Senior Lieutenant General Võ Trọng Việt. — Phototuoitre.vn
Senior Lieutenant General Võ Trọng Việt, Chairman of the National Assembly Committee on Defence and Security, speaks to Tuổi trẻ (Youth) newspaper on maintaining national security by defending the border and sovereignty.
Do you have any comment on Việt Nam’s policy to adopt “soft” measures in defending the border and sovereignty?
Việt Nam has adopted thousands of programmes and policies for people living along our border areas. However, here I just want to mention the four major policies. They are as follows:
First, the policy on forest land allocation. A key objective of this policy is to help people to improve their livelihoods, to have a better life from the forest so they will protect the forest while defending our border.
Second, is the programme “local people are in charge of defending the border line in their locality”
Third, the friendship programme between Vietnamese and Chinese people living along the Việt Nam-China border. A key objective of such a programme is to share responsibility in defending their respective border areas.
And finally, to cultivate long-standing friendship between local people and border guard soldiers. Besides their main duties, border guards help local inhabitants with their daily economic activities and in their primary healthcare activities.
Can you talk about Vietnamese border guards stationed in the western areas?
Generally speaking, people living in border areas are often poor. That’s why they need outside support to help them escape poverty. The Viet Nam Border Guard Command has opened classes to teach Vietnamese children and Lao/Cambodian children. In addition, we have sent doctors and nurses to border areas to give health checks to Vietnamese, Lao and Cambodian people living along the border areas.
Through such activities, we have cultivated friendship between Việt Nam and Laos and Cambodia. This is a very effective way to protect the sovereignty of each nation.
Can you talk about the 2015 incident in the southwestern border area?
Unfortunately, to date the task of planting border posts between Việt Nam and Cambodia has not been completed. In 2015, taking advantage of this, the opposition Cambodian National Royal Party (CNRP) accused the Cambodian People’s Party of compromising with Việt Nam on the border issue. At that time, Prime Minister Hun Sen and agencies from the Cambodian People’s Party strongly rejected such groundless accusations. Meanwhile, from our side, we explained the actual situation along the border between the two countries.
At the peak of the incident, the CNRP mobilised thousands of Cambodian people to the marker post 203 in Mộc Hóa, in Long An Province of Việt Nam to claim that marker post 203 was on Cambodian land. Luckily, with thorough explanations from the Vietnamese side, the Cambodian people returned home. I can say that the Vietnamese border guards in Region 7 and 9 have co-operated closely with their Cambodian counterparts in the spirit of mutual understanding.
What are some measures our border guards have used to protect our national sovereignty in the north?
The Việt Nam-China relationship has experienced ups and downs. But generally speaking, the two countries have planted their border posts as well as the Bắc Bộ Gulf delineation. Both countries have proclaimed this as a victory of the two states and armies. This is a good lesson for both countries to continue to delineate their territorial waters in the sea.
To date, the Vietnamese and Chinese Ministries of Defence have held four friendship events. The latest event was held on September 24 in Yunan, China with the participation of Vietnamese Minister of Defence, Colonel General Ngô Xuân Lịch and Vice Chairman of the Chinese Central Military Commission, General Fan Chang Long.
These events have voiced the two nations’ resolve to maintain their border of peace – a message both sides want to send to their people living along the Vietnamese-Chinese border and the world as a whole._VNS