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Vietnamese aspiration: A desire for sustainable development and national modernisation

1. Ho Chi Minh’s aspiration: A longing for independence, liberty, and happiness

One of the new, outstanding, and overarching points in documents of the 13th National Party Congress is the stress placed on Vietnamese aspiration for sustainable development and national modernisation. It is precisely the longing and ambition of President Ho Chi Minh, the great leader of our Party and entire nation. He dedicated the whole life and cause to Vietnamese people. He is the image of the nation, the soul of the great national unity, and the most vividly and moving embodiment of Vietnamese aspiration.

When he was alive, he once said that, throughout a whole life, he only had one desire, the ultimate desire to make our nation independent, all people have food and clothing, and everyone is educated and live in happiness. In the “Declaration of Independence,” he affirmed the basic, sacred rights of Vietnamese people and nation, and among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In his capacity as Prime Minister and State President, he and the entire Party and people worked together to establish the first republic democratic regime in our country, lay the foundation for the new regime, and overcome numerous difficulties, challenges, and sacrifices since the early days of the new Vietnamese nation. Right at the first meetings of the Government, he called for concentrating efforts on immediately addressing six urgent issues directly relating to people’s life, which included solving the problems of hunger and ignorance, drafting the first Constitution and holding the General Election to the National Assembly with the aim to assert the legal status of the democratic republic state, readjusting psychology and personality and reviving people’s spirits after nearly a century under slavery, and proclaiming freedom of religion and belief and unity of all people, which served to build up strength for regime construction and national defence.

In terms of national reconstruction, he directed implementation of some urgent tasks, which included making the people have food to eat, clothes to wear, places to lodge, and be educated. The work was done for the people, to give the people the rights to liberty and democracy, and to make them deserve to be masters of new regime. He expected “Vietnamese people to definitely become an erudite one.” When the war of aggression conducted by imperialists and colonialists was looming large, he was still sensitive, diligent, and quick-witted about the role of culture. “Culture lights the way for people,” said Ho Chi Minh at the 1st Cultural Congress for National Salvation in 1946. Ho Chi Minh’s aspiration was conveyed in a message about development, national liberation, people’s advancement of learning, and future orientation.

Ho Chi Minh’s aspiration was also coined in a statement of significant importance as a declaration and of great value as a guiding platform since our Party’s official operation after the 2nd Party Congress in 1951, which read: “making Viet Nam into a peaceful, independent, united, democratic, prosperous and powerful country.” His “ultimate desire” or lifetime wish shown in his statement was that “the entire Party and people are wholeheartedly united to make Viet Nam a peaceful, independent, democratic, and prosperous country, making worthy contribution to revolutionary cause in the world.”

He only replaced “prosperous and powerful” by “prosperous” to facilitate people’s understanding, memory, operation, and achievement. He was also the one who could inspire the whole nation in every step and action. He had high hopes of the young generation of our country. His educational ideology of “science, democracy, humanity, and modernity” was clearly expressed in a letter sent to pupils on the first opening day under the new regime in September 1945. Accordingly, a new education would enable pupils to “freely make the most of their innate abilities.” “The possibility that Viet Nam has a bright future and catch up with powers around the world largely rests on children’s schooling.” It can be said that his aspiration for development begins with education, subtly reflecting his ideology of treating education as the leading national policy and the way to make Vietnamese people thrive.

The aspiration of Ho Chi Minh and Viet Nam is also the ambition for reform by means of integration and leverage of the internal power of Vietnamese people and nation while acquiring the cultural quintessence of the mankind and using external strength as a driver for Viet Nam’s remarkable, rapid, and sustainable development. Ho Chi Minh’s longings shown through his ideology and great legacy are comprehended and applied by our Party and people to spur innovation and creativity, tap on potentials, and resolutely realise his teaching of “unity, unity, great unity; success, success, great success” with a view to achieving Vietnamese desire for sustainable development and national modernisation.

