Tuesday, September 01, 2020, 15:20 (GMT+7)
Value of the 1945 Declaration of Independence to the cause of national defence today

The 1945 Declaration of Independence was not only a proclamation to the world about Viet Nam’s independence, but also an affirmation of Vietnamese people’s iron will to safeguard this independence. National spirits and bravery shown in the Declaration of Independence always serve as a guideline for Viet Nam’s current and future generations in the cause of safeguarding the Homeland.

President Ho Chi Minh read the Declaration of Independence to proclaim the foundation of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam to the world on 2 September 1945 at the historic Ba Dinh Square and asserted that “Viet Nam has the right to be free and independence and, in fact, has become a free and independent country. The entire people of Viet Nam are determined to mobilise all their spiritual and material strength, and to sacrifice their lives and property in order to firmly uphold their right to liberty and independence”. This statement demonstrated the willpower and courage: “Vietnamese people would rather sacrifice everything than lose their country and return to slavery”. It was also a proclamation sent to future generations, which displayed the spirits: “Nothing is more precious than independence and freedom”.

70 years have passed but the significance and value of the Declaration of Independence to the cause of safeguarding the Homeland remain intact. In today’s national construction and defence, our Party, State, and people always regard “the strengthening of national defence and security to firmly protect the socialist Vietnamese Homeland as a key regular task of the Party, State, political system, and the whole people, and the People’s Army and People’s Public Security as the core forces”. On soundly understanding that the strength to safeguard the Homeland is the overall power, over the past few years, our Party and State have persistently led the implementation of many policies in various fields, including economy, politics, culture, national defence, security, diplomacy, etc., to generate potential and posture for this cause, and recorded significant achievements. The 12th National Party Congress asserted that “it is against the backdrop of complex development in the world and region that we struggle resolutely and persistently to firmly preserve independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity of the Homeland; proactively, resolutely, and persistently struggle by suitable means to successfully protect sovereignty, seas, islands, airspace, and maintain a peaceful and stable environment conducive to national development”. Draft documents of the 13th National Party Congress (12th Tenure) also emphasised achievements in the course of national defence in recent years, notably the “firm protection of independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity; defence of national interests; maintenance of political stability and a peaceful environment for national building and development. The combination of economic development with strengthening national defence and security becomes increasingly close, in which priorities are given to developing maritime economy in connection with protection of sovereignty over seas and islands”. We have accomplished land border demarcation and marker planting with China, completed the increase and upgrade of border markers on Viet Nam-Laos border, and are negotiating with Cambodia to finish land border demarcation and marker planting. Moreover, Viet Nam has accomplished demarcation of the Gulf of Tonkin with China and demarcation of overlapping waters with Thailand. This has brought about more publicity and clarity of national boundaries and created favourable conditions for the management and protection of sovereignty, border security in the new situation. Despite limited economic potential, our Party and State, together with people’s unanimity, have paid attention to building the all-people national defence and all-people national defence posture across the country; making the military comprehensively strong, in which some forces advance straight to modernity; establishing the Coast Guard and the Fisheries Surveillance Force to improve law enforcement at sea; and developing potential and posture at the Spratly Islands and DK1 platforms to safeguard sovereignty of the country over the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf.

Currently, national defence is witnessing new developments with both advantages and disadvantages. Our country’s status and strength have been greatly enhanced; however we are facing acute challenges. “Hostile forces continue to step up their acts of sabotage against our Party, State, and country. There are growing unforeseeable risks in the East Sea. The struggle to safeguard sovereignty over waters, islands, and territorial integrity of our country is a difficult, complex, and enduring process”. It is within this context that the oath of “mobilising all spiritual and material strength, sacrificing lives and property to firmly uphold the right to that liberty and independence” resounds and urges today’s generations to make every effort to fulfil the goal and mission of defending the Homeland in the new situation through practical deeds.

First, it is necessary to promote political education for people from all strata of society to ensure that national defence is a key, regular task of the whole political system and people; persistently propagandise and elucidate the connotation of the goals and mission to safeguard the Homeland today, which are not only to “firmly safeguard independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity”, but also “to protect the Party, State, people, socialist regime, culture, and national interests”. Besides, there needs to further emphasise that the strength of national defence is vested in the overall power of the entire people, of the whole political system in connection with power of the times and support of the international community for response to traditional and nontraditional security threats. Key contents of the Strategy to Safeguard the Homeland in the new situation, Viet Nam’s National Defence Strategy, and Strategy to Safeguard the Homeland in Cyberspace are to be disseminated through appropriate forms.

