Q: On the threshold of the New Year 2017, could you please give us an assessment of the achievements Vietnam has obtained in 2016?
A: 2016 is the first year the entire Party, people and armed forces began the implementation of the Resolution of the 12th National Party Congress and the socio-economic development plan for 2016-2020. In the context of the slow recovery of the global economy with many complicated developments, Vietnam’s economy has overcome great difficulties in the first and second quarter, regaining the impetus for recovery and development both in terms of manufacturing and business; while the macro-economy has been stable since the beginning of the third quarter. And although GDP growth rate did not meet expectations, it remained on top in the region.
In all other regards, social security has been paid more attention and basically been ensured, people’s living conditions continued to see improvements. The political and social situation has been stable, national defence and security have been enhanced. We have firmly and persistently fought to protect the country’s independence, sovereignty, unification and territorial integrity, and maintain peace and stability. External relations and international integration have been deepened and expanded, contributing to enhancing Vietnam’s position and prestige in the global arena.
However, there are still a string of challenges facing the economy, such as low productivity and competitiveness, low-quality growth, slow restructuring of sectors and equitisation of State-owned enterprises. The macro economy has been initially stabilised but has not yet achieved the desired level of stability. The living conditions of people in remote areas, and regions hit by floods, droughts, saltwater intrusion and a polluted environment remained difficult.
Q: The country has gone through 30 years of Doi Moi (reform) process. Could you please give us an overview on the process?
A: Doi Moi is the process of profound, comprehensive and thorough modification. It is the great revolutionary cause of the entire Party, people and armed forces for the goal of building a strong nation and a wealthy people in a democratic, just and civilised society. The past thirty years of reform has been a critical and historical period of the national construction and defence cause, marking the growth in all aspects of the Party, State and people.
Thirty years of Doi Moi has been seen as a journey of deep integration into the global economy at various levels and in tune with global principles and standards. Our country has established a number of strategic economic partnerships and signed 16 new-generation free trade agreements. Fifty-nine countries, including many large trade partners, have to date recognised Vietnam’s market economy.
After 30 years of Doi Moi, we have made great achievements of historical significance, affirming the correctness of the Party’s renewal policy in line with the country’s reality and the development trend of the history. Achievements and experiences, and lessons learnt from the reality have created an important foundation for our country to continue to innovate and grow strongly in the coming years.
Q: The fight against corruption and wastefulness in our country has achieved importafnt results, but the situation remained quite complicated with potential threats to the survival of the Party and regime. As the Head of the Central Steering Committee for Judicial Reform, what is your opinion about this issue?
A: In 2016, the prevention and fight against corruption, wastefulness and negative phenomena has yielded positive results, receiving appreciation and support of the public. Many serious corruption cases have been brought to light, however, to some extent, it has still not met the expectations of the people.
Corruption is identified as one of the major risks that threaten the survival of the Party and the regime. The Party and State will continue to focus on regular directions and mobilising the power of the whole political system and all people, uphold the rule of law in the fight against corruption and wastefulness.
In order to achieve set targets, it is necessary to develop and strictly implement mechanisms to manage, monitor and prevent corruption; in addition to strict punishment against those indulging in corrupt and wasteful acts as well as effective measures to recover appropriated assets. Besides, judicial agencies must work closely with relevant functional agencies to quickly arrest corrupt officials who are hiding overseas, ensuring the rule of law as well as giving a warning to those having the intention of fleeing overseas and putting an end to their illusion of considering foreign countries as safe places to escape punishment.
Q: Preventing and curbing ideological, ethical and lifestyle degradation, as well as the manifestation of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” inside the Party is considered to be an important, frequent and urgent task. Could you discuss some requirements set forth with this work in the future?
A: The Politburo recently organised a teleconference on popularising the resolution adopted at the fourth plenum of the twelfth Party Central Committee which stressed the importance of enhancing the building and rectification of the Party and preventing and curbing ideological, ethical and lifestyle degradation, as well as the manifestation of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” inside the Party. The issuance of the Resolution is derived from the urgent and objective requirement of the task of national construction and defence. We fight for self-improvement. Forces hostile to the Vietnamese revolution have always been trying to transform our political system, eliminate the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam, as well as promote the so-called peaceful evolution in a bid to undermine the socialist regime, and make the communists “self-evolution” and “self-transformation”. They cannot do anything if we stay strong and clean.
The implementation of the resolution adopted at the fourth plenum of the twelfth Party Central Committee is the task of the entire Party, people and armed forces, in which voluntary spirit is the most important factor, while key leaders must set the example for others to follow.
Q: Many voters have expressed their concern as the country is facing serious challenges on sovereignty and territorial integrity, especially after the complicated developments in the East Sea. Could you please give your opinion on this matter?
A: Seas and islands are a sacred and indispensable part of the country. Firmly safeguarding the national independence, sovereignty, unification, and territorial integrity is the responsibility and duty of each Vietnamese. Vietnam’s rights and interests in the East Sea are recognised and protected by international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the country must resolutely and persistently fight to firmly defend national independence, sovereignty, unification and territorial integrity, as well as to maintain a peaceful and stable environment for national development, and deal with disputes via peaceful means on the basis of respect for international law.
The building and safeguarding of the country in the new situation require the entire nation and political system, with the people’s armed force playing the core role, to prepare well in all aspects, keep high combat readiness and avoid falling into apassive state or being taken by surprise in all situations. Strengthening the implementation of national defence-security tasks, along with comprehensively building a strong people’s armed forces is a critical factor in effectively carrying out socio-economic development targets, international integration, and firm protection of national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Q: Would you please share your assessment of Vietnam’s attainments in external affairs in 2016?
A: Ensuring the supreme interests of the nation and peoples on the basis of fundamental principles of international law, equality and mutual benefit is the core objective of the foreign policy of the Party and State. Documents adopted at the 12th National Party Congress once again affirm the consistent pursuit of the foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation and development; a foreign policy of openness, diversification, multilateralisation of international relations, further developing stable and long-term frameworks for bilateral and multilateral relations; continuing to raise the banner of peace, cooperation and development, Vietnam is a friend, a reliable partner of all countries and an active and constructive member in the international community, striving for peace, cooperation and sustainable development, actively participating in regional and international cooperation.
Vietnam has proactively and actively brought into play the diplomatic guidelines set by the 12th National Party Congress. Despite complicated regional and global developments, the external affair sector, with timely, appropriate and synchronous measures, has continued to meet the requirements of national construction and development, thus increasing the country’s position in the international arena. Vietnam continued to be a bright example of political stability and development potentials. The nation has pushed ahead with cementing and deepening friendship and cooperation with other countries and partners for common sustainable development. Apart from playing an active role in building the ASEAN Community, Vietnam has fulfilled its duties as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, UN Economic and Social Council, and UNESCO Executive Council. A Vietnamese diplomat has been elected to the UN International Law Commission. The country has also actively participated in and made significant contributions to multilateral forums, winning appreciation from international friends.
Q: On the threshold of the year 2017, what message would you like to send to the Vietnamese people and Overseas Vietnamese communities?
A: The Party has identified the tasks in the time to come as: to continue to innovate the country’s growth model and improve the quality of the country’s growth, its productivity and the competitiveness of its economy, society and environment. The process of international integration and participation in new-generation free trade agreements in a broad and deep manner has not only opened up a new development space for Vietnam’s economy but also posed many challenges.
I would like to send my best wishes to all Vietnamese people both at home and abroad. I hope that Vietnamese people all around the world will join hands in promoting patriotism, do the best in their work and unite to strive for a prosperous country and a better life for everyone.
Thank you very much!