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Friday, February 23, 2018, 08:02 (GMT+7)
Combining socio-economic development with defence and security enhancement in the Northwest

To meet the requirements of national construction and defence as well as the specific characteristics of the Northwest, the combination between socio-economic development and defence and security enhancement in the region needs to be emphasized and effectively conducted through flexible, comprehensive and suitable measures.

The Northwest is a mountainous border region where the major proportion of local population is minorities, a key strategic location for national defence, security and foreign relations. It is also the forefront territory of our country with untapped potentials for the development of agriculture, forestry, hydro power, mining, tourism and border-gate economy. In recent years, the Party Committee, local authorities and people at the Northwest have strived to overcome their challenges and accelerated the conduct of two strategic missions – national building and defence – in which the combination between socio-economic development and defence and security enhancement has been stressed and enjoyed initial positive results. The Northwest has seen new developments in economic, cultural, social areas as well as defence, security and foreign relations. The structure of local economy has been being shifted positively. People’s material and spiritual life has been considerably improved. Infrastructure, especially power system, traffic system, schools and medical stations, have been upgraded and extended. Operations of many industrial zones and clusters have been started. Investment projects in the region have increased in both number and scale, in which there are several national key ones. Activities in agriculture, forestry and fishery have been oriented towards a commodity production and several production zones have been created. As a result, the all-people defence, people’s security postures and the "people’s heart and mind posture” as well as defence zones in the region have been strengthened. More over, security, social stability and safety as well as national sovereignty at border areas have been well managed and firmly guarded, making important contributions to national stability and development.
However, for many reasons, both subjective and objective, there still remain certain weaknesses in the combination between socio-economic development and defence and security enhancement in the region. At present, the Northwest is still less developed than other regions in our country. With its potentials, the region deserves better economic development. Its economic growth is the lowest nationwide. Poor families are at a high rate. Political systems at some provinces are not really stable and effective. This region is at a very sensitive location in terms of defence and security, which adversaries see as a key territory for their activities, leading to potentially serious instability and threats to socio-economic development, defence and security of the region. Notably, the adversaries have been making use of the poverty, gullibility, ethnical and religious issues and some unsolved problems of the locals to distort the Party’s and Government’s guidelines and policies as well as to divide our national unity bloc and instigate violent movements and riots for separation and the establishment of the so-called “Autonomous H’mong State”. Moreover, illegal religious activities, uncontrolled migration, crimes, drug abuse are complex in the region.
In such circumstance, combining socio-economic development with defence and security enhancement is an urgent mission of the Northwest. To successfully deal with the challenges and increase the effectiveness of the combination to fulfill the missions of national construction and defence in the new context, it is necessary to implement the following measures:
1- Improve the effectiveness of the leadership of Party committees and the management of authorities at all levels in combining socio-economic development with defence and security enhancement. This is one of the most important missions to ensure that the combination will bring about substantive results. Attention should be paid to the improvement of mechanisms, regulations, policies and written instructions for implementation so that they will be synchronized, scientific and suitable to the practical situations of each locality. Besides, it is important to set specific targets of and identify the fields for combining socio-economic development with defence and security enhancement. With its specific features, the Northwest is in great need of investment and is attractive to domestic and foreign investors. With available lessons of other regions, Northwestern provinces have reviewed and assessed plans for the establishment of economic, industrial and residential zones, especially those in the key areas and projects in sensitive ones, to ensure the good combination between socio-economic development and defence and security. Notably, all signs of overestimate economic benefits need to be prevented, especially at less developed provinces where some people tend to pursue economic benefits at all prices. It is important to develop a stable and strong political system and improve Party committees and authorities’ leadership and management as well as the ability and responsibilities of bodies and cadres who are in charge of giving consultancy on the combination between socio-economic development and defence-security enhancement. At the same time, specific mechanisms and suitable policies should be established for effective combination of socio-economic development and defence and security enhancement.

2- Closely coordinate the socio-economic objectives with defence and security from the initial stage of planning, strategic zoning and policy making of each province and the whole region. Towards that end, provinces in the region should proactively consider the contents of combining socio-economic development with defence and security enhancement right at the stage of policy making, planning at all levels, in all services and branches. The combination of socio-economic development and defence-security enhancement should be implemented comprehensively, yet focused on the dual-use of relevant programs and projects; attention should be paid to key zones, remote, border, revolutionary, underdeveloped areas, and those sensitive in terms of defence and security should be given priorities. Because of the key important position of the Northwest, the Party and Government should have a regional plan and inter-region linking mechanism and even specialized resolution (if needed) on socio-economic development and defence and security enhancement in the region to improve the effectiveness of the combination of the two, thereby meeting the requirements and targets of combining socio-economic development with defence and security enhancement in both short and long term. 

3- Comprehensively implement various measures to make socio-economic, defence and security breakthroughs in the Northwest. Socio-economic stability and development are solid base for the improvement of defence and security, especially in the Northwest. Therefore, more than ever, it is crucial to accelerate the economic development in the region, focusing on hunger eradication and poverty alleviation program, especially in remote, border areas and ethnic minority’s communities. Provinces in the region should seek for the ways to tap their potentials of land, minerals, hydro power and foreign trade. In parallel with economic development, they should also promote the development of culture, intellectual standards of people, social progress and equity, aiming at a comprehensive and stable development which will generate firm spiritual, material and technical foundations for defence consolidation. Northwestern provinces should continue to search for additional resources and allocate them to infrastructure projects, especially traffic system ones, in a suitable way; improve education for better human resources, giving attention to labours of ethnic minorities; formulate policies to develop the agro forestry fisheries processing industry to improve productivity, create more jobs and provide secure incomes for local people to ensure peace in local communities and firm “people’s heart and mind posture”. In the future, the economic – defence zones should be further upgraded to improve their results. A number of measures should be employed, focusing on utilizing various resources to invest in and implement infrastructure projects; provide cultural and health care services to minority’s communities to gradually create new residential areas along national borders, thereby generating new political, economic, social, defence and security potentials and postures in the Northwest to contribute to the region’s economic, cultural and social development and strengthened defence and security.
Maj. Gen. Phung Ngoc Son, Commander of Engineer Corps

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