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Thursday, January 25, 2018, 10:28 (GMT+7)
On the relationship between independence, self-reliance and international integration

Prompted by theoretical awareness and practical activities, our Party has identified that in the cause of the national renovation, building and safeguarding, special attention should be paid to firmly grasping and properly resolving the relationship between independence, self-reliance and international integration. The Party’s 12th Congress continues to emphasize and concretize that perception, proposing the principles and guidelines for proper awareness and settlement of this relationship to ensure the supreme interest of the country.

1. Nature and connotation of the relationship between independence, self-reliance and international integration

This is an objective relationship which emerges and develops during the cause of national renovation, development as well as the integration into the world. It is a dialectical relationship in which the elements interact with each other. Its nature and connotation are characterised by the following main features.

Firstly, independence and self-reliance are the basis, the condition as well as the premise for active and positive international integration. This can be explained as follows: First, independence and self-reliance are not isolated from the world and international integration. Independence is the right of self-determination of the country. Self-reliance is the capability to realize that right in reality. Independence and self-reliance are reflected in all fields from politics, economics, culture, national defence, public security to foreign affairs. The independence, which has been achieved through many arduous fights, is our people’s aspiration to put our country’s name on the map of the world. In the context of current globalization and international integration, most of the nations are actively involved in those processes to attract investment, creating resources for national building and development. That is the positive side of international integration. However, their negative impact is to increase the dependence, even lose independence and self-reliance, especially for small nations whose potential is weaker in comparison with the big ones’. Therefore, the maintenance of independence and self-reliance not only includes the overcoming of dependence, the anti-imposition and the anti-domination but also requires the upholding of activeness in international integration. Second, independence and self-reliance act as the decisive element in the relationship with the international integration. The reality of innovation process shows that thanks to the maintenance of independence and self-determination, we have figured out ourselves its roadmap, steps, methods, content, measures, partnerships as well as areas of development; thereby promoting the advantages and limiting the challenges and negative impacts during the cause of innovation and international integration. Beginning with economic integration, our country has step by step integrated comprehensively into the region and the world. Our foreign relations have been gradually expanded and deepened, effectively contributing to creating new power and advantage for our country. Third, independence and self-reliance bring about proper analysis and processing of information in order to work out practical, synchronous and effective solutions to the rapid changes of international and regional situations, etc. Grounded on those reasons, in order to participate in international integration, each nation, first of all, must be a “subject” – which is characterized by its right of independence and self-reliance. Without independence and self-reliance, it is unable to mention integration. Therefore, independence and self-reliance are the basis, the condition as well as the premise for active and positive international integration.

Secondly, in its turn, international integration contributes to strengthening the country's ability to maintain its independence and self-reliance. That is reflected as follows: First of all, the reality of Vietnam’s revolution, especially in the past over 30 years of reform, shows that under the Party’s leadership, the State’s management and administration as well as by the active international integration and the expansion of foreign relations, we have promoted the strength of the nation in combination with that of the times to enhance Vietnam’s status in international arena and to gain great support from international community in resolving territorial disputes, maintaining peaceful and stable environment for the country’s development. Therefore, proactive international integration is not only a critical solution, but a motive to maintain independence and self-reliance. Second, international integration will create precondition for economic and cultural development – the decisive factor of the country’s comprehensive strength. The proactive international integration will help us integrate more fully and deeply into the global and regional economic institutions such as: World Trade Organization (WTO), World Bank (WB), International Monetary Funds (IMF), Asian Development Bank (ADB), etc. Thereby, it creates favorable conditions for mobilization of external resources such as: capital, science and technology, management capacity, etc. The most important thing is that, we can make full use of opportunities, receiving and applying advanced scientific and technological achievements, training high-quality human resources, contributing to industrializing and modernizing the country under the socialist orientation. At the same time, seizing the opportunities created by globalization, we are able to expand the market with many forms of investment and production cooperation, promoting the strengths and comparative advantages of domestic products, enhancing labor export, increasing incomes for employees, etc. As the late Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet asserted in his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (1990): “… international economic integration and cooperation serve as a decisive factor for speeding up economic growth and national industrialization”. Third, proactive international integration will create close cooperation to define unified and effective mechanism, helping us solve global major problems which have been directly threatening the stability and development of each country, region and the whole world such as: terrorism, climate change, natural disasters, etc. It is showed that all these advantages as well as external resources have only been gained through international integration and cooperation which contributes to enhancing the country's capacity of maintaining independence and self-reliance. However, to that end, we have to improve our internal strength, being capable of grasping and realizing the opportunity. At the same time, it is necessary to adopt appropriate policies and solutions to overcome the negative impacts of the process of door-opening and integration in order to both maintain independence, self-reliance and ensure the development of the country.

2. Handling the relationship between independence, self-reliance and international integration.

The 12th Congress of the Party has clearly stated: "To strongly implement strategy for active international integration. It should be ensured that international integration is the cause of the entire people and the whole political system, and its acceleration is based on the maximization of internal strength, the close cooperation with the enhancement of the national combined strength and competitiveness. The focus should be placed on economic integration as it must be benefitted from integration in other fields. Integration is the process of both cooperation and struggle which offer the proactive forecasting and flexible handling of all situations in order not to fall into passivity, confrontation and disadvantage". Accordingly, in the process of implementation, we have to thoroughly grasp the Party's foreign policy to synchronously undertake policies and solutions; however, first of all, it is necessary to avoid extremism in both awareness and action, such as: the viewpoint that considers independence and self-reliance as a constant incompatible with international integration, or supposes the world as an unpredictable complex so that we should be very careful in relations; or the opinion claiming that in the era of globalization and international integration, it is unnecessary and unable to maintain or consolidate national independence, self-reliance and sovereignty. Simultaneously, there must be thorough and scientific research in the following aspects.

