Monday, January 30, 2023, 09:48 (GMT+7)
From the Paris peace negotiation in 1973, some thoughts about the foreign affairs in the new situation

Celebrating 50th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Peace Accords (27/01/1973 - 27/01/2023)

The Paris Peace Accords on ending the war and restoring peace in Vietnam was the results of the resilient and undaunted resistance wars by our people in both the North and the South on all battlefields of politics, military, foreign affairs, etc. making a turning point for the resistance war against the US imperialists to save the nation. The Victory of the Agreement has left us many precious lessons which need to be researched and applied into the cause of building and safeguarding our Homeland nowadays.

Half a century ago, on 27/01/1973, the Agreement on ending the war and restoring peace in Vietnam was signed in Paris. Following that, an international conference attended by the foreign ministers of 5 Permanent Members of the UN Security Council and the General Secretary and the representatives of all countries in the Supervisory Committee was held to sign the International Act on the Implementation of the Agreement. Those are the historical events conveying profound meanings and making widely impacts on not only our country but the whole world as well.

According to the Agreement, the U.S. has to withdraw its whole troops and weapons from the South of Vietnam, ending the foreign invaders’ ruthless appearance within our country for hundreds of years. Our army and people have fully accomplished our Uncle Ho’s recommendation on “fighting to kick America out”, making conditions for the accomplishment of the second half of his saying of “fighting to topple the puppet regime” in 1975 to unify the country. Those milestones have improved our country’s prestige and position in the international community as a country which has the small area, fewer people and underdevelopment level but was brave in struggles to defeat huge powerful nations, contributing to the cause of peace, national independence and social progress for people in the world. One of the manifestations was shown when in the year of the Agreement signature, there were another 15 countries making partnerships with our country including Japan, the UK, France, Italy, Canada, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Australia, etc.

These achievements with such historical and era-significant meanings were gained with the sacrifice and struggles by the army and the whole people under the Party’s lucid guidelines, applying Uncle Ho’s great thoughts on the revolutionary struggles in general and the ones in foreign affairs in particular. In which, the diplomatic struggle in the Paris peace negotiation, which was considered the battle of wits between our country and the enemies, left us many precious lessons for present days and also the future.

The success of the Paris negotiation has clearly shown the skillful combination of strategies and stratagems under Uncle Ho’s saying i.e. “Our principles must be solid but our stratagems are flexible”. In accordance with this viewpoint, we have been steadfast to the basic principles of independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity for Vietnam; Vietnamese internal affairs being decided by Vietnamese people; American troops having to withdraw unconditionally from Vietnam. Our stratagems are countless and flexible in the way of step-by-step winning, destroying each component and achieving the whole victory.

Overview of the signing of the Paris Peace Accords in 1973

Presently, we are a peaceful country; in economy, we have escaped from being an underdeveloped country and become a medium income one; in foreign affairs, we have established relationships with most of countries in the world; at the same time, widely integrated into the international economy and politics, joined many multilateral institutions in the region and the whole world as an active member with high responsibility. In this setting, together with the Party’s external relations, the State’s diplomacy and people’s external relations, the Army has drastically established defence foreign relations with the armies in countries in the region and in the world including the powerful countries, even the ones having invaded our country. Defence diplomacy has been taking place plentifully and effectively; in which the ASEAN Defence Minister’ Meeting (ADMM) and the ASEAN Defence Minister’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+) have served as the two important mechanisms; the active participation into the UN peacekeeping missions together with many activities of “skillful public relations” has contributed to the improvement of our army’s and country’s prestige and position in the international community.

In order to bring into play the gained achievements, the lesson of “relying on our own strength” is still valid in the general approach to material and spiritual strength, as the common saying of combining “the hard strength” with “the soft strength”. Presently, though our country is still keeping the manner as a dynamic economy, even in the specially difficult conditions in recent years, with new demands, it is requested that we should continuously endeavour to stand independently on our feet when seeing that the import-export turnover doubles the GDP; in which foreign businesses contribute over 20% of GDP, about 50% of agricultural values and over 70% of export values and almost the trade plus values. Many fundamental industries are weak and in difficulties, even in fields considered as the strong point such as agricultural mechanics, fertilizers, insecticides, cattle’s’ food, etc. Defence industry and military equipment, though gaining some progress and advancing the modernity, still need more attention when the world is vigorously competing with each other on many modern and supersonic weapons which can change the balance of power and the conducting mode of wars.