Second, it is important to actively propagandise to raise people’s awareness of national sovereignty and territories, making them correctly understand the comprehensiveness of sovereignty issue, which includes politics, economy, culture, national defence, security, and diplomacy. In the context of globalisation, the “invasion” of economy and culture staged by external forces is no less dangerous than territorial encroachment through military operations. Loss of culture means loss of everything. Loss of economic independence and self-reliance sooner or later will lead to loss of self-reliance in politics and loss of national sovereignty. Consequently, in the cause of national defence today, we need to deeply grasp the guideline of acting flexibly while maintaining firmly our own principles in order to address situations in a sensible way, which helps to firmly maintain independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity while fostering a peaceful, stable environment for national building and development in every aspect. In addition, it is vital to be well aware that protection of independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the country must be carried out in all national frontiers. Accordingly, attention should be paid to establishing the all-people national defence potential and posture in connection with the people’s security posture and the all-people border posture nationwide, in all national frontiers, with the aim of building borders of peace, friendship, cooperation, and development with neighbouring countries.

Third, effort should be concentrated on making our Party truly pure and strong in terms of politics, ideology, organisation, and morality. This is one of the most fundamental measures to defend the Homeland from afar. Protection of the Homeland today is not only limited to physical-territorial aspect but extended to include socio-political area. Thus, Party building is the key mission in the cause of national construction and defence. To successfully realise this content requires us to consistently speed up implementing Resolution of the 4th Party Central Committee (12th tenure) on Party building; prevent and push back degradation in political ideology, morality, lifestyle, and manifestations of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” within the Party; align implementation of Directive No. 05-CT/TW of the Politburo (12th tenure) on “stepping up studying and following Ho Chi Minh’s thought, morality, and lifestyle”. Furthermore, there needs to take initiative in attacking and struggling to defeat any “peaceful evolution” plots of hostile forces, firmly preserve political stability, social order, and safety, protect the Party, reform process, and socialist regime.

Fourth, implementation of national defence today must be on the basis of actively promoting Viet Nam’s position on the international arena; consistently pursuing foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, diversification and multilateralization of external relations; consistently carrying out the policy of “neither joining any military alliances, siding with one country against another, giving any other countries permission to set up military bases or use its territory to carry out military activities against other countries nor using force or threatening to use force in international relations.” Events in the history have indicated that hopes of reliance on foreign forces to defend independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity of the country are only illusions and extremely dangerous. Therefore, it is necessary to thoroughly perceive the guideline of “struggle along with cooperation” to have a dialectical outlook on “subject of struggle” and “subject of cooperation” so as to exploit “commonalities” with each “subject of struggle” while resolutely struggling with each “subject of cooperation” to settle existing contradictions on the principle of protecting national interests and taking firm maintenance of a peaceful, stable environment conducive to national development as the utmost interest.

Fifth, steadfastness in the motto “resolve to use all measures consistent with Vietnamese law and international law to firmly defend the sovereignty over the Paracels and Spratlys while being determined to upholding a peaceful, stable environment for national building”. The current situation requires us to persistently struggle by peaceful means consistent with international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), demands parties concerned to strictly implement the ASEAN-China Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and strive for early conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC). However, we must have operations plans for emergency situations that prompt us to act in self-defence. This clearly expresses our consistent aspiration for peace and friendship, but we are ready to sacrifice our lives and property for defending sovereignty and sacred territories of our Homeland. Consequently, apart from improving subsidy policies designed to support people working at sea and on islands, further investment should be made in strengthening law enforcement forces at sea and modernising forces undertaking combat missions to defend waters and islands, enabling them to effectively respond to potential situations without letting the country be taken by surprise.

Sixth, bringing into play strength of the entire people in connection with power of the times to generate overall power in the struggle to safeguard independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the country. We must make the most of international support for the cause of defending the nation while taking internal strength as the decisive factor. To do so requires us to give our minds to the building of “a strong economy, robust national defence, enormous real capacity, people’s peace of mind, socio-political stability, the whole people as a united bloc; thoroughly grasp and act in accordance with the Party’s guideline, which takes economic development as the core, Party building as the key, cultural development as the spiritual foundation of society, and strengthening of national defence and security as a crucial, regular mission”.

75 years have passed, but the 1945 Declaration of Independence remains the lodestar that guides the cause of safeguarding our beloved Vietnamese Homeland. The significance and national courage displayed in the Declaration continue to be operationalised in the cause of national building and defence today and in the future by generations of Vietnamese people.


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Comrade Vo Chi Cong – A talented leader of our Party and State
Life and career of comrade Vo Chi Cong were closely connected with our Party and people’s glorious historical events in the 20th century. He was a role model as a communist. With his noble qualities, he was an excellent student of President Ho Chi Minh. He expressed his absolute loyalty to our revolution’s goal and ideal, while dedicating himself to our Party and people’s revolutionary cause.