General Ngô Xuân Lịch. — VNA/VNS Photo Dương Giang
Minister of National Defence, General Ngô Xuân Lịch, talks to Vietnam News Agency about defence policies in 2020, the year Việt Nam takes the role of ASEAN Chairmanship and non-permanent member of the United National Security Council.
How do you evaluate the results of military activities and defence missions in 2019?
In 2019, we had drastic changes and gained achievements in military activities and defence missions as follows:
First, the Central Military Commission and the Ministry of National Defence (MoND) regularly grasped and properly forecasted the situation, as a result, proactively performed the strategic advisory function to the Party and the State to handle in a timely, sensitive and effective manner any military and defence issues. That helped us avoid being passive and caught off-guard. We also completed the programmes and plans for the implementation of the Politburo's resolutions and conclusions on national defence and security strategies, military and defence schemes to ensure quality and progress.
Second, the entire army simultaneously implemented many solutions to improve overall quality and combat strength, while strictly maintaining readiness to fight. We also strictly implemented Conclusion No 16 of the Politburo on the organisation of the Việt Nam People's Army until 2021 in association with the resolution of the 12th Party Central Committee’s sixth plenum on renewal in the organisation of the political system’s apparatus, renovation of public administrative units and personnel work.
Third, the MoND has collaborated with other ministries, sectors, agencies and localities to strictly assess programmes, plans and projects in social and economic development regarding national defence. We also helped prevent and fight consequences of natural disasters, took part in search and rescue, handled environmental pollution, helped people eradicate hunger, reduce poverty and build new-style rural areas.
Fourth, we took care of building a strong Central Military Commission which is strong in politics, ideology, organisation and ethics. The entire army was firm, steadfast, and absolutely confident in the Party's leadership, solidarity and unity, ready to receive and fulfil all assigned tasks.
Fifth, the MoND directed the effective promotion of international integration and relations in defence into reality, contributing to building strategic trust, enhancing the international position and prestige of the country and the army.
The MoND launched the 2019 White Paper on Việt Nam National Defence late last year. What principles on developing and building the army were stated in the paper?
On November 25, 2019, the MoND announced the 2019 White Paper on Việt Nam National Defence, which clearly showed the transparency of Việt Nam's defence policies and capacity. This also helped contribute to enhancing the understanding and building strategic trust between Việt Nam and other countries in the international community. The paper asserted the "four no’s" policy.
First, Việt Nam advocates not joining military alliances. Second, Việt Nam does not associate with one country to fight against another. Third, Việt Nam does not allow foreign countries to set up military bases or use Vietnamese territory to oppose other countries. Fourth, Việt Nam does not use force or threaten to use force in international relations.
In defence with the goals of the "four no’s", Việt Nam's views on military construction and development are:
Firstly, to focus on building an army that is strong in politics, ideology, organisation and morality, absolutely loyal to the Party, the Fatherland and the people with an integrated strength and increased combat power.
Secondly, to build an army that is refined, compact, strong, mobile, flexible and efficient with synchronous organisational structure; to adjust, expand and develop forces reasonably and be ready to meet the demands of combat missions; to build a strong reserve force, strong self-defence force and militia, which are suitable to each locality and type of organisation to meet the requirements of Fatherland protection in the short and long term.
Thirdly, continue to equip the army with increasingly modern weapons, suitable to the conditions of economic development, capable of deterring and defeating any forces plotting to harm national independence and territorial integrity of the country.
Fourthly, in national defence, Việt Nam is consistent with its objectives and strategic principles by applying flexibility, actively responding to plots of hostile forces as well as complicated fluctuations of the situation. Those who respect Việt Nam’s independence and sovereignty, establish and expand friendship, co-operation and mutual benefit with Việt Nam are partners. In contrary, any force that plots and acts against the goals of Việt Nam in building and defending the country, overthrowing the socialist regime, infringing upon national independence, sovereignty and interests of Vietnamese people are foes.
In 2020, Việt Nam will play the role of ASEAN Chair and non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). What highlights in military and defence activities will Việt Nam have to contribute to peace and prosperity in the region and the world?
The roles of ASEAN Chair and non-permanent member of the UNSC are regional and global responsibilities.
In order to contribute to the success of these two responsibilities, the MoND has actively prepared all aspects for organising military and defence events in 2020.
The MoND will preside over 24 military and defence events as ASEAN Chair 2020 and host six conferences and forums as the non-permanent member of the UNSC. Of those 30 events, the most prominent are the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM), ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM +), ASEAN Maritime Security Exercise, International Fleet Review, International Defence Exhibition in Việt Nam and ASEAN Military Sports Festival.
With determination and a proactive spirit, the MoND will do its best to successfully organise military and defence events, making a good impression on international friends about the country, people and image of the Việt Nam People's Army. We will continue to affirm the contribution of Việt Nam and the Việt Nam People's Army to the ASEAN community, as well as contribute to maintaining the environment of peace, stability and development in the region and the world. — VNS