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Protecting the Fatherland by peaceful means – a consistent policy of the Communist Party and State of Vietnam

Building socialism and protecting firmly Vietnam socialist Fatherland are the two strategic missions of Vietnam revolution. Fully aware of the rule and stemming from the nation’s tradition, international practices and laws, the protection of the Fatherland by peaceful means to create a favourable environment for national construction is a consistent policy of our Party and State.

Fatherland protection is to firmly protect the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the country; protect the Party, State, people and the socialist regime; protect the renewal cause, industrialisation, modernisation, national interest and culture; maintain peaceful environment, political stability, national security, social order and safety. To that cause, it is necessary to employ various measures: violent measures, peaceful measures and a combination of both.

Our Party affirms that: “maintaining peaceful and stable environment for socio-economic development is the prime interest of the country”. Accordingly, protecting the Fatherland doesn’t necessarily mean using war, but the best solution is to protect the country without the use of force. Fostering this policy, our Party stresses the importance of Fatherland protection soon and from afar. This policy was inherited and developed from the nation’s tradition of national defence which is protecting the country since it is not in danger. Meanwhile, the policy also represents the new thinking of our Party on the method, requirements, and mission of Fatherland protection in the new situation. This is the active prevention and preparation the best conditions for Fatherland protection since it is not under any threat. Therefore, it is necessary to “have policies for preventing the risk of war and conflict soon and from afar; actively prevent and soon detect and repel the disruptive elements, especially the internal ones which can cause instability”.

As such, in both theory and practice of Vietnam revolution, it is clear that protecting the country by peaceful means is the consistent and permanent policy of our Party and State. This is manifested in the following angles:

Peaceful measure is always on top of the chosen ones. Inheriting the nation’s tradition, our Party always prioritises peaceful means. Protecting the country by the use of force is always an objective inevitability but only chosen on the last resort. As proven in practice, after the August Revolution in 1945, the French colonialist, under the support of its allies, came back to invade our country for the second time. They unilaterally revoked all commitments, including the Preliminary Agreement signed on 6 March 1946 and the Provisional Agreement signed on 14 September 1946; strengthened military activities and destroyed our peace. In this critical moment, on the night of 19th December 1946, President Ho Chi Minh made his appeal for national resistance. Replying his appeal, our entire nation stood up and took arms against the French invaders, regaining peace in the North and continuing the resistance war against the U.S in the South from 1954 to 1975.

The 2019 Vietnam National Defence White Paper once again affirmed Vietnam’s consistent policy of “not using or threatening to use force in international relations”, “not involving in any military alliance” as our consistent policy is "more friends and less enemy". As such, the defence line of our Party and State is the one of peace, self defence for the maintenance of peaceful environment for the country’s sustainable development.

Adhering to the principle of settling contradictions and disputes by peaceful means, and fully aware of the benefit of peaceful means, Vietnam upholds the settlement of contradictions and disputes by peaceful means basing on the respect of international law. There are many ways to apply peaceful means. Therefore, it is necessary to choose the most suitable one so that all contradictions and disputes are settled on the ground of international law and the principle of equality. Using peaceful means must safeguard the prime interest of the nation and firmly protect the independence and self-reliance of the country. Negotiation is a common practice chosen by countries around the world to settle the contradictions and disputes with the aim to narrow the contradiction, prevent conflict, and strengthen cooperation. The settlement of disputes by peaceful means is very important to the maintenance of stable international relations and the protection of the world peace and security. In Vietnam, our Party has many times successfully employed this method to safeguard the independence of the country, such as: the Geneva Accord with France in 1954, the Paris Peace Accord with the U.S and Sai Gon Government in 1973.

The practice of settling the dispute and contradiction with other countries shows that negotiation is always our top priority. Prior to its membership of ASEAN, Vietnam used to announce its support for the joint statements of Asean foreign ministers. On 18 March 1995, Vietnam announced that “all territorial disputes over the islands on the East Sea should be settled by peaceful negotiation; Vietnam calls for all involving parties to exercise self-restraint, not use or threaten to use force”. Particularly, in the relation with China, Vietnam always show its favour for the border settlement agreement signed on 19 October 1993 in Hanoi with 2 main terms: (1) Using negotiations for peaceful settlement of border matters basing on 5 principles of: respecting each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity; not invading; not intervening into each other internal issues; equality, mutual interest and peaceful co-existence. (2) The two sides shall base on the international standards, laws, and practices to settle the matters relating to border and territory.

Peace is the ultimate and most effective measure for Fatherland protection. International negotiation in the settlement of dispute is a long-established and most commonly used measure. This is because through negotiation, the involving parties have chance to express their viewpoints, position, claims on disputed matters. On the other hand, settling the dispute through negotiation will prevent external intervention which can further complicate the situation. Therefore, negotiation for the settlement of dispute is the ultimate choice which can help avoiding bloodshed on the battlefield, and bringing about favourable conditions for national construction and Fatherland protection against any risk of war.

Peace must be grounded on the potentials and guaranteed by the national overall strength, both material and spiritual. As we have undergone several wars against foreign invaders, we deeply understand the value of peace. But peace only comes as a result of resolute and resilient struggle of the entire nation under the leadership of the Party. Persistent with peaceful means to protect the Fatherland but our Party and State will not stay ignorant of the plot and scheme of sabotage of hostile forces. In order that peaceful means are effective, our Party asserted that it is necessary to strengthen defence and security potentials; build firm all people’s national defence, people’s security, and the people’s heart and mind postures; have policies for preventing the risk of war and conflict; actively prevent, detect and repel the disruptive elements; build the People’s Army, People’s Public Security revolutionary, regular, seasoned, gradually modern and absolutely loyal to the Fatherland, the Party, State and the People; increase resources for defence and security; provide modern facilities and equipment for the Military and Public Security to meet the requirements of protecting the Fatherland in the new situation; build and consolidate the land border of peace, friendship, cooperation and development; enhance the capability of law enforcement for border and maritime forces; proactively prepare a capable force and workable combat plans for firmly protecting the independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and security of the Fatherland in any situations, etc.

In the absence of an overall strength and some other means of struggle for Fatherland protection, peaceful means will not work, as once stipulated by our Party: “Only when we are strong, will other countries listen to us. If we are weak, we will only be a tool for others, even our allies”. Therefore, while we are conducting Fatherland protection by peaceful means, all levels, sectors and forces must take advantage of peaceful environment to facilitate national construction, socio-economic development, and only by this way can we create favourable conditions for Fatherland protection by peaceful means.

Associate Professor, Doctor. Phan Trong Hao, Central Theoretical Council

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For the past nearly 75 years of establishment, combat and growth, under the leadership, education and training of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh, the VPA has become increasingly strong; achieved various feats of arms and outstanding achievements, making significant contribution to glorious victories of the whole nation in the cause of national liberation, construction and defense.
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