Monday, February 24, 2020, 09:59 (GMT+7)
The Provincial Border Guard of Quang Tri enhances the work of border defence diplomacy

Border defence diplomacy is an important part of the national defence diplomacy work and a basic task of the Border Guard Force, directly creating a favourable environment and condition for managing and defending the national territorial sovereignty and border security. Comprehending its position, over the years, the Provincial Border Guard of Quang Tri has taken various measures for performing this important work and obtained many encouraging results.

The Provincial Border Guard (PBG) of Quang Tri is assigned to manage and defend a 179.345-km-long land border (including the border area in rivers and springs and on land) in the districts of Huong Hoa and Dakrong, with 68 national border markers and 35 border stakes shared between the province of Quang Tri and Laos’ provinces of Savannakhet and Salavan. Over the years, the situation from both sides of the border has been basically stabilised while the unity and friendship between the two sides have been continuously cemented. However, the hostile forces have been taking advantage of the issues on ethnicity and religion to incite and entice the people to destabilised security and order. Drug-related crime, smuggling, and illegal border crossing have been considerably reduced, but they have not been completely settled yet. Notably, due to the historical issues, the people from both sides of the border have maintained the deep-rooted ties of kinship; therefore, they have frequently crossed the border to visit their relatives and buy and sell goods. Besides, as locals’ awareness of national territorial and border sovereignty and law has been insufficient, they have regularly encroached on each other’s agricultural and residential lands and got married illegally, which has negatively impacted on security and order along the border and the work of border management and protection. In order to maintain and foster the special friendship and unity between Vietnam and Laos, raise the quality and effectiveness of border protection, and build a border of peace, friendship, and development, the PBG’s Party Committee and Command have drastically, synchronously adopted measures for border defence diplomacy and the people’s diplomacy, which has helped the PBG to become a typical example in this important work.

A joint patrol conducted by the PBG and the border guard force of Savannakhet Province

First of all, the PBG’s Command has advised the province to issue many documents on leadership over border defence diplomacy. Grasping our Party and State’s viewpoints and guidelines on foreign affairs, national defence diplomacy and border defence diplomacy as well as the Border Guard Force High Command’s direction, the PBG’s Command has helped the Provincial Party Committee and People’s Committee to promulgate a lot of documents on conducting the work of border defence diplomacy in accordance with the border’s particularities and directing localities, sectors, organisations and the armed forces to enhance propagation and engage in border defence diplomacy and the people’s diplomacy. Thanks to the PBG’s advice, the work of border defence diplomacy has been closely directed, combined with the State’s diplomacy and the people’s diplomacy and maintained at various levels and in diverse forms. Visits and exchange and working programs between the province of Quang Tri and the provinces of Savannakhet and Salavan have been organised in an orderly and effective manner. As a result, the arising issues in the border area, such as encroachment on agricultural and residential lands, free migration, illegal marriage, destabilisation of social order, and violations of law by citizens from the two sides have been resolved opportunely and completely. It should be noted that in 2019, the province of Quang Tri cooperated with the Border Guard Force’s High Command in successfully hosting the Vietnam-Laos Border Friendship Exchange Program (at the provincial level for the first time).

To meet the high requirements set by the management and defence of national border sovereignty and security, the PBG has promoted its core role in conducting the work of border defence diplomacy in a practical and effective fashion. On a yearly basis, the PBG’s Command adheres to higher echelons’ directions and guiding documents on border defence diplomacy and grasps the situation from both sides of the border to formulate programs and plans for border defence diplomacy as the basis for its border defence offices, stations, and posts to develop their diplomatic plans in accordance with their function and task. To make this work effective, the PBG has directed its affiliates to cement relations with Laos’ border defence force, built and completed the mechanism for cooperation at all levels, expanded diplomatic ties at both provincial and post levels, and maintained dialogues, joint patrols, and regular meetings in order to realise the signed cooperation agreements, mechanisms, and regulations. On an annual basis, the PBG co-chairs a dialogue with the two Laotian provinces’ Military Commands and Security Departments. It has directed its border guard posts to organise meetings and dialogues with Laos’ police and border defence units on a semi-annual basis. At the same time, it has set up the mechanism for information exchange via direct meetings, telephone, and documents at each level. Since 2017, the PBG has conducted 108 joint patrols with Laos’ border defence force with the participation of 2,530 cadres and soldiers, investigated and solved 30 drug, explosive, and arms trafficking cases. Via cooperation on crime prevention and combat in the border area, the two sides have shared information and experiences in this work.

