Deputy Foreign Minister Bùi Thanh Sơn. — VNA Photo
A conference to review the operation of the National Steering Committee for International Integration is scheduled for April 24 in Hà Nội under the theme “Strengthening international integration in a proactive, creative and effective fashion for rapid and sustainable development.”
Deputy Foreign Minister Bùi Thanh Sơn talks to the press on the outcomes of the country’s international integration in recent years, with a focus on the defence and security fields.
What political, defence and security outcomes do you think the international integration process has so far brought to the country?
The comprehensive political, defence and security outcomes of the international integration process are significant, which has contributed to maintaining a stable and peaceful environment for the development and protection of the Fatherland. I can list three main outcomes:
First, the process has raised the trust in Việt Nam of its partners, particularly its strategic and comprehensive partners. With their high confidence in Việt Nam, they all want to expand cooperation with the country.
Second, as part of the international integration process, Việt Nam has actively participated in and contributed positively to promoting peace, stability and development in the region and world. Particularly, Việt Nam has sent its troops and a unit to UN peacekeeping missions, which has in return strengthened our defence and improved the country’s status in the region and world. In participating in UN peacekeeping operations, the country has expanded cooperation in both multilateral and bilateral spheres facilitating the national defense building and the protection of the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Third, the positive political, defence and security outcomes of the international integration process have laid a firm foundation for the country’s cooperation with international partners in the other fields of trade and economics, science and technology, healthcare and education. Regarding trade and economic benefits, eight out of Việt Nam’s strategic and comprehensive partners represent eight out of its 10 largest export markets with more than 60 per cent of its export values, nine out of its 10 largest import markets with more than 74 per cent of the total import values, more than 76 per cent of the total foreign visitors to the country, and 74 per cent of the total foreign investment in the country.
Additionally, Việt Nam has improved the national capacity during international integration. Absorbing good experience around the world, the country has issued sound policies for socio-economic development, human resource development, science and technology, culture as well as defence and security consolidation.
In line with the Party’s and State’s guidelines, the country is taking and will take various positions at international organisations, and has contributed importantly to finding solutions to major international issues, such as the East Sea (South China Sea) issue, nuclear non-proliferation, climate change response, at multilateral forums led by ASEAN and the UN.
What is the importance of the country's preservation of a peaceful and stable environment to make full use of benefits that the international integration process in the fields of politics, defence and security would generate?
The international integration process in the fields of politics, defence and security creates favourable conditions for the country to maintain a peaceful and stable environment. When promoting international integration in these fields, Việt Nam has also contributed to promoting peace and stability in the world. With its contributions to the international community, the country has gained more prestige and support from the international arena, which in return can help strengthen national defense and capabilities, in line with the Party’s and State’s guideline “To protect the country from afar.”
We have been a proactive, responsible participant of regional and international forums such as the Association of South East Asia Nations (ASEAN), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM +), Asia - Europe Cooperation Forum (ASEM), and the United Nations. We have also actively collaborated with partners to promote common strength, contributing to the maintaince of a peaceful, stable and cooperative environment in the region and the world.
Could you elaborate on the guideline “To protect the country from afar” in the current context?
This is the motto of our ancestors from the past and is also the guiding point that we always follow in the process of national integration and development. In the current international context, combining the nation’s strengh and the era’s strength is one of the most important factors to ensure a peaceful and stable environment and to protect our homeland.
Therefore, international integration in the fields of politics, security and defence will help us to not only strengthen and deepen relations with important partners, especially strategic partners, but also ensuring a peaceful and stable environment.
Particularly when Việt Nam has successfully hosted international events, it has raised the national status and position. More countries wish to boost relations and cooperation with Việt Nam. When relations and cooperation between Việt Nam and other countries and international cooperation increase and develop, this will create interwoven interests between Việt Nam and other countries, which will contribute to protecting the country’s peace and stability as well as national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Furthermore, Việt Nam can expand defence and security cooperation with other countries via its international integration activities, which also contributes to increasing the country’s defence capabilities and national security.
Therefore, in such a context, international integration contributes to repressing risks to our country, including traditional security risks as well as non-traditional security ones. Such process of international integration and cooperation contributes to minimising risks and maximising the support and assistance of international friends for the cause of national construction and defence. — VNS