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Vietnam to pursue foreign policy of peace in 2009

Hanoi (VNA) - Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem has reaffirmed the country’s policy of pursuing peace in its foreign affairs for 2009 in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency.

Khiem, who doubles as Foreign Minister, also announced another key measure to increase Vietnam ’s international prestige, thus contributing to tackling economic recession, maintaining economic growth and ensuring social security, along with efforts to maintain peace in the service of national construction and defence.

To achieve success in those areas, the Government shall take a dual diplomatic approach, combining State-to-State diplomacy with person-to-person diplomacy whilst developing a comprehensive overall approach to diplomacy, politically, economically and culturally.

Vietnam will make a greater effort to maintain deep and stable relations with other countries, particularly its key partners and work to the best of its ability to fulfill its role and responsibilities as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council during the last year of its 2008-09 term, said the chief diplomat.

He added that the country would strive for further engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other international forums and speed up its land border demarcation and marker planting programmes, alongside other neighbouring countries. The Foreign Ministry will work with other ministries and local administrations to firmly defend the nation’s territorial sovereignty and security across all fields.

He explained that economic diplomacy would focus primarily on information and forecasts while drawing upon the experiences of other countries to deal with the effects of the global economic downturn.

With regard to cultural diplomacy, he said that efforts would be made to improve overseas Vietnamese affairs and better protect Vietnamese expatriates, while constantly improving the quality of foreign information to meet the requirements of this new stage in cultural relations, Khiem said.

2009 has been chosen as the “Year of Cultural Diplomacy” as it is one of the three pillars of a comprehensive diplomacy, he emphasised.

This year will see an increase in campaigns to capitalise on and build the image of the nation abroad and the deployment of a series of projects and programmes to mark the 40 th death anniversary and 120 th birthday of President Ho Chi Minh, in an effort to honour the nation’s greatest leader as a global icon.

Campaigns to promote the nation’s cultural assets will be implemented to promote mutual understanding and facilitate multi-faceted relations with other countries. Another important task for 2009 is the lobbying of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to recognise several cultural and historic sites, such as the Thang Long Royal Citadel, and bestowing ‘world cultural heritage’ status in time for its Millennial anniversary, as well as working towards the inclusion of other sites of natural beauty in a new list of world wonders.

It is also necessary to render assistance to local authorities in order to increase the frequency of international cultural exchanges, Khiem added.

In 2008, Vietnam achieved a number of milestones in foreign affairs. As well as developing its relations with other countries in a more practical, stable and effective manner, Vietnam recorded important achievements in multilateral diplomacy by successfully meeting the challenges posed by its first year as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and adopting the ASEAN Charter.

The deputy PM went on to say that other nations have taken note of the positive and responsible contributions of Vietnam in addressing both international and regional issues.

Regarding its border and territory work, Vietnam achieved a success of great historical significance, as the country fulfilled its land border demarcation and marker planting programme along the border it shares with China .

Vietnam ’s economic and cultural diplomacy, as well as its affairs regarding overseas Vietnamese and information management have also racked up a host of positive achievements, he added.

Regarding the direction of the country for 2009, Deputy PM Khiem said that successful economic diplomacy would lead to an increase in support for its foreign economic activities, which will target major markets and those with potential for development, as well as industrialised nations, and particular focus will be paid to increasing exports, attracting foreign investment and official development assistance (ODA) capital, and promoting tourism and labour market cooperation.

Foreign affairs will continue to help the country accelerate the process of international economic integration by effectively implementing bilateral and multilateral commitments and urging other nations to recognise Vietnam as a market economy.

By entering into negotiations over new cooperation frameworks, such as the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the European Union, the Bilateral Investment Treaty with the US , and the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, Khiem hopes that a more favourable environment for Vietnam to fulfill its development and integration goals will be created.

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