Strengthening Vietnam’s Position in International Arena

9:40:36 AM | 8/20/2021

Despite the serious impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam has constantly expanded external activities with important contributions and initiatives that are internationally recognized and appreciated.

Vietnam's foreign relations are being expanded more than ever. Vietnam has already established diplomacy with 189 out of 193 countries and territories in the world. It has signed strategic partnership with 17 countries and comprehensive partnership with 13 countries, including all five United Nations permanent members. Not only countries in the region, but European, American, and Indo-Pacific countries have also paid much attention to Vietnam by exchanging high-level visits. In nine months, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Dominic Raab paid two official visits to Vietnam to foster the strategic partnership and jointly deal with regional challenges. Shortly after, following the official visit to Vietnam by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in July 2021, the United States announced that the No. 2 person of the White House, Vice President Kamala Harris, is expected to pay an official visit to Vietnam in August 2021. This showed that Vietnam is affirming its position and prestige in all international relations.

On the multilateral level, Vietnam has made many effective contributions to important international organizations and forums, especially ASEAN, ASEM, APEC, the United Nations, G7 and G20, and gradually become an important link in many regional and global economic systems.

For the second time (2003-2004 and 2020-2021 terms), Vietnam received the largest number of votes in the history of the Security Council (192/193 votes) for its role as a non-permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations. This showed that countries put their trust in Vietnam as a representative for developing countries, small and medium countries in the Security Council. With a firm mind, Vietnam has performed its role well by successfully hosting the UNSC Open Debate on strengthening the implementation of the UN Charter. In addition, Vietnam integrated a cooperation on the contents of the UNSC and ASEAN. This was the first time the cooperation between the Security Council and a regional body was raised. At the same time, it also promoted Vietnam's priorities: Women’s roles in peace and security. In particular, for the first time, Vietnam drafted a resolution on the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness, December 27, which was already approved. This move enhanced the image of Vietnam's diplomacy on the international economic forum. This year, Vietnam is working with old and new UNSC member states to foster priorities for dealing with conflicts, children in conflict, post-conflict social and economic recovery, post-conflict mine action, climate change and peacekeeping operations.

As a UNSC non-permanent member, Vietnam has advantageously carried out extensive international and regional initiatives, for example at the United Nations or at ASEAN. Vietnam has responded very well to the pandemic domestically and adjusted its ASEAN chairmanship in 2020 to new circumstances and thereby completed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). In 2021, Vietnam has promoted consequences of the ASEAN Chairmanship 2020 and upheld ASEAN’s development momentum, initiatives and contents in 2020.

Furthermore, Vietnam's role in the world and the Indo-Pacific region is also very important. Dr. Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, specialist at the Observer Research Foundation in India, said, Vietnam's commitments to the Indo-Pacific region have produced positive results, helping strengthen relations with countries in the region. In particular, the recently concluded Vietnam - India Summit also was an important milestone as both sides shared common concerns and challenges in the region. Together, the two sides managed to build extensive diplomatic coordination to ensure their stance on sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Vietnam has also built a strategic partnership with New Zealand and shared views on compliance with international laws on the East Sea. Similarly, Australia also expressed strong support for Vietnam on this issue. Another noteworthy milestone is that Vietnam, along with South Korea and New Zealand, joined the Expanded Diamond Quadrilateral Group.

Dr. John Hamre, President and CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), former Deputy Secretary of Defense of the United States, said, "For the United States, in the ASEAN bloc, Vietnam is a trustworthy partner that not every country in the region has. I hope that Vietnam will continue its positive relationship with the US."

In a meeting with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh on June 22, 2021, UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Dominic Raab highly appreciated Vietnam's efforts in assuming the chairmanship of ASEAN and non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council. He affirmed the UK's willingness for continued work and close cooperation with Vietnam at multilateral frameworks, at the United Nations Security Council as well as at other international forums, and asserted Britain's support in preserving peace, security and stability as well as respecting international laws, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in the East Sea.

Apparently, the international community not only appreciates Vietnam's contributions, but also believes that Vietnam's position and prestige in the international arena will be increasingly enhanced. Based on practical and solid foundations, Vietnam can proudly move forward with a positive and optimistic attitude and a strong belief in a bright future ahead.

By Giang Tu, Vietnam Business Forum