While our “hard strength” needs to be improved due to the instability on economy, security and politics in the world, we take advantage of “soft strength”. That is the prestige and respect from people in the world to our people and army owing to the glorious feats of arms in the resistance wars against foreign invaders and great contributions to the cause of struggling for the right by the mankind, i.e. peace, national independence, democracy and social progress. That is the correct foreign policies and guidelines by our Party and State, i.e. being consistent in principles, flexible in stratagems. That is the lesson on the harmonious combination between the Party’s external relations, the State’s diplomacy and people’s diplomacy; between the “civilian diplomacy” with national defence and security diplomacy. That is also the people’s spiritual and cultural values consolidated in thousands of years of building and protecting the country, being ready to sacrifice one’s life for the country, the people’s unity will, human nature, and being friendly with all friends in the world, etc.

Nowadays, the whole Party, army and people are trying our best to implement the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress, which emphasizes the policy on “consistently implementing the external guidelines of independence, self-control, peace, friendship, cooperation and development, diversification and multilateralisation of foreign relations; assuring to the highest the national and the people’s benefits based on the fundamental principles of the UN Charter and international laws, equality, win-win cooperation, etc.”. In order to successfully implement the policies on foreign relations posed in the 13th National Party Congress in the complicated international setting at present, it is vital to wisely apply precious lessons gained in the history, being insistent with the principled benefits, cooperating with mobile and flexible stratagems.

At present, the national and the people’s permanent benefits are independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and peaceful environment for the country’s development, aiming to the year 2025 being a country having the modernity-oriented industry, excessing the low average income; to the year 2030, being the developing country with the modern industry and the high average income and to the year 2045, being the socialism-oriented country with high income.

Regarding the stratagems, above all, it is necessary to apply the dialectical approaches on partners and opponents according to the spirit: in each opponent, there are factors from which we can cooperate; in some partners, there is something different and contradictory with our benefits which need to be struggled. In the new situation raises the need to apply the motto of both cooperating and struggling in the way of being the more cooperative the better but not losing the independence and self-control; being determined and wise in struggling when the national and the people’s benefits are violated but avoiding the relation breaks leading to confrontations and conflicts.

Together with such approaches, we do not choose the sides but the more significant rights, i.e. respecting the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and right of self-determination; dealing contradictions with peaceful solutions; promoting the development cooperation; establishing and reinforcing the relations based on the law including the UN Charter. It needs to combine the bilateral relations in all fields of politics, economy, culture, national defence, security, science, technology, people’s exchanges with the aim to maintain and prove the roles of the multilateral mechanisms which are facing many challenges and undergoing the deep and wide restructure.

In the present conditions, the concept of “security” relates to not only the traditional threats but also the non-traditional ones; the requirements for defence from afar relate to not only the field of national defence, security, foreign affairs but also economy, finance, fuels, diseases, natural disasters, etc. In the new situation, it is vital to enhance the close and harmonious coordination among industries, levels and regions.

The final requirement which is decisive includes people employed in foreign affairs who possess necessary qualities that consist of profoundly grasping the Party’s guidelines and policies, the State’s law, keeping the qualities of cadres, party members; being determined and wise in foreign conversations, keen on learning and improving the knowledge and skills. Those qualities are also the ones owned by cadres attending the negotiation 50 years ago in order to achieve the historical Agreement on ending the war and restoring peace in Vietnam, leaving us many precious lessons in the cause of building and safeguarding the Homeland in the new period.

VU KHOAN, Former Secretary of the Party Central Committee, Former Deputy Prime Minister

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General Chu Huy Man: A talented militarist and politician
Man lived to nearly 100 years old and spent two thirds of his life working and contributing to the Party and revolution. Over the course of 76 years in service of the Party and 61 years in the military, having undergone the two holly resistance wars of the country, regardless of working in the mountainous or lowland areas, in Viet Nam or Laos, advantages or disadvantages, he used to stick to communist ideal; be an excellent pupil of President Ho Chi Minh; set a shining example of a great man, a talented righteous general, a good militarist and, politician of the heroic Viet Nam People’s Army.