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HIGHLIGHTS OF DIPLOMACY IN 2019
The top events include the second DPRK-USA Summit, winning UNSC non-permanent seat, signing trade and investment deals with the European Union and new border treaty with Cambodia.
Viet Nam hosts 2nd DPRK-USA Summit
Viet Nam had about three weeks to prepare for the 2nd DPRK-USA Summit that captured the world’s attention.
According to Australian professor Carl Thayer, Viet Nam was chosen because relevant stakeholders trusted Viet Nam to be a neutral host.
Carl Thayer said Viet Nam played two roles. The first role is a third-party facilitator of the peace process on the Korean peninsula not only as host for the second summit, but as ASEAN Chair in 2020, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in 2021, and possibly beyond.
The second role is a potential economic model for North Korea to study and possibly adapt as the peace process moves forward. Chairman Kim is keen to promote special economic zones in North Korea as UN sanctions are lifted.
Winning UNSC non-permanent seat
More than three months after the 2nd DPRK-USA summit, Viet Nam was elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the tenure 2020-2021 with unprecendeted number of positive votes.
On behalf of the Party, State and people of Viet Nam, Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong extended sincere and deepest thanks to the United Nations member countries for having supported and voted for Viet Nam to the Security Council for the second time.
Trong said this event reflects the high credit of the international community to Viet Nam’s role and contributions to common works at regional and global scales as well as the country’s rising position and prestige on the international arena.
It is a great honor for Viet Nam to be a non-permanent member of the Security Council but also a great responsibility that requires utmost endeavors to fulfill its role, said the top Vietnamese leader.
He affirmed Viet Nam also commits to promoting adherence to the United Nations Charter and international law, contributing to the joint efforts of the international community for peace, cooperation and development.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said he is so proud as Viet Nam was elected to the United Nations Security Council again.
Phuc expressed his belief that Viet Nam is well-prepared and willing to do its utmost to successfully fulfill the role of the non-permanent membership and truly become a partner for sustainable peace.
34th ASEAN Summit
The Vietnamese delegation led by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended the 34th ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, Thailand after the two aforesaid successful diplomatic events.
At the summit, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc called on ASEAN member countries to continue giving top priority to consolidating internal solidarity and unity and promoting the bloc’s central role in ASEAN-led mechanisms.
The regional leaders approved ASEAN Leaders’ Vision Statement on Partnership for Sustainability, ASEAN Leaders’ Statement on The ASEAN Cultural Year 2019, and ASEAN Framework of Action on Marine Debris.
Particularly, PM Phuc and other ASEAN leaders adopted an “Outlook on the Indo-Pacific”, providing a guide for ASEAN’s engagement in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.
The Outlook, envisioned by ASEAN, consists of the four key elements: (i) A perspective of viewing the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, not as contiguous territorial spaces but as a closely integrated and interconnected region, with ASEAN playing a central and strategic role; (ii) An Indo–Pacific region of dialogue and cooperation instead of rivalry; (iii) An Indo-Pacific region of development and prosperity for all; (iv)The importance of the maritime domain and perspective in the evolving regional architecture.
On the sidelines of the summit, PM Phuc had a working breakfast with his counterparts Thongloun Sisoulith of Laos and Samdech Techo Hun Sen of Cambodia. He also met with Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong, and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
4th time invited to G20 Summit
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended the G20 Osaka Summit and visited Japan from June 27 to July 1 at the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
This is the 4th time Viet Nam was invited to a G20 Summit in the last decade.
Speaking at the summit, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Viet Nam has regarded the digital economy as one of the major growth engines, and will issue a strategy on national digital transformation in late 2019.
He welcomed the initiative raised by Japanese PM Shinzo Abe of free data flows with trust, and suggested forming global legal framework and regulations on data flows and management.
The Vietnamese Government chief proposed an initiative to form a global network on sharing data on oceans and sea, towards a global framework on preventing marine plastic waste at a discussion on climate and environment.
He also emphasized that plastic waste discharged into the sea harms the maritime ecological system, and proposed countries join hands in building institutions and regulations on seas and oceans so as to control, reduce and prevent marine plastic waste.
On the sidelines of the summit, PM Phuc met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, US President Donald Trump, Chilean President Sebastian Piñera, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.
He also met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Australian PM Scott Morrison, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Korean President Moon Jae In, ADB President Takehiko Nakao, Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres, and World Bank President David Malpass.
Following his attendance at the Summit, PM Phuc held talks with Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe to discuss on measures to foster the Viet Nam-Japan extensive strategic partnership.
Signing VN-EU trade and investment deals
Viet Nam became the 2nd ASEAN member country to have signed free trade and investment protection agreements with the European Union.
This is the outcomes of the great efforts made by both sides. From the Vietnamese side, Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc toured France, the European Commission, Romania, Bulgaria, Austria to directly discussed ways to boost the signing process with the EU side.
The EVFTA is expected to help increase Viet Nam’s GDP by 2.18-3.25% in the 2019-2023 period, and 4.57%-5.03% in the following five years.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment estimated that Viet Nam’s exports to the EU is projected to grow by 20% by 2020; 42.75 by 2025; and 44.37% by 2030.
