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Monday, February 26, 2018, 21:31 (GMT+7)
Vietnam proactively organizes force and takes part in the United Nations peacekeeping

Comprehending and implementing the guidelines for diplomacy and international integration by the Party, Central Military Commission (CMC) and Ministry of National Defence (MND), over the past years, the Vietnam Peacekeeping Department (VPD) has actively taken part in the UN peacekeeping operations, thereby raising our country and Military’s status and prestige in the international arena.

After 4 years of setting up and carrying out the Project “Vietnam’s participation in the UN peacekeeping operations”, on November 22nd 2017, the MND decided to establish the VPD and took over the interdisciplinary working group on UN peacekeeping operations from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is a needed step, meeting the requirements set by international integration and defence diplomacy in the new period, including the UN peacekeeping operations. As the standing agency of the MND Steering Committee for the Vietnam People’s Army's (VPA) participation in the UN peacekeeping operations , over the past year, under the leadership and direction of CMC and the MND, in cooperation with Central and local committees, ministries and sectors, the VPD has taken proper measures to realize viewpoints, goals, and tasks set by resolutions of the Party, CMC and MND, particularly the CMC’s Resolution 806-NQ/QUTW, dated December 2013, on defence-related international integration and diplomacy until 2020 and beyond.

Debut Ceremony of the VPD (photo:

In spite of new, hard mission and inexperience, cadres and troops of the VPD have clearly expressed their political determination, being united, proactively overcoming difficulties, successfully fulfilling every assigned task. It is noted that preparations of forces for the UN peacekeeping operations have been made carefully and comprehensively soon, with detailed guidelines, road map and step, in accordance with the capability of the country and the Military. The VPD has developed the project, prepared the personnel work, organized foreign language and training courses, field trips, pre-deployment training courses, and exercise training programs, and mobilized financial resources. Notably, it has proactively counselled and directly organized the deployment of peacekeeping forces to the UN missions in South Sudan and the Central Africa Republic in the two main forms of individual and unit. Those have greatly contributed to human protection and support; negotiation and mediation of various armed conflicts; reconstruction of host governments; maintenance of stability in the area of responsibility; signing of bilateral defence MoU with 9 countries; and mobilization of a donation of 20 million USD to Vietnam’s UN peacekeeping operations, which has been recognized and highly appreciated by the UN and international friends.

Besides the recorded results, the VPD has also been confronted with difficulties, particularly in our country’s budget to acquire equipment for peacekeeping operations, foreign languages and collaboration in multi-national environment. Meanwhile, it is predicted that in the coming years, the global and regional situations will witness complex, unpredictable developments, particularly religious, racial, and party-related conflicts and disputes in the East Sea, etc. Therefore, international integration and defence diplomacy in general, participation in the UN peacekeeping operations in particular require that the VPD’s staff should grasp the Resolution of the Party Central Committee’s 8th Plenum (11th tenure), the Resolution of the 10th Military Party Congress and the CMC’s Resolution 806, while focusing on the basic measures as follows.

First, enhancing the work of education and propagation to raise awareness and responsibility of the force directly taking part in the UN peacekeeping operations. Under the guidelines: “the fuller awareness is, the more scientific and effective action is”, the VPA’s Party Committee and Command have focused on propagation and education to render the staff fully understand the importance of the UN peacekeeping operations, and to help them improve their knowledge, experience, needed skills and sense of responsibility. Importance has been attached to making troops grasp the rules, mechanisms, conditions on the UN peacekeeping forces; the Party’s guidelines for international integration and defence diplomacy; Vietnam’s goal and consistent viewpoints on international relations (both bilateral and multilateral ones); especially the VPD’s function and task as well as specific task of each force in peacekeeping missions, etc. Emphasis should be placed on making troops able to distinguish between the UN peacekeeping forces and multi-national forces, ensuring that they have theoretical and practical basis for carrying out the work of propagation to make our people and those who love peace around the world understand that operations of the blue-beret forces are in accordance with the UN Charter, international law and contribute to maintaining peace regionally and globally. Moreover, significance should be attached to building troops’ political willpower and neutral position in line with conditions and principles of the UN Charter, and rendering them fully aware of characteristics of the mission and its advantages and difficulties. Consequently, they will proactively overcome difficulties in languages, environment, area, work, especially the fierceness and danger of operations in the areas of conflict, thereby identifying resolve and spirit to overcome hardships and fulfil the task. Forms and methods of education have been flexibly employed; concentrated education according to basic program and training courses intended for work terms have been closely combined; education via assignment to task and self-education via peacekeeping operations in the missions have also combined, with self-education as the main one. Thanks to those approaches, Vietnam’s peacekeeping forces have successfully fulfiled the assigned task, contributed to strengthening the strategic trust, maintaining peace, cooperation and development in the region, the world and Vietnam.

