Việt Nam’s diplomatic sector recorded a successful 2016, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh told local media in a meeting on the occasion of the New Year. — Photo english.vietnamnet.vn
HÀ NỘI —Việt Nam’s diplomatic sector recorded a successful 2016, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh told local media in a meeting on the occasion of the New Year.
Amid unpredictable changes in world politics, Việt Nam maintained an independent and self-reliant foreign policy while enhancing international integration, he said.
In bilateral relations, Việt Nam had built strategic partnerships and comprehensive partnerships with all five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, as well as most other major global and regional powers.
“The year 2016 can be called the end of the building period and witnessed the concrete implementation of these agreements,” Deputy PM Minh said.
Visits by top Vietnamese leaders to important global powers and visits by their leaders to Việt Nam proved the effectiveness of these partnerships, Minh said.
Việt Nam also participated in multilateral diplomatic forums, such as ASEAN summits, the Francophone Summit, and the expanded G7 Summit while contributing to resolutions of the United Nations on children’s rights and climate change, the Deputy PM noted.
The successful organisation of the 8th Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam Summit and the 7th Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Co-operation Strategy Summit in Hà Nội and the World Economic Forum on Mekong Region marked another highlight in the country’s diplomatic achievements.
However, there are still areas that need to be improved, according to the Deputy PM.
“The implementation of the agreements reached during bilateral visits by top leaders, which requires the involvement of multiple sectors, industries and localities, has not lived up to expectation.”
“The problem lies in our poor ‘implementing culture’. This is what we need to improve,” he said.
There was also an unexpected downturn in trade relations between Việt Nam and ASEAN, despite the fact that the ASEAN Economic Community was established at the end of 2015, according to the Deputy PM.
One year since the community’s establishment, Việt Nam and other ASEAN members had worked towards building a single regional market, abolishing tariffs and creating favourable conditions for better connectivity in manufacturing, he said. However, trade turnover of Việt Nam with ASEAN reduced by 8 per cent.
“This probably stems from the fact that our businesses still focus on markets outside the region, or our products are similar to those of other regional countries, instead of supplementing them,” he said.
Looking ahead, the Deputy PM said there were major issues of concern for the diplomatic sector in 2017, including how to maintain and upgrade bilateral relations with other countries amid unpredictable developments in the regional security environment and how to enhance international integration in the context of a resurgence of nationalism and protectionism.
When asked about Việt Nam’s reaction to leadership changes in some major countries in the region and the world, he emphasised that "Việt Nam aims to promote relationships with a country as a whole, not with a single government or party".
The country would continue to pursue a policy of befriending all countries, multilateralising and diversifying relations on the basis of independence, self-reliance and international law, he said.
In 2017, the country faces the important task of hosting the APEC Year with hundreds of events and activities being held.
Preparations for the events were kicked off in 2015 and had been basically completed with the involvement of various ministries, sectors and localities, Minh said.
The contents high on the agenda of APEC, proposed by Việt Nam, include sustainable growth, enhancing economic connectivity, supporting small and medium-sized and super-small enterprises, securing food safety and tackling climate change.
Besides successfully holding the events, Việt Nam aims to promote the image of the country and its localities to the world and introduce to the world various changes that have taken place in the country since the last time it hosted APEC in 2006, according to the Deputy PM.
In response to questions about the East Sea issue, Minh said he believed that it would still be an issue of concern this year given complicated developments last year. However, he asserted that Việt Nam would continue pursuing peaceful settlement through negotiations.
“We are undertaking negotiations with China on delimitation of the sea area off the Tonkin Gulf as well as with Indonesia and Malaysia on delimitation of the continental shelves,” he said. — VNS