Vu Tien Loc, Chairman of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the signing of the EVFTA in Ha Noi this week reflects the Government’s determination to work towards “higher value-added economy”.
The trade deal can ben seen as an expressway to connect Viet Nam with one of the world’s top economic and technological centers.
The Viet Nam-EU free trade agreement (EVFTA) and the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-pacific partnership (CPTPP) are the “new-generation” deals with higher and broader commitments, thus beyond economic benefits, the two trade pacts are also expected to stimulate the Government’s on-going institutional reform agenda in the context of extensive international integration in which economic integration is the core.
16th United Nations Day of Vesak
The 16th United Nations Day of Vesak celebration opened on May 12 at Tam Chuc Pagoda in the northern province of Ha Nam.
Under the theme "Buddhist Approach to Global Leadership and Shared Responsibility for Sustainable Societies”, the UN Vesak 2019 is expected to promote core values of Buddhism for addressing current global challenges, as well as strengthening the friendship and cooperation between peoples and cultures, and work together for bringing the good values of Buddhism into the current societies.
The event draws the participation of a record delegates of more than 1,650, including Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, President of Myanmar Win Myint, Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu, Chairman of the National Council (Upper House) of Bhutan Tashi Dorji, Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana and others from 115 countries and territories across the world, according to the Organizing Committee.
Prime Minister Phuc, Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, President of Myanmar Win Myint, Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu, Chairman of the National Council (Upper House) of Bhutan Tashi Dorji, and Vice Secretary-General of the United Nations will deliver remarks at the opening ceremony.
Speaking before more than 1,650 international delegates from 112 countries and territories across the world at the opening ceremony on Sunday, the Vietnamese Government chief said the Buddhist philosophy laid a solid foundation for establishing peace, friendship, cooperation among nations, peoples, religions, while serving as materials to build civilization, ensure peace, prosperity and sustainable development.
Phuc said we are all here to honor the Lord Buddha and uphold Buddhist philosophy to reduce conflicts, sufferings and sorrows, establish peace, friendship, cooperation, and development among nations for the peace and prosperity of all people around the world.
Highly valuing the theme of the UN Day of Vesak 2019, PM Phuc said the agenda of the celebration reflects the goals of the UN’s Agenda 2030 for sustainability, prosperity, ensuring that no one will be left behind, which the Vietnamese Government has committed to realize…
Viet Nam, Cambodia sign new border treaty
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his Cambodian counterpart Samdech Techo Hun Sen on October 5 signed a Supplementary Treaty to the 1985 Treaty on the Delimitation of National Boundaries and the 2005 Supplementary Treaty between the two countries.
The pair also witnessed the signing ceremony of the Protocol on land border demarcation and marker planting between the two nations.
Viet Nam and Cambodia share the border line of 1,245km passing 10 provinces of Viet Nam and nine provinces of Cambodia.
Both sides started boundary delimitation and border marker planting since 1986 on the basis of the signed treaties. As of December 2018, they have completed 84% of the workload.
The two countries have opened 41 pairs of border gates, including 10 international border gates, along the shared border. A joint working group on Viet Nam-Cambodia border gates was established to seek ways to boost the development of the sides’ border gate system.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, PM Phuc emphasized the sacredness of territorial sovereignty and national boundaries of all nations.
The Vietnamese Government chief hailed the completion of 84% of the workload, highlighting that this is a really significant achievement of their joint efforts in settling border issues throughout the last 36 years.
The freshly-signed documents, along with other related treaties and agreements, will create an important legal framework for both sides to manage and ensure security, defense and social order and safety at border areas and to promote bilateral cooperation and development in respective countries, Phuc said.
The signing ceremony sent a strong message on the two nations’ willingness and determination to building the border line of peace, friendship, cooperation for mutual development on the basis of respecting territorial integrity and mutual interests.
For the rest of the workload (16%), Phuc said leaders of the two countries will continue directing the completion on the basis of mutual understanding and respect for international law, especially the related treaties signed between the two countries.
‘Then’ practice recognized as UNESCO Heritage
Viet Nam's Then singing was recognized as the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Then is a practice singing in the spiritual life of the Tay, Nung and Thai ethnic minorities in Viet Nam, reflecting concepts about human beings, nature and the universe.
Then ceremonies describe a journey in which the Master controls ghost soldiers travelling from earth to heaven to present items of worship and prayers for peace, good crops, health, etc.
During the practice, the Then Master sings and plays a tính lute, wearing ceremonial dress.
Then is always transmitted orally while the rituals are conducted, reflecting its succession across the generations.
The two ethic minority groups often live in villages in highland mountainous provinces in northern Viet Nam such as Bac Giang, Bac Kan,Cao Bang, Ha Giang, Lang Son, Quang Ninh ,Thai Nguyen, Tuyen Quang, Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Lao Cai.
UNESCO’s recognition to the practice of Then has reaffirmed the cultural diversity of ethnic groups in Viet Nam, and encouraged dialogues between individuals, community and nations towards tolerance, love and humanity.
