Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (Source: VNA)
During the year, diplomatic activities were implemented proactively, actively and drastically, both bilaterally and multilaterally, contributing to the country’s socio-economic achievements and the fulfillment of major strategic targets set by the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam, he said.
The most outstanding activity was Vietnam’s hosting of the 2017 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Year, with the peak being the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in the central city of Da Nang in November.
The APEC Year 2017 has affirmed APEC as a leading forum for cooperation and connectivity in the region while highlighting Vietnam’s role in an event of global importance, helping promote the country’s image, position and prestige in the world, the Deputy PM and Foreign Minister affirmed.
Vietnam’s organizational work and initiatives at the event have been applauded by other APEC member economies and international media, he added.
Minh described APEC Year 2017 as a vivid manifestation of the advancement of Vietnam’s diplomacy towards “proactively contributing to building and shaping common rules,” thus effectively protecting and promoting Vietnam’s strategic interests in security and development.
The event has also demonstrated that Vietnam is a responsible member of the international community, and created new awareness, new trust, new strength and momentum for the country’s international integration, he stressed.
Besides, Vietnam has made great efforts to step up relations with its neighbours, regional countries, world powers and traditional friends, the top diplomat said, noting that the country’s high-ranking officials had made 18 visits to 19 countries and attended eight multilateral international events, along with hundreds of bilateral meetings with many countries’ leaders.
Vietnam also hosted 36 visits by foreign heads of State and Prime Ministers.
During the APEC Economic Leaders Week, Vietnam welcomed two State visits on the same day by General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump, visits by the Chilean President and the Canadian Prime Minister, and held more than 50 meetings with leaders of other APEC economies.
The country also organized various activities to mark major anniversaries in bilateral ties with Laos and Cambodia, and high-level visits to Indonesia, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand.
Through such diplomatic activities, Vietnam has increased political trust and promoted the efficiency of pragmatic cooperation wit neighbouring countries, while fostering political and economic ties with other key partners like China, Russia, the US, Japan and India.
In the year, Vietnam established comprehensive partnerships with Myanmar and Canada.
In his article, the Deputy PM and FM also underlined Vietnam’s international economic integration during 2017, mentioning efforts made by the country and other members to accelerate talks on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Vietnam is also working with other countries to promote negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and lobbying for the early official signing, ratification and implementation of the Vietnam-EU Free Trade Agreement.
At the same time, the country has intensified defence-security cooperation with partner countries, helping enhancing mutual understanding and trust, Deputy PM Minh said.
He cited as examples the completion of border demarcation and marker planting along the Vietnam-Laos border, and 84.6 percent of the work in the common border with Cambodia has also been done.
Vietnam and other ASEAN countries and China have made joint efforts for the approval of the draft framework of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) and officially began negotiations on the COC itself.
The country has also cooperated with other countries to protect the legal status of more than 5,500 Vietnamese citizens and repatriate nearly 2,000 fishermen detained abroad.
Deputy PM Minh further said cultural diplomacy and external information service has been promoted, contributing to enhancing Vietnam’s image.
He stressed that in 2018 and the years to come, diplomatic tasks will continue be carried out synchronously.
Vietnam’s diplomatic sector is ready to face all challenges in 2018 and continue to serve national construction and defence, he emphasized./.