Vietnam to strongly develop people-to-people diplomacy

(VEN) - Compared to many countries around the world, the overall picture of Vietnam’s foreign economy in 2023 had many bright spots. High-level diplomatic activities have promoted Vietnam’s relations with other countries, contributing to deeper and more substantial cooperation.
Vietnamese General Party Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and US President Joe Biden with high-level officials of Vietnam and the US at an official talk in mid-September 2023 in Hanoi
Vietnamese General Party Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and US President Joe Biden with high-level officials of Vietnam and the US at an official talk in mid-September 2023 in Hanoi

Vibrant year of foreign affairs

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son remarked that 2023 was a dynamic year for foreign affairs with many notable achievements. Firstly, bilateral and multilateral foreign relations continued to expand and deepen, with significant advancements in relationships with important partners, particularly neighboring countries, China, the US, Japan, and many other partners. Diplomatic activities, especially high-level ones, were vibrant and extensive, taking place across continents and in various important multilateral forums such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the United Nations (UN), the Mekong Sub-region, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC), the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), among others. Vietnam continued to play an active role in significant international organizations such as the United Nations Human Rights Council and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son said.

Notably, economic diplomacy continued to be strengthened based on the spirit of Directive 15 of the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee, with a focus on localities, businesses and people as the center of service. Economic diplomatic activities have made important contributions to promoting and further enhancing the quality of economic growth, exports and imports. In 2023, Vietnam reached a total foreign trade value of more than US$680 billion, with over 30 commodity groups having the export-import turnover exceeding US$1 billion. Foreign direct investment (FDI) that Vietnam attracted in 2023 is almost 15 percent higher than in 2022, while the country has had access to many new sources of high-quality capital in the context of global economic difficulties. Vietnam has become the 11th largest economy in Asia and a world top-40 economy. It is among the 30 countries and territories with significant international trade, and has become one of the three largest recipients of FDI in ASEAN over the past decade.

Last year, Vietnam continued to expand and deepen relations with partners, particularly neighboring countries, important partners, and traditional friends. Vietnam successfully organized 15 visits abroad by key leaders and hosted 21 high-level visits by leaders of other countries. Additionally, Vietnam established diplomatic relations with two more countries, Trinidad & Tobago (in February) and Tonga (in September), taking the total number of countries having diplomatic relations with it to 193. Vietnam has upgraded diplomatic relations to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (the highest level of diplomatic relations) with the US.

In the past year, diplomacy also contributed to the protection of the homeland, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, while foreign information and cultural diplomacy continued strongly promoting the image of Vietnam and its culture and people to the outside world. In 2023, Ha Long Bay and Cat Ba Archipelago were recognized by UNESCO as World Natural Heritage sites, and Da Lat and Hoi An were recognized as UNESCO Creative Cities. Vietnam was entrusted with positions in important UNESCO bodies such as a Vice President of the 42nd session of the UNESCO’s General Conference, Vice Chair of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and a member of the World Heritage Committee for the 2023-2027 tenure.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Vietnam focused on mobilizing and attracting resources, and encouraging overseas Vietnamese to connect with their homeland, and at the same time taking care of and supporting the stable and sustainable development of overseas Vietnamese communities. Vietnam protected and repatriated many of its citizens, especially from areas of conflict and natural disasters, in a timely manner, the FM said.

Determination to fulfill foreign policy of 13th-tenure Party Congress

Despite the complex and ever-changing international situation predicted for the coming period, Vietnam’s improved position, strength and reputation in the international arena, as well as its 2023 achievements in foreign affairs all provide a solid foundation for the country’s diplomatic sector to overcome difficulties and contribute significantly to the fulfillment of the13th-tenure Party Congress’ resolutions.

FM Bui Thanh Son stated that based on the effective implementation of the 13th-tenure Party Congress’ foreign policy and the resolutions, conclusions and directives on foreign affairs issued by the Party Central Committee, the Politburo, and the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee since the beginning of the tenure, the foreign affairs sector will focus on the following key areas:

- Firstly, the sector will continue to strengthen the renovation of the mindset on external relations, Son said, stressing the need to boldly go beyond old-fashioned thinking and find new methods for the benefit of the nation. It is necessary to strengthen strategic research, consultation and forecast on external relations, discovering new issues and identifying the strategic position of the country, and making full use of international trend to design proper policies and take suitable steps, he said.

- Secondly, the sector will promote its pioneer role and coordinate with Party diplomacy, people-to-people diplomacy as well as other sectors to concertedly deploy foreign relations and diplomatic forces, firmly consolidating a peaceful and stable environment, protecting the Fatherland early and from afar, and mobilizing new external resources for economic development and enhancement of the country’s position and prestige, the official underlined.

- Thirdly, the diplomatic sector will focus on creating new breakthroughs in building and developing itself in a strong, comprehensive and modern manner, he said.

According to Le Hoai Trung, Head of the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations, in 2024, it is necessary to thoroughly implement the foreign policy of the 13th-tenure Party Congress, relevant documents of the Party and the State, and the guiding directions of General Party Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong at the National External Affairs Conference and the 32nd Diplomatic Conference. In this regard, the top priority remains to maintain a peaceful and stable environment, firmly protect independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.

Ha Huong

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