Vietnam aims high for peace and international security
Now it is the first time in history Vietnam will have a powerful voice in issues pertaining to peace and international security, said Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem in an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) on the country's new position as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2008-2009 term. It runs as follows:
Question: At the 62nd United Nation General Assembly on October 16, Vietnam was elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the 2008-09 term with the approval of the majority of the UN member countries. How do you assess the impacts of this event at home and abroad?
Answer: Being elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council is Vietnam's biggest political event in the external relations in 2007, marking another important achievement resulted from the country's implementation of a foreign policy of openness and active participation in international affairs. This event also indicates the international community's appreciation of Vietnam's renovation process and achievements over the past 20 years and its confidence on the country's capability of carrying on new international role.
As a UN Security Council member, Vietnam is capable of developing international ties in an in-depth, practical and effective manner. Now it is the first time in history the country will have a weighty say on issues pertaining to peace and international security - the position that we could not gain 20 years ago, and Vietnam will be known worldwide as an active subject in international affairs.
Immediately after winning national independence, President Ho Chi Minh perceived the importance of the UN's role in the world's political life and sent letters to the UN Security Council's permanents members expressing Vietnam's desires to join the organisation. Today, we are proud to see President Ho Chi Minh's wish become true as Vietnam secured a position in global political life and can join powerful countries to discuss and make decisions on major issues relating to peace and war in the world.
Question: What has Vietnam done to prepare for this new role, particularly the operation of our permanent delegation to the UN?
Answer: We have prepared for the joining of the UN Security Council since 1997 when we started the run for the organisation's non-permanent seat in the 2008-09 tenure. In October, 2006, the group of Asian countries unanimously nominated Vietnam as the continent's only candidate to the position and on October 17 this year, Vietnam was elected to the organisation with a high rate of the vote.
Over the past decade, Vietnam actively made all around preparations for the new international role, ranging from lobbying for international support, studying experiences of countries which are members of the UN Security Council, and training personnel. While undertaking the run for the UN Security Council, the country has sped up its international integration through joining the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1995, negotiating and joining the World Trade Organisation (1995-2007), taking part in the Asian-Europe Meeting process in 1996, joining the UN Social and Economic Council in 1997 and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in 1998.
The Vietnamese permanent delegation to the UN has been supplemented with well-trained officials who are noted for their experiences in multi-lateral activities. The delegation's operation and reporting mechanism has been adjusted to enable quick and effective coordination between the New York-based delegation and Hanoi. Meanwhile, in the country, a taskforce was established to promptly deal with any problems possibly arising from the UN Security Council's operation.
Question: Can you talk about major orientations guiding Vietnam's activities and conduct at the UN during the country's mission as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council?
Answer: Joining the UN Security Council is a step in realising the Party advocacy adopted at its eighth congress, i.e. promoting "multi-faceted, bilateral and multilateral cooperation with other countries and international organisations" and the guidelines for external relations set at the Party's 10th congress "to expand foreign relations, maintain peaceful and stable environment and create favourable conditions for national defence and construction".
With the new role, we will capitalise on the UN Security Council mechanism to defend our national interests and retain an environment of peace and stability for developmental goals. The principle of independence, national interest, and self-reliance must be observed as a ground for considering and deciding issues tabled at the UN Security Council while international laws and the UN Charter must be respected and legitimate and just interests of concerned parties must also be put in place. Representing Asia at the UN Security Council, Vietnam will work with high sense of responsibility to ensure that security, peace and stability are maintained in Asia and the world.
Question: What should we do to affirm our capacity to deal with global issues while still highlighting and safeguarding legitimate interests of our country and friend countries in the development process in the world during the UN Security Council's 2008-09 tenure?
Answer: Having experienced decades of struggles for national salvation and building a peaceful environment conducive to national construction and development, Vietnam fully understands the price of peace and security for development. For this reason, we have always strived for a world of peace and have strongly accelerated the establishment of equal and healthy international relations based on international laws and the principles of the UN Charter. The vote for Vietnam's admission to the UN Security Council shows the trust given by the international community to Vietnam's capability as well as experiences in solving peace and security issues.
As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Vietnam has an opportunity to reiterate its persistent stand on settling disputes and conflicts by using peaceful means in line with international laws and the principles of the UN Charter and in respect to the nations' fundamental rights. Together with other countries, we will urge the UN to adopt resolutions, decisions and specific measures that aim to further promote the organisation's role in preventing arms races; speeding up disarmament; preventing and tackling international disputes; safeguarding nations' independence and the rights to self-determination; improving international economic climate; and promoting socio-economic and cultural development and securing the exercise of human rights. We are completing preparatory process for our effective participation in the UN peacekeeping mission in conformity with our conditions and capability. (VOVNews/VNA)
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