2. Vietnamese aspiration: An ambition for sustainable development and national modernisatiion reflected in documents of the 13th National Party Congress

The ideas about Vietnamese aspiration have been clearly illustrated in the theme of the Congress, the Political Report, assessment of the implementation of the Socio-economic Development Strategy for the period of 2011 – 2020, and formulation of the Socio-economic Development Strategy for the 2021 – 2030 timeframe as well as the Report on Party building and examination of the compliance with Party’s regulations.  Our Party’s emphasis on Vietnamese aspiration at the 13th Party Congress is important in every aspect.

First, we have successfully carried our reform for 35 years. Situations in the world and our country have experienced profound changes. The protracted socio-economic crisis occurring in the 1980s had great impacts on our country. We successfully overcame this crisis after one decade’s reform, providing a solid foundation for sociopolitical stability and premise for our country to embark on a new development period, that is to say enhanced industrialisation and modernisation according to a new thinking, a new model, and a new way of doing things. More importantly, during crisis resolution, Viet Nam did not let the crisis lead to political crisis and regime change as occurred in many countries. Viet Nam seeks to become a modern industrial country in the mid-21st century.

Second, despite huge achievements of historical importance, we are making every effort to clear the hurdles to development, which are institutions, especially the ones governing the growth model of socialist-oriented market economy; technical infrastructure – technology and socio-economic infrastructure; and quality of human resources. This will serve to deal with issues of economic, social, cultural development as well as reform and promote operational quality and effective of the political system, satisfying demand of rapid and sustainable development. Consequently, we must try our best to seize opportunities and overcome challenges in the process of reform and international integration. Leverage of willpower, aspiration, and strength of the great national unity in connection with power of the times to foster innovation and creation is vital to our Party and people. We need to grasp Vietnamese aspiration – the ambition for sustainable development and national modernisation - in the following fields.

First, Vietnamese aspiration emphasised in the theme of the Congress serves as a message of development our Party proclaims before the entire people, international friends and partners. Vietnamese aspiration is the willpower and strength of Viet Nam, close solidarity between the Party and people to “further strengthen Party building and building of the socialist law-governed state and pure, strong political system”. This is a matter of significant importance and the ruling Party’s political, moral, and legal responsibility to national development and people’s life. Vietnamese aspiration is the result of core ideologies, considerable spiritual momentum, and endogenous power of Vietnamese culture and people, which facilitates completion of reform and development for the goals of rapid sustainable development and robust national defence.

Second, Vietnamese aspiration is specified in our Party’s vision and development direction. To realise and make Vietnamese aspiration become true requires us to bring into full play internal strength and take advantage of external strength with the internal strength and human resources as the most important factors. It defines that one of three strategic development breakthroughs is “development of the human resources, particularly the highly qualified human resources for key fields”. Therefore, furthering education and training as well as science and technology is top national policy.

Third, Vietnamese aspiration in the development sense is also expressed in key missions of the entire Party and people. The Party places emphasis on “tapping aspiration for developing Viet Nam into a strong, wealthy nation; bringing into play cultural value and strength of Vietnamese people in the cause of national construction and defence and international integration; successfully carrying out social policies to create radical changes in social management and development, promote progress and social justice, and improve people’s life.”

Fourth, Vietnamese aspiration is the ambition for development in close association with reform and international integration. This is one of Ho Chi Minh’s great ideologies he intended to introduce to our country since early day. Today, our Party makes every effort to realise his instructions with the spirits of “proactively, keenly seizing opportunities, resolutely overcoming difficulties and challenges, and continuing to vigorously innovate thinking, improve institutions, and tap all ambitions, potentials, and resources for development.” This is precisely the strong wish for rising and high political resolution to enable our country to reap development miracles for the sake of a powerful, prosperous Vietnamese nation advancing in the same rank with powers around the globe, successfully fulfilling Ho Chi Minh’s wish and hope of the whole nation.

Vietnamese aspiration has been the source of inspiration for the entire Party, people, and military to accomplish the goal of sustainable development and national modernisation resolutely and successfully by the mid-21st century.

Professor, Doctor Hoang Chi Bao

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