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Tuesday, November 03, 2020, 10:03 (GMT+7)
On the building of the all-people national defence’s diplomatic potential

Diplomatic potential is an important part of the all-people national defence. Therefore, like other types of potential, the diplomatic potential must be built and organised in a comprehensive, systematic manner right in peacetime to serve our diplomatic struggle for the Homeland protection in defence-security situations and maintain readiness for being mobilised in a war.

The construction of the all-people national defence is a strategy of our Party and State and aimed at promoting the synergy of components, forces and fields, improving the national defence strength and the country’s defence capacity, and firmly protecting the Homeland in any situation. Over the years, our Party and State have adopted a large number of measures to build the all-people national defence in terms of potential, force and posture, with importance attached to the politico-spiritual, economic, military, and scientific-technological potential. As for the diplomatic potential, Vietnam’s 2019 National Defence White Paper first advocated “promoting the role of defence diplomacy’s potential in executing the strategy to defend the Homeland from afar.” Although theories of the all-people national defence’s diplomatic potential (diplomatic potential for short) are being perfected step by step, we have begun building this type of potential and attained significant achievements. Great value has been attached to formulating foreign policies to meet the requirements of international integration and attract external resources for military modernisation, national defence consolidation and the Homeland protection. Due regard has been paid to developing the force in charge of external affairs and military diplomacy both quantitatively and qualitatively. The system of legal normative documents on diplomacy and the building of diplomatic potential has been gradually completed as the basis for facilitating external affairs and defence diplomacy, thereby contributing to improving the effectiveness of defence-security diplomacy struggle, pushing back the risk of war, defending the national sovereignty, and creating a peaceful, stable environment for the country’s development.

However, in addition to the recorded achievements, the awareness and responsibility of a section of cadres, party members and citizens towards the building of diplomatic potential have yet to be full. Some local party committees and authorities as well as several offices and units within the armed forces have not attached importance to leading, directing or managing the building of diplomatic potential yet. Material and financial support has yet to be sufficient or timely for external affairs and diplomatic struggle for the Homeland protection. Researches into this field have yet to be detailed.

Hence, it is necessary to work towards solutions to build the diplomatic potential so that we could get prepared for our diplomatic struggle in all situations, with a focus on the following.

1. Raise the entire Party, Military and people’s awareness and responsibility towards the construction of diplomatic potential. Sectors and localities should concentrate on rendering the whole political system and people, especially the armed forces fully aware that diplomatic potential represents a fundamental part of the all-people national defence and it must be prioritised and well organised like others. In the process, all forces, authorities and citizens must clearly understand that diplomacy is a strategy by our Party and State and serves as a method of protecting the Homeland from afar by peaceful means. At the same time, consideration should be given to renewing and diversifying the contents, forms and methods of education and propagation to enable the entire political system and people, particularly the force in charge of external affairs, the peacekeeping force, and relevant offices, units and localities to grasp and flexibly, effectively apply our Party and State’s resolutions and directives on international integration, external affairs and defence diplomacy, such as the Politburo’s Resolution 22-NQ/TW, dated April 10th, 2013 on international integration, the Prime Minister’s Decision 40/QĐ-TTg, dated January 7th, 2016 on approving the overall strategy for international integration towards 2020, with a vision towards 2030, and the Central Military Commission’s Resolution 806-NQ/QUTW, dated December 31st, 2013 on international integration and defence diplomacy towards 2020 and beyond. Besides, it is essential to study and clarify measures for building the diplomatic potential, factors in this field, domestic and international mechanisms, policies and laws as well as responsibility of each subject as the foundation for the implementation process.

Furthermore, the work of education and propagation must be diverse and included in military schools’ basic training programmes, in-service training courses for cadres, and defence and security education courses for all groups of learners. Special talk shows, conferences and forums on the building of diplomatic potential intended for the force in charge of diplomacy must be well organised at each level. Due attention should be paid to actively fighting against the argument that the construction of the all-people national defence’s types of potential, including the diplomatic one is the responsibility of the armed forces or the force in charge of external affairs only.

