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Wednesday, March 13, 2019, 15:38 (GMT+7)
On the relationship between independence and self-reliance and international integration

In the Platform on national development in the period of transition to socialism (which was supplemented in 2011), our Party identified 8 major relationships to be grasped and managed, including the relationship between independence and self-reliance and international integration. The 12th National Party Congress more strongly emphasized this issue when mentioning the relationship between independence and self-reliance and active, proactive international integration. To well manage that relationship, the Party demanded to base on and stay close to reality, to attach great value to studying and forecasting the trends of our country and the world, the impacts made by the regional and global developments on our country in terms of both negative and positive sides with a view to seizing the opportunity and proactively overcoming difficulties as well as to respect the objective rules and to avoid “impartiality, extremism, and idealism”.

1. The nature of the relationship between independence and self-reliance and international integration

This is an objective relationship which has been shaped and increasingly noticeable during the country’s process of renewal and development and international integration. It is a dialectical relationship which should be well managed in order to ensure the nation’s supreme interests. Its nature is clarified as follows.

First, independence and self-reliance is the prerequisite for proactive, active international integration. (1). Independence and self-reliance does not mean isolation from the world outside or international integration; independence and self-reliance expresses the country’s sovereignty and right to self-determination of its development model. Self-reliance means the capacity to exercise the national sovereignty and the right to national self-determination in fact. It includes political, economic, cultural, defence, security and diplomatic independence and self-reliance. Without independence and self-reliance, there will be no international integration. (2) Independence and self-reliance acts as the determinant to the relationship between itself and international integration. When being independent and self-reliant, we decide our own road map, steps, methods, contents, partnerships, and sectors during the process of international integration. It is the Party’s independence and self-reliance lines that help select correct priorities and proper road map for international integration. In the early stage, we proactively integrated in the global economy and then gradually into the region and the world comprehensively; our country’s diplomatic relations have been increasingly expanded and deepened, which has contributed to creating its new advantages and strength. The Party’s guidelines and viewpoints on consistent independence and self-reliance have always been elaborated, supplemented and developed according to the changes in the situation both domestically and globally. That has paved the way for Vietnam’s increasingly deep and wide international integration and greatly contributed to the cause of national construction and protection toward socialism. (3) Independence and self-reliance helps analyze the information and adopt effective measures to adapt to quick changes, soften negative impacts, and encourage positive impacts made by the situation in the world and the region during the process of international integration. (4) Independence and self-reliance provides the basis for taking advantage of great opportunities and minimizing challenges posed by globalization, particularly to the medium, small, developing countries like Vietnam. (5) Independence and self-reliance lays a foundation for our country to promote its comparative advantages during the process of international integration. Only when we fully, widely, and deeply integrate into the world economy, could we export flagship products, such as agricultural, fishery, forest, and textile ones. However, without independence and self-reliance, our comparative advantages during the process of integration will be steered by major countries.

Second, international integration contributes to increasing our country’s capability to maintain national independence and self-reliance. (1) International integration will create opportunities for us to maintain independence and self-reliance in the political, economic, cultural, defence, security terms. After over 30 years of national reform under the Party’s leadership and the State’s management, international integration has become an important resource for us to consolidate independence and self-reliance. Active, proactive international integration serves as a solution and impetus for preserving independence and self-reliance. (2) International integration brings opportunities to mobilize external resources in the country’s socio-economic development. It is international integration that helps us take advantage of capital, technical, technological resources from the outside. (3) Active, proactive international integration helps us effectively industrialize and modernize the country and develop the knowledge economy. Globalization is changing the division of labour in each region and worldwide. We could take advantage of the process of re-dividing labour to promote our strengths and comparative advantages to develop our economy and thus shorten the duration of national industrialization and modernization. (4) Today, many issues, such as terrorism, religious and ethnic conflicts, separatism, and political instability are directly threatening the stability and development of each country and region and the whole world. Therefore, there should be close, smooth coordination and a uniformed, effective mechanism on the basis of cooperation among countries, regions, and the world. (5) Proactive, active international integration will help us more sufficiently, widely, and deeply integrate into the world economy, facilitate our economic development, and maintain our independence and self-reliance.