Second, improving the task performance of the peacekeeping forces. This is a breakthrough to realize the guidelines on international integration and defence diplomacy according to the CMC’s Resolution 806. To do so, the VPD’s Party Committee and Command has concentrated on preparing human resources for the UN peacekeeping operations qualitatively and quantitatively, ensuring proper structure and proactiveness, creativity and responsibility of this staff. The VPD has both dispatched cadres to study abroad and organized training courses within the country, while focusing on improving their English language proficiency, native language of the host country, professional competence, especially their skills to adapt themselves to security, political, and military complex condition and environment. Moreover, it has proactively counselled the Party, State and Government to develop the force and extend the area of operation according to the project and in accordance with the UN’s viewpoint, while continuing to enhance the efficiency of operation of the two fields, namely military medicine and engineering, in the missions of South Sudan and the Central Africa Republic and gradually take part in other fields. In the short term, it is necessary to prepare human resources for running for the posts of the UN standing agencies, regularly enhance the advisory, training, logistic capabilities as well as the capabilities to develop plans, settle the situations, and make report to the command of the missions. Notably, due regard should be paid to drawing lessons and developing theory as the basis for proposing measures to improve the effectiveness of operation of the following work terms. It is also vital to actively broaden bilateral defence cooperation in peacekeeping operations with partners all over the world; to renovate defence diplomacy and cooperation practically and effectively; to further mobilize donation to take advantage of international friends’ support and provide the precondition for developing and improving the quality of Vietnam’s peacekeeping operations; to proactively study, complete, adjust and complement the system of mechanisms, policies and legal documents on Vietnam’s participation in the UN peacekeeping operations, thereby creating legal corridor for and facilitating Vietnam’s peacekeeping forces’ operations.

Third, strengthening collaboration with relevant agencies on the UN peacekeeping missions. This is an important element that will create a mechanism of unity and consensus and promote the synergy of components and forces to fulfil the task. As a standing agency which both gives advice to the Party, State, Government, CMC, MND and directly coordinates and carries out the UN peacekeeping operations, the VPD is stepping up renovation and improved effectiveness of collaboration with domestic agencies and international organizations. It is also proactively cooperating with functional agencies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the MND’s Department of External Relations, the Institute of Defence International Relations and foreign partners in realizing agreements on finance and payment for the UN; in acquiring equipment; in receiving, managing and using donations in accordance with the State’s law and the MND’s regulations. Moreover, it is accelerating scientific research on the UN peacekeeping operations, with emphasis placed on studying, developing and broadening the areas, level and degree of operations, and on the work of coordination, command, operation and supervision of sections which are operating in different, complex environments; on the work of review, commendation, discipline management for military staff taking part in the UN peacekeeping operations. Due attention is paying to working with agencies of the UN and the countries experienced in the UN peacekeeping operations to train human resources and foster cooperation in deploying forces to the UN peacekeeping missions. At the same time, significance is attached to cooperating with the UN agencies of communications in propagating our country’s position, just stance and goal of protecting the world’s peace, and actively popularizing the image of Vietnam as a responsible member of the UN during the process of implementing the task, thereby unceasingly raising Vietnam’s status and prestige in the international area, providing important precondition for the country’s comprehensive development, greatly contributing to successfully implementing the Party’s guidelines on enhancing international integration and strengthening external affairs and defence diplomacy in the current situation.

Sr. Col. Hoang Kim Phung, Director of the VPD

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