The year 2020 marked a milestone in Vietnam’s history of foreign relations, when it for the first time undertook two great responsibilities – ASEAN Chair and Non-permanent Member of the UN Security Council.
The year 2020 marked a milestone in Vietnam’s history of foreign relations
At the plenary session of the UN General Assembly on June 7, 2019 in New York, the US, President of the UN General Assembly Maria Fernanda Espinosa announced that Vietnam was elected a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 term, with 192/193 votes.
In the auditorium, representatives of the countries in the General Assembly applauded and congratulated Vietnam for obtaining a record high number of votes, the highest ever in the last over 70 years since the UN establishment.
Five months later, for the second time, the applause of thousands of international guests resounded once more in Bangkok when Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha handed over the ASEAN Presidency to Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
The Thai Prime Minister said that he believes Vietnam will take over the ASEAN Presidency with pride and realize the ASEAN’s dream of promoting partnership to maintain peace, freedom, security and prosperity in the region.
In 2020, the world’s political, security and socio-economic situation changed quickly and unpredictably. Large countries intensified strategic competition, while tensions and conflicts escalated in many regions. Non-traditional security challenges such as Covid-19, climate change, water security, terrorism and organized crime spread and were harder to control in a “flat world”.
Vietnam had great advantages thanks to its increasingly high international position and prestige, its foreign policy which aims at independence, self-control and love of peace, and the willingness to “proactively participate and promote the role in multilateral mechanisms, especially ASEAN and UN” as set forth by the 12th Party Congress.
In messages conveyed when receiving the twin responsibilities, Party Secretary General and State President Nguyen Phu Trong stressed that in order to fulfill the great responsibilities assigned by the international community, it is necessary to consider this ‘one of the most important political tasks for the Party and the State’.
|The year 2020 marked a milestone in Vietnam’s history of foreign relations, when it for the first time undertook two great responsibilities – ASEAN Chair and Non-permanent Member of the UN Security Council.|
Phuc also affirmed that Vietnam will “do its best to successfully assume the responsibility of a non-permanent member of the Security Council ” and that “with unanimous consensus and strong commitment, we will successfully realize our goal for the ASEAN Community and for ASEAN people”.
Partners for sustainable peace
With the spirit as “partners for sustainable peace”, Vietnam gives prominence to the observation of the UN Charter and the basic principles of international law. It supports the finding of solutions to regional and international disputes and conflicts through negotiations, taking into account the legitimate interests of stakeholders. It is always ready to share experiences on national reconstruction and development, international and regional integration.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Hoai Trung said Vietnam participated in the UN Security Council’s activities confidently, proactively and substantially, both affirming its stance and showing objective points of view and a flexible way of handling issues.
Vietnam quickly caught up and performed well with the role of coordinating activities, negotiating documents, and representing the Security Council in relations with other countries, the UN Secretariat, international and regional organizations as well as media.
With Vietnam’s initiative, the Security Council had historic activities, including the organization of a meeting on cooperation between UN and ASEAN. The Security Council for the first time had 111 speeches, the highest ever figure so far. This was also the first time the Security Council issued a separate statement on the UN charter.
Countries attached importance and listened to Vietnam’s opinions on dealing with complicated issues in Asia such as Iran, Hong Kong and Rakhine (Myanmar). International media and scholars made positive comments on Vietnam’s contribution to the Security Council. There was a perception that Vietnam was the focus of global attention with its position, prestige and “dual responsibility” in 2020.
Vietnam also demonstrated its capability to preside over and manage the work of the agencies belonging to the Security Council, especially the committee for monitoring the implementation of the Security Council’s resolution on South Sudan.
Vietnam handed over the ASEAN Presidency 2021 to Brunei on November 15, 2020.
Vietnam implementef its strong leadership role in a challenging geopolitical environment and made the best demonstrations to celebrate the 25th anniversary of ASEAN establishment.
Vietnam successfully organized the 36th and 37th ASEAN Summits online and semi-online, and 30 online meetings at ministerial level, and tens of consultancy meetings.
Commenting about the results of the initiatives deployed by Vietnam, ASEAN countries believe that the topic put forward by Vietnam is very accurate which has become a brand of ASEAN – cohesive and proactive adaptation.
Vietnam’s success in controlling the Covid-19 pandemic has an important significance to the ASEAN leading role.
The initiatives such as the ASEAN foundation for response to the epidemic, the regional emergency medical supplies reserve and the ASEAN center for responding to public health emergencies were applauded.
With great efforts by Vietnam, RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) Agreement was signed in 2020, which was considered the biggest success of the block, helping affirm ASEAN’s central role in East Asian economic structure.
The Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations held a meeting in Hanoi on February 3 to inform diplomatic missions and international organisations in Vietnam about the outcomes of the 13th National Party Congress.
In 2020, Vietnam secured breakthrough success in diplomacy despite adverse impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Hoai Trung affirmed