive international integration.

U.N. Under Secretary-General for the Department of Field Support Ameerah Haq expressed her emotion at the ceremony, “Today was a great day in which the Peacekeeping Center of Vietnam was inaugurated. There is no clearer testimony of your country’s commitment to our shared endeavor of peace and security than the establishment of this center. Not only is Vietnam recognized as a global hub of best practices and lessons learned in poverty reduction and sustainable development; with this center, we can be certain that your country’s professionalism, dynamism and innovation will soon enough be on display for all the world to see in the field of peacekeeping as well.”

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Vietnamese peacekeepers guide African people on how to take care of vegetables.

The participation in U.N. peacekeeping operations of Vietnam in general and the Vietnam People’s Army in particular is seen as a breakthrough decision on international integration in the Party and State’s national reform. In 2021, during an interview with the press, Senior Lieutenant General Hoang Xuan Chien, member of the Party Central Committee and Deputy Minister of National Defense, affirmed that the establishment of the Vietnam Peacekeeping Center, currently the Vietnam Department of Peacekeeping Operations, marked a turning point for the development of Vietnam's peacekeeping force to deeply participate in U.N.’s multilateral mechanisms; showing the Party and State’s consistent foreign policies and guidelines and the political commitment of senior leaders to the international community.

This contributed to promoting multilateral diplomacy, especially cooperation with the U.N. and relations with countries in the world; affirming that defense cooperation is one of the pillars in the Party's external relations, thereby enhancing the position and role of Vietnam as well as the Vietnam People's Army in the international arena, making contribution to the successful implementation of Vietnam's term as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council for the 2020-2021 tenure.

According to Senior Colonel Ha Thanh Chung, Vietnam’s first military attaché to the U.N., the debut of the Vietnam Department of Peacekeeping Operations was a significant event, marking Vietnam’s official deployment of personnel to participate in U.N. peacekeeping activities. This was an important decision of the Party and State, contributing to the consistent implementation of the foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation and development, multilateralization, and diversification of external relations; pro-active and active international integration in accordance with the Resolutions of the 11th and 12th Party Congresses, Resolution No.22 of the Politburo and Resolution No.806 of the Central Military Commission; creating favorable conditions to promote political, economic and trade relations with countries in the world.

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Vietnamese peacekeeping force has affirmed its position, functions, and roles and maintained good task performance.

Over the past decade, the Vietnamese peacekeeping force has affirmed its position, functions, and roles and maintained good task performance, contributing to the implementation of the Party and State’s foreign policy, making active contribution to the country’s realization of its international integration and defense relations.

(to be continued)

Written by Tran Hoai - Minh Anh - Quynh Oanh