During his visit to the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore, on September 14, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong underlined the importance of peace, stability, cooperation and development in Southeast Asia.
Following is his speech at the school:
“Dean Kishore Mahbubani,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to come today to visit, meet and exchange views with distinguished guests, professors, scholars, faculty and students of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy - one of the best known learning institutions of Singapore and the Southeast Asian region. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Dean and Professor Kishore Mahbubani and friends here present for your cordial and warm hospitality.
We deeply admire the School’s process of formation and development. Within a short span of time, the Lee Kuan Yew School has turned itself from being a Public Policy Program into one of the world’s top schools in the field of public policy research and training.
The Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy can be said to be closely associated with the impressive development of Singapore, a country that has pioneered in developing a knowledge-based economy and vigorously promoting the human factor on the cornerstone principle of treasuring talents. Home to a pool of high-calibre professors and teaching staff, and learning space for currently nearly 400 students from some 50 countries of the world, your School also represents a vivid manifestation of the interchange and interconnection between nations and states in a globalizing world and an effective model for the spirit of cooperation and devotion.
We heartily congratulate you on the proud achievements of Singapore, and wish the Singaporean people continued national development for ever greater prosperity and ever higher standing in the region and the world. We wish the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy new and greater successes in grooming talents for Singapore and other countries in the region.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are witnessing gigantic and profound changes brought about by the scientific and technological revolution alongside the process of globalization and international integration. Peace, national independence, democracy, cooperation and development constitute the major trend of the times; however, local wars, armed conflicts, ethnic and religious strifes, acts of intervention, subversion and terrorism, disputes over territories and natural resources, and other non-traditional security issues, all continue to occur in a complicated manner.
Singapore and Vietnam are fortunate to be located in Asia-Pacific and Southeast Asia – a region globally recognized as the most dynamic and potential, and a powerhouse of the world’s economic growth, which draws the attention of big powers and economic-political centers of the world, but which is also latent with destabilizing factors, theatening the common peace, security and development.
This produces opportunities for development while poses acute challenges for all countries; requiring each and every nation in the region to uphold the sense of responsibility, tighten intra-group unity and enhance cooperation with extra-regional countries and organizations with a view to promoting peace and prosperity. We work together for Southeast Asia to increasingly become a highly inviting land for outside investors and trade partners, and an attractive destination for visitors from across the globe.
The history of our Vietnamese nation in the past struggle for national independence, freedom and reunification as well as in today’s endeavors for national construction and defense has taught us a major lesson on combining the national strength with the strength of the times, domestic strength with international strength. Deeply imbued with this lesson, Vietnam has always been consistent in its foreign policy of independence, autonomy, peace, cooperation and development, multilateralization and diversification of relations, proactive and active international integration, preparedness to be a friend, a reliable partner and a responsible member of the international community. Thanks to this foreign policy, we have recorded extremely important achievements, thus unceasingly uplifting Vietnam’s international status and growingly broadening Vietnam ’s international relations. By this point of time, Vietnam has had diplomatic relations with 180 countries, including its strategic partnership with many countries, among them China, Russia, the U.K., Germany, Japan, India, the Republic of Korea, and Spain ... The Communist Party of Vietnam has had relations with 206 political parties in 114 countries in the world. Vietnam has maintained economic and trade relations with more than 230 countries and territories, and investment relations with nearly 100 countries and territories, while acting as a member of more than 70 international and regional organizations.
The process of renewal and openness has yielded great achievements of historic significance, changing Vietnam ’s physiognomy in a fundamental way. Nevertheless, we are still facing numerous challenges; inherent weaknesses of the economy have revealed themselves more and more clearly under the impact of the global financial and monetary crisis and economic downturn. This situation necessitates our alternative of continued and comprehensive promotion of the renewal process in order to step by step bring the economy out of hardship into fast and sustainable development.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am paying this official visit to Singapore at a time when we in ASEAN recently celebrated the 45th anniversary of the founding of the Association and are joining efforts to build a united and strong ASEAN Community that plays the central role in architectures ensuring regional peace, security, cooperation and development. Looking back to ASEAN’s path of development over the last 45 years and toward its path ahead, we recognize not only advantages but also difficulties and challenges, calling for ASEAN member countries to work together in the spirit of trust, solidarity and cooperation on the basis of firmly maintaining the fundamental principles enshrined in the ASEAN Charter, holding high ASEAN’s centrality in regional architectures, promoting ASEAN’s proactivism in consolidating an environment of peace, stability and cooperation in the region. As an open regional grouping, ASEAN should continue to expand its mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries and partners, not in opposition to any other country or grouping. Motivated by its centrality, ASEAN should press ahead with measures so as to ensure the common peace, stability and security of the region. Against the international backdrop of today, the building of a united and strong ASEAN Community is ever more important. Moving forward toward a Southeast Asia of peace, stability, cooperation and prosperous development is our shared goal.
