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What is the significance of Vietnam hosting the APEC Summit 2006?

Hosting APEC 2006 and the 14th APEC AELM is Vietnam’s most important external activity during 2006. The attendance of APEC leaders at the AELM and a number of official state visits are precious opportunities for Vietnam to boost its political, economic and trade relations with important partners both bilaterally and multilaterally.

It is also an opportunity for thousands of foreign visitors, who represent their business community, as well as scholars and the media from APEC member economies to see with their own eyes the beauty, gentleness, hospitality and rich cultural identity of the people and land of Vietnam. They can also witness the important economic, cultural and social achievements in Vietnam after 20 years of “doi moi” and the implementation of policies for multi-lateralisation, diversification and economic integration into the region and the world.

The success of APEC 2006 and the 14th APEC AELM will play an extremely important role in the APEC cooperation process, actively helping APEC's processes make major advances in the future.

The successful hosting of APEC 2006 will also be the most specific and practical contribution Vietnam has made to the development of APEC in its eight years of membership. It also marks the development of Vietnam in its international and regional integration, helping promote the position and prestige of the country in the regional and international arena.

What is Vietnam’s position in the Asia Pacific region?

Despite being a poor country, Vietnam’s economic growth has been one of the highest in Asia Pacific during the early years of the 21st century. The success of doi moi in terms of socio-economic development has also improved Vietnam’s “strengths”. Furthermore, with a population of over 85 million people and a stable socio-political situation, Vietnam is highly regarded by other countries and partners in the region and the world. Many have expanded their cooperative relations with Vietnam, especially in the economic, trade and investment fields.

In pursuing a foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, openness, multi-lateralisation and diversification of international relations, Vietnam has established good relations with all countries in the region and the world, especially with neighbouring countries and major powers. It has also been increasingly active in addressing topical issues in the region and the world and participating in various multilateral forums, which help to promote the image of an active Vietnam in securing peace, stability and development in the region and the world. Therefore, I can say that the position of Vietnam has been enhanced in the world in general and in the Asia Pacific region in particular.

Will you comment on US President George W. Bush’s upcoming official visit to Vietnam?

According to the latest schedule, President Bush will pay an official visit to Vietnam and attend the 14th APEC AELM.

The visit takes place at a time of positive developments in the bilateral relations between Vietnam and the US. On May 31 this year the two countries officially signed the agreement to conclude bilateral negotiations on Vietnam’s accession to the WTO. The US House of Representatives is now considering granting permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status to Vietnam. The US, along with other APEC members, is also cooperating closely with Vietnam to successfully organise the APEC AELM in Hanoi.

The official visit by President Bush will mark a new milestone in the bilateral relations between the two countries and create opportunities for promoting the bilateral relations in different areas, helping to contribute to maintaining peace, stability, cooperation and development in the Asia Pacific region.

Vietnam is running for a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2008-2009 term. What is the significance of this move for Vietnam’s foreign policy?

Running for non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for the 2008-2009 term is an important policy enabling Vietnam to participate in and contribute more actively to the affairs of the international community.

As a member of the Security Council, Vietnam will have greater opportunities to intensify its cooperation with other members of the Security Council, as well as with other UN members, in solving problems in “hot spots” and preventing conflicts in different regions in accordance with the principles in the UN Charter. Positive results in these endeavours contribute to our primary foreign policy goals of maintaining and securing a peaceful environment and creating a favourable international environment conducive to our doi moi process, socio-economic development, industrialisation and modernisation, national construction and defence, and the common goal of all people for peace.

As Vietnam’s Deputy PM and Foreign Minister, can you tell us the role diplomatic activities play in economic development?

In the next five years, the economic, political and security situation in the region and the world will continue to be complex. Globalisation and the technological revolution have created both opportunities and challenges for all countries, Vietnam included.

Economic-oriented diplomacy must change in both form and content to meet the needs of the new regional and global situation and contribute to successfully realising the socio-economic targets set by National Party Congress X for the 2006-2010 period and lifting Vietnam out of its less developed status.

Vietnam’s diplomacy will focus on, firstly, maintaining peace and stability for the construction of the country, which is the primary task of diplomacy; secondly, closely combining external economic activities with external political activities, setting up or boosting international relations so that Vietnam can have more opportunities for development through expanding its markets and attracting more investment sources and modern technologies; thirdly, cooperating with other ministries and agencies to improve the legal environment to meet the requirements of integration and enhance the competitiveness of the national economy; fourthly, improving and proposing specific measures to effectively support localities and domestic enterprises in the process of international integration; and fifthly, recommending measures to facilitate and encourage the contribution of overseas Vietnamese to the development of the country.

In order to achieve positive results in economic diplomacy in the future, it is important that diplomacy receives close cooperation and support from ministries, agencies and localities and, in particular, Vietnamese entrepreneurs.

Vietnam Economic Times - No.152 [ 2006-10-01 ]