Tuesday, April 12, 2022, 22:47 (GMT+7)
Bringing into play its good results, the entire Military enhances defence diplomacy work to meet the requirements of national protection

Integrating itself into the world both widely and deeply, Vietnam has always implemented its foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation, and development with multilateralisation and diversification of international relations. At the National Diplomatic Conference (December 2021) to execute the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress, Chief of the Party Nguyen Phu Trong stated that “under the leadership of the Party and President Ho Chi Minh, on the basis of creative application the fundamental principles of Marxism-Leninism, inheriting and building on the traditions and national character of foreign relations, diplomacy, and culture, and selectively learning from the quintessence of world culture and the progressive philosophies of the times, we have built an outstanding and unique school of foreign relations and diplomacy of the Ho Chi Minh era.” According to Standing Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh, overall, the diplomatic sector has closely cooperated with other sectors and fields under the Party’s direct, absolute leadership and the State’s uniform management to promote the entire nation and political system’s synergy and successfully fulfil all missions, while bringing into play its pioneering role in maintaining a peaceful, stable environment, safeguarding national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and benefits, and protecting the Party and the socialist regime.

Defence diplomacy is part of national diplomacy, tasked with implementing the Party’s guidelines on protecting the Homeland from afar, preventing conflicts, settling all disputes by peaceful means, and making contributions to protecting national independence, sovereignty, unification, and territorial integrity and creating a peaceful, stable environment for national construction and protection.

Under our Party and State’s diplomatic guidelines, the Central Military Commission  (CMC) and the Ministry of National Defence (MND) have focused their leadership and direction on synchronously, comprehensively performing defence diplomacy work and achieved significant results. It should be noted that the CMC and the MND have proactively, actively advised our Party and State on settling strategic issues relating to defence, security, and borders to avoid falling into passivity. Due attention has been paid to managing defence relations with other countries, particularly our neighbours and major powers to ensure national interests, actively cementing international friendship and solidarity, promoting defence cooperation, and tapping resources for building a revolutionary, regular, elite, gradually modern Vietnam People’s Army (VPA), thereby making contributions to strengthening strategic trust between Vietnam and other countries and raising our country and VPA’s position and prestige in the international arena.

Sr. Lt. Gen. Hoang Xuan Chien addressing the online conference to review defence international integration and diplomacy in 2021 (photo: bqp.vn)

Up to now, Vietnam has established defence cooperation with over 100 countries worldwide, including 5 permanent members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council in various fields, such as military training, exchange of military delegations, defence industry, UN peacekeeping, defence policy dialogue, and border defence friendship exchange. More specifically, due regard has been paid to executing twinning programmes between border guard posts or residential areas from two sides of borders, holding exercises on non-traditional and traditional security challenge prevention and combat (military medicine, search and rescue, anti-piracy, and cross-border crime combat), organising joint patrols along borders and at sea, taking part in the International Army Games and ASEAN military contests, maintaining cooperation to settle post-war consequences, bombs, mines, and Agent Orange/Dioxin, and fostering foreign affairs to facilitate socio-economic development and firmly protect national independence, sovereignty, unification, and territorial integrity.

Multilaterally, the VPA has become an active, responsible member of regional and global multilateral defence cooperation forums, such as ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM), ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM+), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), Shangri-La Dialogue, Moscow Conference on International Security, Beijing Xiangshan Forum, and Seoul Defence Dialogue, while proactively proposing many important initiatives at those meetings. Within the UN framework, particularly since 2014, Vietnam has deployed 250 military staff members and 3 field hospitals to the UN peacekeeping missions in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the UN headquarters. Currently, we are making preparations to deploy a Military Engineer Unit with 184 members to the UNISFA mission in Abyei. Doing so has helped prove Vietnam’s role as an active member of the UN in keeping and maintaining peace in the world.

In the upcoming years, the situation on a global and regional scale will continue to be complex and unpredictable. Strategic competition and local conflicts will be possibly more intense. Populism, ultranationalism, and hegemony in international relations are on the rise. The East Sea will witness unpredictable developments. Non-traditional security challenges, particularly cyber insecurity, terrorism, natural disasters, and epidemics will continue to be complex and profoundly impact on defence-security tasks, including defence international integration and diplomacy.

Against such a backdrop, we must frequently grasp and correctly evaluate situations, while adopting synchronous, drastic measures to strengthen national defence and avoid falling into passivity. In this regard, defence international integration and diplomacy act as a task of importance and urgency. According to the Documents of the 13th National Party Congress, we must “continue promoting the vanguard role of the diplomatic sector in creating and maintaining a peaceful, stable environment and mobilising external resources to facilitate national development and raise the country’s position and prestige.” This is the first time Documents of a National Party Congress have detailed the position and role of foreign affairs and international integration. The Documents of the 13th National Party Congress have mentioned the diplomatic sector’s central task of maintaining a peaceful environment and creating a favourable condition for combining the country’s strength with the strength of the times so as to ensure national benefits as the primary goal.

Under the above-mentioned guidelines, in order to bring into play the recorded results and continue firmly protecting the Homeland, in the upcoming time, the entire VPA should actively, proactively, creatively adopt measures to enhance defence diplomacy work, with a focus on the following.