The 35th ASEAN Summit and related summits opened in Bangkok, Thailand on November 3 with the attendance of leaders from 10 member States, the ASEAN Secretary-General, United Nations Secretary-General, the International Monetary Fund Managing Director among others.
Speaking at the event, PM Phuc highlighted the significance of upholding ASEAN solidarity and unity and building an open, transparent and ruled-based regional architecture.
The Government chief asked other ASEAN member countries to support Viet Nam to successfully fulfill its role as ASEAN Chair in 2020, contributing to building the ASEAN Community with sustainable development and extensive partnership with the bloc’s partners.
Phuc called for ASEAN’s common voice amid complicated developments in the region and the world.
Regarding the East Sea issue, PM Phuc stressed that maintaining an international legal order is the prerequisite for peace and stability in the East Sea.
The recent serious incidents that occurred in the waters of the region and Viet Nam and that violated international law, have given ASEAN great lessons, according to the Vietnamese leader.
Expressing his concern over fragile security and stability in the East Sea, Phuc called for “serious commitments and responsibility” from all countries in the region to ensure that the similar incidents will not repeat.
Viet Nam is determined to resolutely and consistently protect international law in international relations in general and in the East Sea issue in particular, PM Phuc affirmed.
On the occasion, Viet Nam took over the ASEAN Chairmanship from Thailand at the closing ceremony of the 35th ASEAN Summit and related Summits.
Speaking afterwards, Phuc said as the new chairman, Viet Nam's key priorities include boosting ASEAN solidarity and unity, extensive intra and extra economic connectivity toward sustainable and inclusive development, community sense, and partnership between ASEAN and its partnership.
PM Phuc also unveiled the theme of the ASEAN Chairmanship 2020 - Cohesive and Responsive at the closing ceremony of the 35th ASEAN Summit at the Impact Muang Thong Thani Arena, Exhibition Convention Center.
Viet Nam expects to receive proactive support and assistance from all the ASEAN member States and the bloc's partners so as to help the host realize the chair's theme in 2020.
Maintaining stable and positive development of bilateral relations
Vietnamese leaders carried out 17 foreign visits and welcomed 22 foreign high-level leaders to the Southeast Asian countries, which helped deepen bilateral relations with neighboring countries and key partners around the world.
During the past year, Viet Nam upgraded ties with the Netherlands and Brunei to comprehensive partnership level, sending to the total number of strategic and comprehensive partners of Viet Nam to 30.
According to Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, Viet Nam has maintained “stable and positive” growth pace with its partners while gradually settling emerging and remaining issues satisfactorily.
Global indices continue improvements
Almost all indicators of Viet Nam’s business environment and national competitiveness have witnessed constant improvements as evidenced by increasingly better global rankings, according to international organizations.
Viet Nam also jumped three ranks on the 2019 Global Innovation Index (GII) to place 42nd out of 129 economies around the world.
With this jump, Viet Nam has leapt 17 spots since 2016. This year’s result is also the highest ranking Viet Nam has ever achieved.
In terms of tourism, the Southeast Asian country jumped to 63rd among 140 countries and territories in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) 2019, up four places compared to 2017 and 12 places against 2015.
Official statistics show continuous annually growth of inbound tourism, reaching new record high of 18 million this year.
On logistics, Viet Nam’s position on the Logistics Performance Index (LPI) in 2018 has risen 25 places compared to two years ago, to 39th among 160 surveyed countries, according to the World Bank.
This is the highest ranking since 2007 when the World Bank first started compiling the ranking.
Among lower-middle income countries, large economies such as India and Indonesia, as well as emerging economies such as Viet Nam and Côte d’Ivoire, stood out as top performers.
For cybersecurity index, Viet Nam recorded impressive improvements, standing 50th on the Global Cybersecurity Index (CGI) rankings in 2018, up 50 places from a year earlier.
With a score of 0.693, Viet Nam ranked 11th in the Asia-Pacific region, which was topped by Singapore, Malaysia and Australia.
The Southeast Asian country’s outstanding performance has exceeded the initial target of climbing to the 70th position.
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The district is projected to feature five economic areas including a high-class ecological resort area, an ecotourism area combined with the protection of natural heritages; an urban area for cultural and entertainment services; an area for commerce and industry, high technology and logistics; and a reserve area for future expansion.
The ACC’s special meeting, initiated by Viet Nam as current ASEAN Chair, aimed to discuss prompt implementation of the Chair’s Statement on the bloc’s collective response to novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak released on February 14.
Vietnamese lenders and fintech groups are catching up with international peers on kick-starting the economy and promoting cashless transactions in the face of the coronavirus outbreak, but greater advancement always comes with new risks.
In January the surge continued, with the country attracting around $5.3 billion in FDI in the first 20 days of the month alone, an on-year improvement of nearly 180 per cent. Approximately $4.5 billion of the total is going into nearly 260 projects, with the remainder of the sum coming in the form of share purchases, capital contributions, and additional related investment.