2. Strengthen the Party’s leadership over and State’s management of the building of diplomatic potential. Party committees and authorities from Central to local levels should be acutely aware that it is one of their central political tasks and an objective need, while focus their leadership and direction on effectively performing this task within their offices, units and localities. Authorities, sectors and localities, especially the armed forces should continue to develop, supplement and complete mechanisms, policies, legal documents and regulations on leading, managing, commanding, operating and supervising the construction of diplomatic potential synchronously, closely as well as on assigning responsibilities to each organisation and individual in the process. In this regard, great weight should be added to promoting the role of the Party Central Commission’s External Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and diplomatic offices of the Military and the Public Security Force in counselling, directing and guiding this task. As the core force in building the diplomatic potential, the Ministry of National Defence should cooperate with relevant forces in advising our Party and State on developing and adjusting strategies and policies for military diplomacy and international integration, particularly for the diplomatic struggle against the complex developments in the East Sea and Vietnam’s Southwest sea, together with sufficient viewpoints, guidelines, targets, requirements, contents, tasks, and breakthroughs in a scientific, proper, feasible fashion. Due attention should be paid to improving military diplomats’ capacity to grasp and execute the Party’s foreign policy. Importance should be attached to enhancing their knowledge and capability in analysing and assessing the situation, partners and opponents so that they will produce accurate, practical forecasts and propose scientific measures for raising the effectiveness of building the diplomatic potential. Moreover, it is vital to synchronously, comprehensively take steps in the building of diplomatic potential, from the guidelines, strategies, projects, road maps, mechanisms, policies, measures, execution, inspection, supervision to reviews to draw lessons.

3. Attach significance to ensuring facilities, materials and finance, reviewing reality, and developing theories about the construction of diplomatic potential. First of all, it is necessary to combine the country’s internal strength with external resources to provide sufficient, timely, synchronous, increasingly modern facilities and equipment for the all-people national defence’s diplomatic work. In this regard, priority should be given to developing diplomatic projects, researches, materials, and publications and organising people-to-people exchange programmes in the border areas. At the same time, financial resources should be sufficiently ensured for patrolling and managing national border markers, acquiring equipment for units from provinces, military regions, the Border Guard, the Coast Guard and the Navy to manage the country’s territorial waters, providing national and defence aid, presenting gifts, and building constructions of international friendship and solidarity so as to strengthen Vietnam’s strategic trust with other countries and maintain readiness for diplomatic and defence struggle. Due regard should be paid to accelerating the administrative reform in a quick, direct, close manner under the financial regulations and Vietnamese and international law. Additionally, it is important to closely manage financial resources, particularly foreign aid, raise a sense of responsibility for preserving equipment and means for the all-people national defence’s diplomatic activities, and practise thrift under Ho Chi Minh’s ideology, ethics and lifestyle.

Currently, theories about the building of diplomatic potential has not been generalised clearly, thoroughly or systematically yet; therefore, it is extremely necessary to keep reviewing reality and developing theories. In this regard, emphasis should be placed on assessing several ideological issues, the results of leadership and direction, the staff work, the formulation of guidelines, policies, strategies, and laws on external affairs, the building of a contingent of military diplomats, the provision of materials and finance, and external information service. When reviewing reality, we must make honest, objective, comprehensive, and thorough assessments of our achievements, weaknesses, and causes, draw lessons, and at the same time propose viewpoints, guidelines, targets, tasks, measures and breakthroughs to raise the quality of building the diplomatic potential in both long and short terms.

A part from those above-mentioned measures, we should proactively organise conferences to review the building of the all-people national defence and undertake more researches on the construction of diplomatic potential. Last but not least, we should foster international cooperation to exchange and share information and learn from other countries’ experiences in developing their diplomatic strategies and doctrines as well as their high-quality human resources as the basis for building and making our diplomatic potential strong and capable of meeting the requirements set by the diplomatic struggle and the Homeland protection.

Col. NGUYEN DUC PHU, MA

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