Recently, we have seen rising tension in certain aspect of the situation in Southeast Asia which results from complicated developments in the South China Sea , one of both geo-strategic and geo-economic importance to the region and the world. This is a worrisome reality. As a directly related country, Vietnam is committed to seriously implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and Guidlines for the Implementation of the DOC signed between ASEAN and China, the Agreement on the Basic Principles for the Settlement of Maritime Issues between Vietnam and China, and committed to working actively with ASEAN countries to push ahead negotiations with a view to early signing with China the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (COC), in keeping with the spirit of the Statement of ASEAN Foreign Ministers covering ASEAN’s 6-point Principles on the South China Sea. At the same time, Vietnam urges other countries to repsect its legitimate interests as a coastal nation, including sovereign rights and jurisdiction over its continental shelf and exclusive economic zones as stipulated by international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982. It is our view that ASEAN countries have shared aspirations, shared interests and shared responsiblities in maintaining an environment of peace and stability in the region.
A member of ASEAN, Vietnam strictly complies with a principle enshrined in the ASEAN Charter which says, “Abstention from participation in any policy or activity, including the use of its territory, pursued by any ASEAN Member State or non-ASEAN State or any non-State actor, which threatens the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political and economic stability of ASEAN Member States”. Vietnam, at the same time, is committed to implementing this principle in its relations with all non-ASEAN countries, refraining from inducing or participating in any alliance with one country to oppose another. Vietnam will spare no efforts to expand its cooperation as well as the cooperation of ASEAN to countries outside the region, especially to all ASEAN dialogue countries and big powers such as China, Russia, the U.S., Japan, India, etc.
In that spirit, Vietnam has so far participated in all existing mechanisms of cooperation among ASEAN members and between ASEAN and outside partners, considering ASEAN a truly large and dear family of its own, and considering partner countries indispensable companions along its path of development.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As this is my first official visit to Singapore – a beautiful island nation which is very close to Vietnam, having witnessed with my own eyes your country’s development, I am profoundly impressed by Singapore’s dynamism and prosperity, by the harmony between humans and nature, and by the unity in diversity of your country. Singapore ’s development is an invaluable experience for Vietnam as we have stepped up the renewal process and put in place national industrialization and modernization.
Humanity is entering the age of knowledge-based economy. This constitutes a qualitative step forward of the human society. And to avoid lagging behind, all countries should be keen on making substantial investments in human resource development. Vietnam is no exception. We have defined human resource development as one of the breakthroughs in Vietnam’s socio-economic development strategy. In this connection, we are highly appreciative of and greatly interested in learning from Singapore ’s success in implementing policies prioritizing investments for education and training, bearing in mind that the human resources are the dominating resources for national development. We are sincerely grateful to the Government and people of Singapore for sharing your experiences and reserving for Vietnam practical and effective assistance.
Ladies and gentlemen,
During our insightful, comprehensive and efficient talks this past September 12th, H.E. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and I were very delighted to see the Vietnam-Singapore relationship developing well, openning up good opportunities for ever better cooperation between our two countries as well as the intra-ASEAN cooperation. Nearly 10 years ago, the “Joint Statement on the Comprehensive Cooperation Framework in the 21st Century” and the Connectivity Framework Agreement were signed between our two coutries, creating a legal framework and favourable conditions for further promoting the relations of friendship and multisided cooperation between our two countries. It is by no means a coincidence that Singapore is among Vietnam’s leading investment and trade partners, with two-way trade reaching almost US$9 billion, cooperation in other fields enjoying vibrant growth, and the numbers of Vietnamese travelling to Singapore and Singaporeans to Vietnam being on a constant rise. All this has resulted from our bilateral trustworthy and in-depth cooperation. We treasure our ties with Singapore, work hard to promote our cooperation with Singapore, and believe that the intensive, extensive, sincere and trusted cooperation between Vietnam and Singapore serves as an important factor in the development of each of our countries, and at the same time a significant contributor to peace, stability, cooperation and development in Southeast Asia.
Next year 2013 will be an important milestone in the friendly and cooperative relations between Vietnam and Singapore, when together we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. To build on the solid and in-depth cooperation of the last 40 years, and to tap cooperation potentials which remain immense, I and H.E. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as well as other leaders of Singapore agreed to do our utmost to further develop the Vietnam-Singapore relationship and elevate it to strategic partnership. This is the shared determination and a key outcome of the high-level Vietnam-Singapore talks this time.
Once again, thank you for coming to the meeting today. We do have high expectations for the future development of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, and look forward to the School’s continued cooperation and help in training high-quality human resources for Vietnam.
I wish Dean and Professor Kishore Mahbubani, and all of you here present the best of health, happiness and success.