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Remarks by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ha Kim Ngoc at 2018 New Year’s Reception with foreign media and press officers

Excellencies Ambassadors, cultural and press attachés, representatives of foreign diplomatic missions in Viet Nam,

Foreign correspondents and associates, press assistants for resident press bureaus in Hanoi,

I am very pleased to meet you all again during these first days of 2018. I hope that you have enjoyed a warm and joyful holiday season with your families and loved ones; and thank you for bringing the atmosphere of your Tet to us. Actually, we have two Tets a year.

Dear Friends,

1. As foreign affairs officials, we are filled with joy and pride as we look back upon the year 2017, which, in the words of General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, was an enormously successful year in implementing effective diplomatic activities that helped enhance Viet Nam's status.

- First of all, the brightest spot on the diplomatic panorama is Viet Nam's successful hosting of the 2017 APEC Year. I still recall the mid-November days of last year, when one could easily come across glowing reports about Viet Nam's efforts in international press, such as "an unexpected success", "noteworthy achievement", "a cause for celebration", and "Viet Nam did it all". It was thanks to our friends from the foreign press that the success of the APEC Year 2017 was spread far and wide across the international community, giving rise to the image of a proactive and dynamic Viet Nam. I would like to thank you very much for your efforts. It can be said that after APEC 2017, we have gained new conviction, new strength and new impetus to further deepen Viet Nam's integration into the international economic and political arena.

- Last year, Viet Nam also held commemorative events to mark the 40th anniversary of Viet Nam's UN membership and the 50th anniversary of ASEAN. On these occasions, we have begun work on many important activities in preparation for Viet Nam's chairmanship of ASEAN in 2020, and candidacy for UN Security Council non-permanent membership for the term of 2020-2021, as the only Asia-Pacific candidate. I hope that we will continue to enjoy your support on this journey to success.

- In 2017, Viet Nam's bilateral relations with its partners have also been further promoted and strengthened. We welcomed over 30 delegations led by Heads of State, high-level leaders, and Foreign Ministers to Viet Nam. During the APEC Economic Leaders' Week, most of the highest leaders of APEC member economies came to Viet Nam, and had more than 50 meetings of great substances and effectiveness with Vietnamese high-level leaders.

- Viet Nam’s diplomatic activities have also contributed greatly to mustering external resources for national development. As you already know, Viet Nam’s GDP growth in 2017 was over 6.8%, exceeding previous targets and projections, and was the highest figure in the past 10 years. The total trade turnover hit $425 billion, increasing by over 20% compared to 2016; foreign direct investment was estimated at almost $36 billion, the highest figure since 2009. The number of international visitors to Viet Nam reached 12.9 million, a year-on increase of over 29%, for the first time putting Viet Nam on the list of the countries with the fastest tourism growth in the world.

- It can be said that despite the context of global and regional uncertainties, during the past year, Viet Nam has been able to maintain a peaceful and stable environment, and protect national territorial integrity and sovereignty. A Viet Nam of new stature with enabling foreign relations is ready to integrate into and develop along with the region.

Dear friends,

2. The mission of Vietnamese diplomacy in 2018 is to continue to maintain an environment of peace, stability and cooperation to ensure Viet Nam’s security and development goals. At the same time, we seek to contribute to the maintenance of peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and the world. In this process, we will face not only favorable conditions but also significant challenges. Indeed we can not fulfill these tasks without the support of the international and regional community, of which you are an important part.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and I myself very much appreciate your acumen, professionalism and dedication. You have a very important role to play, as a bridge connecting Viet Nam to the world, weaving stories about our country to the world and contributing to bringing our peoples closer together.

Looking back on our cooperation in 2017, on behalf of Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, I would like to extend to you my most sincere gratitude for your contributions and your warm sentiments towards our country and people. I strongly believe, and would like to propose that in the new year 2018, you will continue to coordinate closely with us, help us overcome difficulties and challenges, and nourish an ever close friendship between Viet Nam and your countries, for the shared peace, stability, cooperation and development of the region and the world.

Only 2 weeks from now will the beginning of spring come, and the festive atmosphere of welcoming the Year of the Dog will fill the air. And I think this is also another great year because the dog, I believe, is intelligent, fast but not furious, friendly, faithful and courageous. So on this occasion, I would like to wish you and your family good health, happiness and success in your work and life. I hope you will enjoy a warm and happy Vietnamese traditional Tet holiday.

I would like to propose a toast to our ever close friendship and to our ever effective cooperation!

Thank you very much!




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