Diplomacy helps raise Việt Nam’s position in international arena: veteran diplomat

January 21, 2021 - 08:00

Ahead of the 13th National Party Congress, Ambassador of Việt Nam to India Phạm Sanh Châu, a delegate at the congress, speaks with the Vietnam News Agency about foreign affairs

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Việt Nam to the Republic of India Phạm Sanh Châu. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Lê

Ahead of the 13th National Party Congress, Ambassador of Việt Nam to India Phạm Sanh Châu, a delegate at the congress, speaks with the Vietnam News Agency about foreign affairs achievements in the past five years.

How has the foreign affairs sector fared in implementing the Resolution of the Party’s 12th Congress and 12th Party Committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Resolution in 2016-20?

Over the past five years, foreign relations have made outstanding achievements, helping consolidate national security, creating favourable conditions for economic development and enhancing the country's status in the international arena.

The Party's 12th Congress in January 2016 identified three main missions for the country's diplomacy. One is to maintain a peaceful and stable environment, make the most of external resources for national development and improve people's lives. The second is the resolute and persistent struggle to firmly defend the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the Fatherland, protect the Party, the State, the people and the socialist regime. The third is to enhance the country's position and prestige while contributing to the cause of peace, national independence, democracy and social progress in the world.

In the past term, the foreign affairs sector, together with ministries and agencies, was proactive, drastic and creative in implementing major missions to create many breakthroughs and one of the bright spots in all achievements of the country.

In the 12th tenure, the diplomatic sector completed many great tasks, notably the effective response to changes in the world, creating a new position and strength to safeguard sovereignty over sea and islands and territorial integrity, consolidating a peaceful, stable and favourable environment for development, and amicably handling arising problems.

Relations with other countries, particularly neighbouring nations and big powers, have been deepened, while multilateral diplomacy has witnessed an important transition, from actively participating to proactively getting engaged in building and forming important multilateral institutions.

How do you evaluate the plans for foreign affairs in the draft document of the Party’s 13th Congress?

The content of foreign affairs shown in the draft document continues to inherit the wisdom of the Party through previous congresses, and at the same time have developed steps in accordance with the new power of the country, as well as the complicated and unpredictable reality of the current world and the regional and external environment of our country.

The draft document of the 13th Party Congress has been built scientifically, meticulously and gathered the intellectual power of the entire Party and the entire people through many rounds of consultation.

The important point is that the draft has emphasised the core role and important contribution of foreign affairs to the cause of national construction and defence and national development, affirming for the first time the "pioneering role" of foreign affairs towards three basic goals: creating and maintaining a peaceful and stable environment, urging external resources for national development, and improving the status and prestige of the country.

An important development point in the draft is "ensuring first and foremost the interests of the nation", defining national interests as a guideline in the implementation of foreign affair activities. We also clearly define the national interests of Việt Nam are not based on narrow, selfish nationalism, but on the basic principles of international law, equality and conformity, co-operation and mutual benefit.

I think that this is a progressive view, a reasonable policy to develop a balanced foreign policy and ensure the country's long-term interests. The draft document continues to emphasise the importance and the need to elevate multilateral diplomacy. This policy was mentioned in the 12th Congress and will continue to be developed in the 13th Congress to reflect the dialectical relationship between foreign affairs and the position and prestige of the country.

Amid complex and unpredictable changes in the world and regional situation, what solutions will the foreign affairs sector have to carry out its role in maintaining a peaceful, stable and competitive environment, as well as maximise external resources to develop, enhance the position and reputation of the country?

The foreign affairs sector will continue to discuss to concretise the foreign policy set by the congress.

From the perspective of a diplomat, I think that to bring into play the pioneering role of Vietnamese diplomacy, four basic things need to be realised.

Firstly, we must always be imbued with guiding views and find ways to optimise the interests of the nation. Of the three interests of security, development and position, we need to put the priority on development interests, taking advantage of every opportunity to build a rich and strong country. I am delighted to draft the 13th Congress Document which sets out the goals for each timeline. Specifically, by 2025, our country aims to become a developed country with modern industries, surpassing the low average, and by 2030 be a developing country with modern industries and high average income; and in 2045 be a developed country with high income. Based on that vision, the foreign affairs sector will formulate specific strategies and policy directions.

Secondly, it is necessary to ensure uniform management of external activities. Our country has limited resources and has to deal with many challenges at the same time, so efficiency and synchronisation must be upheld. Ensuring the Party's unified leadership and direction, the State's centralised management of foreign affairs and international integration are imperatives and practical requirements.

Thirdly, fully grasp the motto of late President Hồ Chí Minh. The world situation always changes rapidly and abnormally, so the foreign affairs sector must always be flexible, creative, and proactive in adapting to solve the country's difficulties and challenges. Diplomacy can be considered the "driver" of the country's boat in the integration process, so it must always have foresight, be steadfast in principle, but have the courage and enough skill to guide the boat through waves. How can you catch big fish if you don't go to the sea?

Fourthly, we must build a team of truly professional diplomats, who are brave, dare to think, dare to do, and are sharp and creative. Late President Hồ said, "cadre is the root of all jobs". Likewise, a good diplomat is the root of modern diplomacy. — VNS