|Vu Ho, Director of the Vietnam Foreign Ministry’s ASEAN Department
Vu Ho, Director of the Vietnam Foreign Ministry’s ASEAN Department, made the remarks on August 19 during an international symposium titled “Vietnam - ASEAN: 25-year Journey and the Way Forward”.
In its role as ASEAN Chair 2020, Vietnam has had a platform to demonstrate its leadership and co-ordination capacity, in which all member states are capable of seizing on opportunities to overcome difficulties.
Ho shared that some of the benefits the ASEAN community brings to the country are largely focused on a variety of fields, including political security, economics, culture, and social affairs, adding that reciprocity must be emphasised.
Indeed, the nation is part of ASEAN and the Vietnamese side has made several important contributions to the participation and co-operation process, including expanding foreign relations, building a shared community, and creating both a peaceful and stable environment.
Since joining the bloc 25 years ago the country has recorded several successes, the first being the development and consolidation of trust among regional and neighbouring nations.
Furthermore, Vietnam’s regional and global integration process is becoming increasingly more extensive and effective. As a proactive and responsible member of ASEAN, the country has enjoyed high credit which has enabled it to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, in addition to a member of the WTO, while reaping great success during the APEC Years of 2006 and 2017.
Moreover, being part of the bloc helps to boost economic development. Ho affirmed that joining ASEAN can be considered a launch pad for the nation to realise its desire to closely integrate into the region and the wider world whilst expanding trade and investment relations abroad, thereby stimulating socio-economic development to improve people’s living standards.
Finally, human maturity can be viewed as a significant factor, with Vietnamese people changing as a result of their participation in ASEAN meetings. Most notably, ASEAN's procedures and regulations are gradually changing the behaviour of local people in line with common regional standards.
“For example, regarding issue we have a completely different approach from the Cold War era as we have participated in dialogues, forms of co-operation, and exchanges based on unity without confrontation. This is a huge qualitative change,” the diplomat said.
According to Ho, the country’s choice to join ASEAN is the right decision, opening up a new approach to foreign affairs as national and regional interests are highlighted in an effort to deal with global issues.
In the face of ASEAN confronting traditional and non-traditional challenges such as territorial disputes, natural disasters, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic, and transnational crime, Vietnam in its capacity as ASEAN Chair has promoted the spirit of dialogue and co-operation. In addition, it has strived to strengthen mutual understanding whilst narrowing disagreements in order to ensure the harmony of every party’s interests and to avoid conflict.
In line with these issues, the Vietnamese side has been working closely alongside ASEAN member states to share and set up standard medical procedures to cope with the COVID-19 epidemic while proposing socio-economic recovery plans.
With regard to Vietnamese foreign policy, Ho said that external relations help the nation to create a favourable environment for the process of national construction and defence towards building a peaceful, stable, democratic, and civil country, through which others can gain a better understanding of Vietnam, its land, and people.