Economically, first and foremost, to be independent, self-reliant, the country must have real strength concretized by an independent and self -reliant economy. It is a well-structured, efficient and secure economy which includes sustainable development and high competitiveness, balanced export and import structure, diversified and abundant product structure with a great proportion of technological and high value-added products. The international market structure is also diverse and avoids focusing too much on a few subjects. Though foreign direct investment is necessary and important, it cannot either play dominant role in the national economy or be spent into sensitive sectors as it can be harmful to the country’s national defence and public security. An independent and self-reliant economy in the context of globalization can be understood as an economy which is highly adaptable to changes of the international situations and less vulnerable to such changes. In any circumstances, the economy is supposed to be capable of maintaining normal social activities, serving effectively the country’s security and defense objectives.

An independent and self-reliant economy is built first and foremost on the independence and self-reliance of the economic development policy in accordance with socialist orientation; on the promotion of industrialization and modernization, creating strong economic, scientific and technological potential and material-technical foundations; and on the proper, efficient and competitive economic structure. The robust development should be placed on the key economic branches, sectors and products that play crucial and effective role in the economy such as information technology, biology, new materials, metallurgy, petro-chemistry, coal, minerals, mechanical engineering, etc. Due attention should be paid to ensuring national food security, energy safety, financial and monetary safety and environmental safety to guarantee that the country develops quickly, efficiently and sustainably in any situation, at ease as well as at difficulties.

Socially, the requirement of an independent and self - reliant nation implies the capacity to practice two modes of social governance: official (i.e., by law and regulation) and non-official (by propaganda, advocacy, education), etc.

The current widespread development of globalization and international integration is creating a series of universal general power spaces that are beyond the control of the national government. In order to overcome the challenges, many governments around the world have actively reformed. Although the content and models of reform are different, but the following three common features emerged in the trend of modern government reform, which we can refer to: Firstly, to implement the decentralization of state power, and the empowerment of local structures. This is not a process of renouncing central power, but rather a means to strengthen the power itself in a more reasonable and effective way. The central government does not replace local authorities in the management of the society in a specific area, but monitors the management by the local government. Thanks to this process, its decisions become more realistic, encouraging more organizations and individuals to participate in social management. Secondly, to bring into full play the role of the market mechanism in allocating social development resources; and to well combine regulatory functions of the Government with the market and society. Thirdly, to promote democracy in the whole society, not only to show the development of political democracy, but also to ensure that all the powers are of the people, and democracy is exercised among the people to help the Government implement the practical management of all aspects of social life.

From the political, security and foreign relations perspective, independence and self-reliance are the requirements of principle in the process of international integration of our country. The political independence and self-reliance imply self-determination of goals and path for national development; self-formation of developmental directions, policies and strategies; self-establishment and maintenance of political institutions, and no acceptance of any external intervention. Political independence and self-reliance are expressed both in domestic and foreign affairs, economics, culture, society, national defence and public security, etc. The logic of the renewal process is that economic reform must be synchronized and harmonized with political reform, administrative reform, democratic expansion, legislative and judicial reform. Such comprehensive reform demands increasingly urgently state governance and the ruling ability of the Party at all levels, sectors and localities. Political reform, in synchronization with economic reform, the optimizing of the political system activities, proper allocation of political power, and effective control of power is the best way to meet the proposed requirements and challenges.

Independence and self-reliance in foreign affairs represent a very important issue which is reflected first and foremost in independent and creative thinking, arising from the supreme interests of the nation not to stereotype and be inflexible in the planning and implementation of foreign policy lines and policies, as well as in identifying partners, adversaries and gathering international forces. National sovereignty in the field of foreign affairs mobilizes in accordance with the door-opening process and international integration. Vietnam’s current broad network of foreign relations is resulted from process of realizing breakthroughs: from the breaking of encirclement and embargo, normalization of relations with major countries, improvement of relations with countries in the region to implementation of the foreign policy of openness, mutually-benefitted equal cooperation, being friends with all countries, actively and proactively integrating into the world. President Ho Chi Minh once said: "The real strength is the gong while diplomacy is the reputation". The conditions for ensuring independence and self-reliance in foreign affairs in the context of Vietnam's accelerated international economic integration are political and social stability, rapid and sustainable economic growth, strong national defence, loyal and professional foreign affairs-related personnel, and balanced relations with major powers.

A high consensus in terms of awareness and effective resolution in reality of the dialectical relationship between independence, self-reliance and active international integration is an objective and urgent requirement for the maintenance of peaceful environment as well as economic, political and cultural stability, and national development, positively contributing to the maintenance of peace, stability, friendship and cooperation in the region and the world. By actively studying and accurately forecasting all developments of the world and domestic situation, and preparing resources and reasonable countermeasures, certainly we will properly handle the relationship between independence, self-reliance and international integration, contributing to our country's successful realization of the goals of a wealthy people, a powerful country, an equitable, democratic and civilized society.

Prof. Vu Van Hien, PhD, Vice Chairman of the Central Theoretical Council

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