A tree planting ceremony in the Vietnam-Laos Border Friendship Exchange Program (2019)

Advocating that helping our friend is to help ourself, the PBG has advised the Provincial People’s Committee on formulating and executing the Project on “improving the performance of the Savannakhet and Salavan provinces’ border defence force in the period of 2018-2022,” with a focus placed on organising training courses on border management for their officers and soldiers, giving them financial assistance in acquiring materials and equipment and building facilities. Those practical activities have contributed to deepening the border defence cooperation between the two sides, cementing the mutual understanding, unity, and friendship, and making the PBG and Laos’ border defence force capable of opportunely and effectively settling the issues in the border area and achieving a breakthrough in defending border line and markers, preventing and combating crime, and maintaining security and order in the frontier area.

The PBG has actively carried out programs for the people’s diplomacy and closely combined border defence diplomacy with the people’s diplomacy. Its border guard posts have kept promoting the model of “twinned posts and stations” between themselves and the Savannakhet and Salavan provinces’ border defence force, thereby helping units from the two sides to strengthen relations and raise the effectiveness of cooperation. Additionally, the PBG has actively given advice to and cooperated with border districts’ party committees and authorities in maintaining and effectively executing the model of “twinned villages” from the two sides of the border. Yearly, on national holidays, the border defence forces and local authorities from the two sides organise visits, cultural, artistic, and sports programs, and dialogues. Doing so has helped enhance mutual understanding, raise the awareness and responsibility of locals from the two sides of the border for protecting the national territorial sovereignty and observing the agreements on border and border gate management between Vietnam and Laos, and prevent both sides’ citizens from encroaching upon agricultural and residential lands and getting married illegally in the border area. Up to now, 24 villages in the districts of Huong Hoa and Dakrong have been twinned with 24 villages in 3 districts of Laos. The model of twinned villages has contributed to handling the complex issues in the border area under the spirit of the people’s diplomacy, raising locals’ legal awareness, and considerably reducing violations of law on border.

To make the work of border defence diplomacy increasingly effective, the PBG’s Command has directed its border guard posts to improve their task performance and create a favourable condition for locals from the two sides to cross the border for business and visits. At the same time, it has required the Lao Bao International Border Gate Post to cooperate with the Police Post of Densavan in well adopting the model of “one gate - one stop” at the couple of Lao Bao and Densavan border gates, thereby shortening the duration for import, export, and immigration. Moreover, it has cooperated with border communes’ authorities in conducting hundreds of propagation sessions for locals and meeting heads of villages and clans with a view to taking advantage of relationships and ties of kinship of the people from both sides of the border and encouraging them to conform to the law on border. It has also actively helped the Laotian people with free medical examination and treatment, new-style countryside construction, hunger eradication, and poverty reduction. Over the years, the PBG has effectively executed the plans approved by the Vietnamese Government and the Laotian Government on settling the issues on free migration and common-law marriage in the border area and preventing re-migration and new migration. At the same time, it has given advice to and cooperated with local party committees and authorities, offices, and sectors in encouraging organisations and individuals to provide financial and material assistance in constructing schools, roads, bridges, and houses for locals in the border area and make donations to the Laotian people affected by the collapse of the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy hydropower dam and students in difficulty under the program entitled “supporting students’ schooling.” At present, the province’s border guard posts are giving financial support to 10 excellent Laotian students in difficulty on a monthly basis. In 2019 alone, they gave 20 gifts to Laotian students in difficulty.

Bringing into the recorded achievements, in the upcoming time, the PBG of Quang Tri will continue stepping up the work of border defence diplomacy in order to cement the trust, understanding, and cooperation between the PBG and Laos’ border defence force, strengthen the unity among the people from both sides of the border, and make the all-people border defence, the posture of all-people border defence, and the border area strong as the basis for deepening the special friendship, unity, and comprehensive partnership between Vietnam and Laos.

Sr. Col. Le Van Phuong, Commander of the PBG

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