2. Key directions for managing the relationship between independence and self-reliance and international integration

To obtain the positive results and reduce negative impacts during the process of integration, it is necessary to fight against the viewpoints as follows. (1) Independence and self-reliance can’t coexist with international integration; thus, we should not promote international integration. (2) In the era of globalization and international integration, we do not necessarily maintain or consolidate national independence and self-reliance. So, managing the relationship between independence and self-reliance and international integration must be based on intensive studies related to the following areas.

Politically and diplomatically, on a global and regional scale, to manage this relationship, it is necessary to be fully aware of the important factors as follows. First, the regional environment shall be grasped and well managed. The sustainable development or instability or crises in the Southeast Asia and more widely the Asia - Pacific would directly impact on our country’s diplomatic ties and its maintenance of independence and self-reliance during the process of integration. Second, globally, Vietnam’s diplomatic independence and self-reliance is always impacted by the correlation and strategic relations between major powers and the world’s centres of power. Vietnam’s exploitation of the benefits brought by its integration depends on its stability and development as well as its capacity to manage its relations with major powers and centres of power around the world so that it could maintain the balance of benefit between Vietnam and others. Third, international integration facilitates the country’s development but creates a favourable condition for the external hostile forces to use human rights, democracy, and religion as a pretext to intervene in our internal affairs and encourage the “peaceful evolution” strategy, riots and conversions which threaten our national security.

Economically, to manage this relationship, we should focus on 4 main points as follows. First, to actively and proactively integrate into the world economy, we should officially sign and effectively implement the agreements on international economic cooperation, while building economic institutions of various types relevant to international integration. Second, we should always uphold the socialist orientation in the market economy. Third, it is important to ensure that our economy is not dependent on the outside. Fourth, to maintain the country’s self-reliance, we should build our potential, more specifically an independent, self-reliant economy. It is an economy with a proper, effective structure, needed safety, sustainable development, high competitiveness, balanced export and import, dominance of high-added-value and technological products as well as diverse markets and partners.

To ensure the national sovereignty in the cultural and social areas, the key is to unceasingly enhance the Party’s leadership and the State’s management over culture and society. First, we must build an advanced culture deeply imbued with national identity and new patriotic, creative Vietnamese human, while effectively managing the press, communications and cyber space. Second, cultural-social and ethnic policies must be valued in order to avoid letting the hostile forces break the national great unity block; we should step up administrative reform, improve the quality of public services and the judicial efficiency, and accelerate corruption prevention and combat. Third, as Vietnam has become a middle-income country, we should change the focus of our social affairs from hunger eradication and poverty reduction into social management and welfare. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen the role of the rule of law State, exercise democracy, and further enable the people to get involved in the State’s operation.

In the defence-security area, to maintain independence and self-reliance during the process of integration, while building the potential of defence and security, we must always pay due regard to managing the relationships between Homeland construction and protection, between socio-economic development and defence-security maintenance, and between defence-security and diplomatic missions. At the same time, we should make correct forecasts about the situation regionally and globally, major powers’ strategic adjustments and relations relevant to our country, while preparing the strategies to settle the situations.

The following are matters of principle. First, national interests must be the first target for our domestic, foreign, and international integration policies. Second, the foreign policy must be independent, self-reliant, and not dominated by any external force. Third, we should respect, cement, and establish diplomatic ties with neighbouring countries, build a peaceful, friendly environment, and consider this as the central task of the diplomacy and international integration work. Fourth, we must build the modern, strong all-people national defence as an important basis for protecting the national sovereignty and implementing the foreign policy. Fifth, it is important to absolutely avoid being dependent. Sixth, we shall respect and develop our relations with major powers as they always have strong effects on international relations and peace and stability of the region and the world. Seventh, we should establish multilateral diplomacy. Today, while expanding bilateral relations with others, countries actively take part in global and regional organizations and regard this as an effective solution to ensuring national interests, strengthening trust and understanding among one another, and maintaining security and peace on a regional and global scale. Eighth, we must remain steadfast in our goal of national independence and socialism.

