The general started the conversation, “We are living in the Ho Chi Minh era. In the nation’s thousands-of-years old history, our lives are just a blink of an eye. However, that ‘blink of an eye’ in the Ho Chi Minh era is the pride of the Vietnamese people today.”

In the year of the pig 2019 and the year of the rat 2020, people of the whole nation live in a heroic and magnanimous atmosphere filled with emotions as the country is celebrating its great anniversaries. The events include the 90th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, the 75th founding anniversary of the Vietnam People’s Army, the 75th anniversary of the August Revolution and National Day, the 45th anniversary of the Liberation of the South and National Reunification, and more. Those are the milestones associated with the Ho Chi Minh era. General Vinh stressed that the Ho Chi Minh era is not separated from the Vietnamese history but inherited all the quintessence from the previous historical periods of the nation. History includes glorious and also extremely painful times. The Ho Chi Minh era is the period when many important events in the nation’s history occurred. Never before did Vietnam have more independence and freedom than now. Never before were the Vietnamese people more motivated to work and enjoy a better life than now. From a little-known country, Vietnam has now had a higher position in the international community. In the Ho Chi Minh era, Vietnam has made a great impression.

Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh visits Level-two Field Hospital Rotation 2.

As for the military, the deputy defense minister affirmed that the VPA has undergone unprecedented development. Under the leadership of the Party and Uncle Ho, the VPA has truly become a core force in the national development and defense cause. The VPA is strong and confident in dealing with all situations to firmly protect independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the nation, and other missions. The international community admires the VPA not only for the fact that it defeated powerful invaders in the past, but for its good will to reach out for peace. The VPA has now become the name that other countries want to cooperate with.

The military from the people, fighting for the people

As war has long gone by, the VPA is now carrying out missions in peacetime. Those missions include the firm protection of the country’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, the political system, peace, and national interests. The VPA is also tasked with protecting the Party, State and socialism in Vietnam, while actively and proactively engaging in keeping peace in the region and the world and maintaining political stability and a peaceful environment for development.

To reach those goals, the VPA has to always stay ready for defeating any enemies in case of war. Vinh said, “The whole people will fight the enemy and safeguard the nation. Our military also has potential strength as the power not only comes from the current troop strength. The whole 100 million-strong population will serve as an army that no invaders can defeat.”

Furthermore, the military must function as a force to keep peace. When peace prevails, it will be more favorable for the country to develop sustainably. In turn, when the country develops favorably, its military power will also be strengthened to firmly safeguard the nation. Therefore, the military must always stay vigilant in choosing between keeping peace or engaging in war. It must also be flexible in dealing with situations in a way that the use of force can be avoided and when it is impossible to avoid using force, victory must be at hand.

Contribution to world peace and security

At present, to fulfill the mission of national construction and defense, we must build a comprehensively-strong military. In wartime, victories on the battlefields provide advantages in negotiations. In peacetime, real and substantial military power serves as favorable ground for negotiation and maintaining peace. In the international integration process, general Vinh said that it is a waste of resources when the real and substantial power of the military only serves to implement combat readiness missions. We must make use of the huge power that defense relations can bring to promote relations with other countries, creating a peaceful environment for development.

Under the foreign policy of the Party and State, the defense relations work has been boosted in both bilateral and multilateral areas. The work has come with a new face, closely combining national interests and the maintenance of peace, security and stability in the region and the world. For that, General Vinh set the question, “Should our national construction and safeguarding cause be supported by the international community?” The answer is “Should!” It is the support for the just cause of Vietnam and for the development of Vietnam in combination with the peaceful and developing trend of the world. For us to have the international community’s support, Vietnam must gain other countries’ trust via actual acts and contribution. Joining the UN peacekeeping operations is one of the actual acts that contribute to maintaining peace and security of the world.

Joining UN peacekeeping operations promotes bilateral and multilateral relations alike. It is because in bilateral defense relations, there still remain “sensitive issues” which are hard to be dealt with in a substantial manner. As for UN peacekeeping operations, all countries are ready to cooperate in the most favorable manner, for world peace. General Vinh shared that it is a hard job for Vietnamese peacekeepers, as they are not only to carry out their duties, but also to clearly show the Vietnamese special characteristics.

In reality, Vietnamese peacekeepers have done their assigned jobs well, promoting the fine tradition of Uncle Ho’s soldiers and a military “from the people and fighting for the people.” Letters of commendation, a noble order and letters of thanks that the UN and international friends sent to Vietnamese peacekeepers in South Sudan and the Central African Republic have acknowledged the efforts and contribution of Vietnam to UN peacekeeping operations.

ASEAN in 2020

In terms of multilateral foreign relations, Vietnam has proactively and considerably shifting from “active participation” to “proactively making contribution to building and shaping multilateral mechanisms.” Defense relations work, as part of the foreign policy, is developing in that direction, proposing initiatives based on the national interests and common benefits of the whole region and the world. The ADMM+ and the building of “strategic trust” are the evidence for the pro-activeness of Vietnam in making contributions to and shaping multilateral mechanisms. However, according to Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, “pro-active contribution to the building and shaping of multilateral mechanisms” does not mean that Vietnam wants to take the leadership role. Vietnam always expresses itself as an active, pro-active, and responsible member of the international community. ASEAN in 2020 is a common playground for all participating countries.

“The Ministry of National Defense of Vietnam plays a role in organizing, supporting and advocating all initiatives, proposed at ADMM and ADMM+, for peace, stability, and prosperity, in compliance with international law and bringing benefits to all participating countries…” affirmed Senior General Nguyen Chi Vinh.

Translated by Huu Duong