In an interview with the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), Phung highlighted the positive contributions made by Vietnam’s peacekeeping force in UN missions.

“Sending troops to join UN peacekeeping missions in Africa is the Vietnamese army’s contribution to maintaining sustainable peace in the world,” he emphasised, adding that all countries wish to protect their people from non-traditional challenges and enable them to live in safety.

Vietnam's national flag flying next to UN's flag at Juba International Airport in South Sudan

Vietnam’s peacekeeping initiatives have been commended by the UN and international friends, contributing to affirming its position and prestige in the region and the world, he added.

Although Vietnam is quite new to peacekeeping missions, the country has made a positive impression on the international community, the UN, and the missions in South Sudan and the Central Africa Republic, Phung said.

It has signed nine cooperative peacekeeping agreements with nine countries and two others with the UN and the EU, he said, describing the deals as helping promote bilateral defence cooperation with foreign countries.

Some 126 doctors and medical staff and 53 officers of Vietnamese level-2 field hospitals have joined UN peacekeeping forces since 2014, and they have successfully fulfilled their tasks. The Under-Secretary General for Peace Operations and the Military Adviser to the UN Secretary General sent a thank you letter to the Vietnamese Government for its medical contributions to the UN.

Besides carrying out its mission, Vietnam’s peacekeeping force has provided major support to local residents, such as teaching and taking care of kids and instructing people on how to plant vegetables, among other things.

In particular, after the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the world, making it harder to ensure sufficient medical supplies for hospitals, staff who returned home on furlough were assigned to bring back medicines and medical supplies when they returned, to serve COVID-19 prevention efforts in the host nation.

Phung said the participation in defence diplomacy is one way for the Vietnamese military to protect the country during peacetime.

Peacekeeping is a priority for Vietnam at the UN Security Council as the country serves in different positions this year. It was UNSC Chair for the second time in April, suggesting 15 open meetings and ten closed meetings to discuss international peace and security.

On April 19, State President Nguyen Xuan Phuc will preside over a high-level open debate on enhancing cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations in promoting confidence-building and dialogue in conflict prevention and resolution.

Earlier this month, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son presided over a ministerial-level open debate on “Mine action and sustaining peace: Stronger partnerships for better delivery”.

Source: VNA