First, organise defence diplomacy activities under the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress, the Resolution of the 11th Party Central Committee’s 8th Plenum on “the Strategy for the Homeland Protection in the New Situation,” the 11th Politburo’s Resolution 22-NQ/TW, dated April 10th, 2013 on “international integration,” the Resolution of the 11th Military Party Congress, and the CMC’s Resolution 806-NQ/QUTW, dated December 31st, 2013 on defence international integration and diplomacy towards 2020 and beyond. In the process, it is necessary to adhere to core contents and matters of principle, and there should be a flexible, creative application of foreign affairs to military-defence activities. Due attention should be paid to proactively developing resolutions, projects, plans, and programmes for defence international integration and diplomacy in a close, scientific, highly feasible manner. It is vital to step up defence diplomacy work under the motto of being “active, proactive, solid, flexible, and effective.” Programmes, plans, and projects on defence diplomacy should be both effectively executed and adjusted to be relevant to the new condition, particularly COVID-19 pandemic.

Second, continue remaining steadfastness in the foreign policy line of independence and self-reliance, persistently implement a foreign policy of openness and diversification and multilaterialisation of international relations, facilitate both cooperation and struggle, increase cooperation opportunities, minimise risks of conflict and confrontation, and avoid being isolated or dependent or “choosing sides.” In order to promote internal strength, importance should be attached to consolidating the strength of the national great unity block and bringing into play the defence-security-diplomacy posture under the Party’s absolute, direct leadership and the State’s uniform management for the Homeland construction and protection.

Third, keep raising the quality of strategic research, forecast, and consultation relating to defence diplomacy and grasping new moves in the region and the world, major powers’ strategic competition, force gathering, and intervention as well as the East Sea situation. Significance should be attached to assessing and analysing advantages and difficulties for defence diplomacy work and the Homeland protection in order to proactively give advice to the Party, the State, the CMC, and the MND on formulating diplomatic plans and strategies properly. In the short term, emphasis should be placed on developing the Strategy for Defence International Integration and Diplomacy towards 2030 and beyond in a close, scientific, highly feasible fashion.

Fourth, focus on fostering bilateral defence cooperation with partners, particularly important and strategic ones and the established defence relations with other countries deeply, practically, effectively in accordance with benefits of our country and others. In this regard, great value should be attached to bringing into play defence diplomacy’s particularities and advantages to build strategic trust with other countries, enhancing cooperation in military science and trade, and taking advantage of external resources to strengthen our country’s defence potential. Priority should be given to developing defence relations and cooperation with our neighbours, major powers, ASEAN member states, and traditional friends, reviewing and effectively executing documents on defence cooperation signed by our country and partners.

Fifth, continue bringing multilateral defence foreign relations to a new height under Directive 25-CT/TW, dated August 8th, 2018 on enhancing multilateral foreign relations towards 2030 and  Directive 12-CT/TW, dated January 5th, 2022 on strengthening the Party’s leadership to raise the effectiveness of people-to-people diplomacy in the new situation by the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat. In the process, it is necessary to actively, proactively propose initiatives and responsibly, effectively take part in regional and global security mechanisms and forums, particularly defence cooperation within ASEAN framework. Due attention should be paid to participating in the UN peacekeeping under the National Assembly’s Resolution 130/2020/QH14, dated November 13th, 2020, combining defence diplomacy with people-to-people diplomacy, maintaining close coordination between ministries, central and local offices, and Vietnamese diplomatic representative agencies in other countries to serve diplomatic activities of leaders of our Party and State, and promoting the role of the MND’s Steering Board on Defence International Integration and Diplomacy.

Sixth, enhance the work of defence external information to render international friends fully aware of Vietnam’s defence policy of peace and self-defence. In this regard, it is necessary to actively renew contents, forms, and methods of external information and propagation practically, effectively, in accordance with Vietnam’s defence diplomacy and the trend of globalisation and international integration. Great value should be attached to promoting the image of the Vietnamese nation, people, and Military in order to raise our country’s position and prestige in the international arena. Besides, it is essential to continue completing legal normative documents on defence diplomacy and making them relevant to international law and practices, our country’s diplomatic legal documents, and the characteristics of our defence diplomacy to meet the task requirements in both long and short term.

Seventh, develop high-quality human resources for defence diplomacy to meet the requirements set by the building of modern diplomacy of the country. In addition to building a contingent of cadres in charge of defence diplomacy, emphasis should be placed on improving those cadres’ political zeal, loyalty to the Homeland, the Party, the State, and the VPA, professional competence, campaign-level and strategic-level diplomatic thinking, capabilities in counselling, managing, and guiding practical activities, and flexible settlement of diplomatic situations to satisfy the more demanding requirements of this important task. Consideration should be given to consolidating agencies of foreign relations across the VPA, particularly within military regions so as to well perform the task of defence international integration and diplomacy in the new situation.

Sr. Lt. Gen. HOANG XUAN CHIEN, Member of the Party Central Committee

Member of the CMC, Deputy Minister of National Defence

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