Constitution amendments confirm a consistent diplomatic policy, Nguyen Manh Cam, former deputy prime minister, told Dai doan ket (the Great National Unity) newspaper.
As a veteran in the field of foreign diplomacy, do you have any comments on the proposed changes to the 1992 Constitution regarding Viet Nam's foreign policy?
There are three objectives: to support homeland security (both in terms of developing the nation and defending it), to elevate the nation's position in the international arena and to contribute to social progress throughout the world.
Article 12 in Chapter I of the draft constitution reflects the renewal idea contained in the Party's political platform in the transitional period to socialism, which was adopted at the sixth National Party Congress and revised in 2011.
The key principle of the diplomatic activities carried out by the party and government is to pursue peace and establish friendly co-operation with all nations regardless of political or social regime on the basis of respecting national independence, equality, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Among the changes to the 1992 Constitution, which do you think is the most important?
In my opinion, the most important change is the addition of the phrase "constant implementation of the nation's foreign policy of self-reliance and independence." That change reflects the creativity, growth potential and strength of the nation, which plays an increasingly important role on the world stage.
Another important change in the draft is the addition of the statement that "Viet Nam is a friend, reliable partner and responsible member of the international community." The sentence can be described as a brief summary of our country's diplomatic activities in the past as well as a vow for the years to come. It also speaks in a broad sense to the nature of friendship and co-operation between countries.
At present Viet Nam has established diplomatic relations with 187 countries among the 192 UN members, as well as trade relations with more than 200 countries and territories and investment relations with more than 80 countries.
Viet Nam is also a member of the ASEAN, APEC, ASEM and WTO.
Is there anything you want to include in the amendments?
I want to add two more points. First, we should refer to multilateralisation and diversification of international relations. Second, we should include a mention of internationally active and pro-active participation.
I want to include these two points in the amendments because the co-operation between our country with other countries has become more diverse, including economics, trade, culture, military, security and many other areas.
Could you elaborate on your idea about the functions of the diplomatic policy in national defence?
Article 4 of the Chapter "National Defence" in the 1992 Constitution mentions not a single word about the role of foreign diplomacy.
But if we look back at all the historical development stages of our nation, there has always been tight co-ordination between the military, politicians and diplomats. They have worked closely together to form "an army corps with an integrated strength to fight against the enemy and defend the national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity." Of course, in each stage, there is a core front while the other two are supporters.
That's why I suggest that in this chapter we include a line about the role diplomacy can play in helping the country develop and remain secure. — VNS