3. Our management of the relationship between independence and self-reliance and proactive, active international integration

Grasping and gradually managing that relationship, we have gained impressive achievements. “Following the Party’s sound foreign policy, over the past years, our country has obtained significant results from external affairs and international integration. A peaceful environment is favourable for our country’s maintenance of national development, independence, sovereignty, unification, and territorial integrity”.

Politically, Vietnam has deepened our relations with partners, particularly the partners of importance to the country’s development, proactively participated in and promoted its role in multilateral organizations, especially the ASEAN and the UN. Political international integration has been carried out rather quickly, widely, and deeply both multilaterally and multilaterally. Bilateral integration is the prerequisite for Vietnam to promote its role in multilateral forums, thereby facilitating our process of wider and deeper international integration. Our integration on a regional and global scale has contributed to considerably improving our internal potential and raising our geostrategic status in the Southeast Asia, East Asia, Asia-Pacific Region, and the world. Up to now, Vietnam has become an active factor in the region, proactively proposing initiatives, encouraging links, particularly the world’s economic and political order, being a responsible and reliable member of the international community.

Economically, we have promoted international trade and investment, expanded markets and effectively exploited the international cooperation mechanisms, the capital and technological resources, the advanced management methods, and the signed agreements, especially bilateral and multilateral free trade ones. According to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, by the end of 2018, registered investments in Vietnam were worth nearly 400 billion USD; it was among 15 countries attracting the largest FDI in the world. There are now over 50 sponsors frequently operating in Vietnam. Besides, our country is receiving ODA from over 600 non-governmental organizations. The success of international integration has contributed to increasing material-technical resources for safeguarding our independence and self-reliance and providing the basis for our political integration and others. The economic development and increased synergy are of importance to maintaining our independence and self-reliance.

Culturally and socially, our integration into the world community has been fostered and deepened with diverse forms, methods, and partnerships, thereby attracting more and more international friends to Vietnam. We have signed over 100 bilateral culture-related agreements and conventions. In 2018 alone, there were over 15.5 millions tourists to Vietnam. The success of our cultural integration has led to the formulation of many cultural projects in Vietnam, which has created opportunities for our people to access and enjoy typical cultural values of countries around the globe and encouraged the people’s creativity. The improved cultural and social resources and motivation will greatly help us preserve the national cultural identity so that Vietnam’s culture will shine among other countries’ cultures around the world.

Integration in the defence-security field is an important task which will facilitate our Party and State’s policy on comprehensive proactive, active international integration, the country’s development, and its cause of defending national independence, self-reliance and sovereignty amidst the complex developments of the regional and global defence-security environment. Vietnam has gradually expanded its defence-security cooperation with major powers and regional countries. Our country has now established official defence relations with nearly 70 countries and defence attaché office in over 30 countries while over 40 countries have had military attaché offices in Vietnam. Our country has also actively participated in regional defence-security forums and gradually joined international security-military cooperation operation on a global scale.

Firmly maintaining national independence and self-reliance during the process of international integration is one of the key theoretical and practical matters of the Party’s guidelines and the State’s law. National independence and self-reliance is a consistent, unchangeable principle. The Party’s foreign policy and its viewpoints on independence and self-reliance and the management of the relationship between independence and self-reliance and international integration should continue to be studied and clarified to achieve a consensus on awareness and action. We should promote international integration in all fields proactively, actively, widely, deeply and effectively as a useful method for transforming the external strength into the internal strength, international strength into the national strength, and the strength of the times into that of our country, thereby maintaining the national independence, self-reliance and sovereignty. Besides, we need to bring into play the recorded results and grasp changes in the world to adopt specific measures for achieving new success in the new situation.

Prof. Vu Van Hien, PhD, Deputy Head of the Central Theoretical Council

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