Overview of diplomatic activities in 2017
07:53 | 01/01/2018

VGP - Thanks to proactive approach, 2017 was marked with eventful and successful diplomatic activities as evidenced by a series of mutilateral and high-ranking bilateral hallmarks and effective international economic integration. 

>>> Overview of multi-lateral diplomacy in 2017

>>> World's leaders visit Viet Nam in 2017

>>> Review of PM Phuc's foreign trips in 2017

During the year, it is said that the world and region witnessed complicated and unexpected developments.

A number of foreign countries entered important elections with adjustments in development strategies and foreign diplomatic policies.

Against that backdrop, Viet Nam’s proactive approach in deploying its foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralization and diversification of external relations has brought about successes in both bilateral and multilateral aspects.

Multilateral aspect

 APEC Year is certainly the important and outstanding diplomatic event in 2017

* Hosting the APEC Year is certainly the important and outstanding diplomatic event in 2017 though pundits said APEC cooperation was at difficult time. 

As the host, Viet Nam succeeded in forging common interests of member economies under the theme “Creating new dynamism, Fostering a shared future” with four priorities namely (1) promoting sustainable, innovative, and inclusive growth; (2) deepening regional economic integration; (3) strengthening MSME’s Competitiveness and Innovation in the Digital Age; (4) enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture in response to climate change. 

In the APEC Year, Viet Nam welcomed around 21,000 delegates to 243 events in 10 cities and provinces nationwide. Especially, during the APEC Economic Leaders' Week, the central city of Da Nang greeted 11,000 delegates. APEC economic leaders passed the Da Nang Declaration, reiterating their commitment to multilateral trade that helps foster inclusive growth and reaffirming their confidence in the forum’s ability to tackle future challenges together.

The CEO Summit 2017 was regarded as the biggest one of this kind as it attracted the attendance of U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping and opened up maverlous opportunities for Viet Nam to broaden trade and investment relations.  

The Da Nang city was also the venue for another remarkable event as the 11 countries in the TPP agreed to its resurrection, and renaming, as the Comprehensive Progressive Agreement for the TPP (CPTPP). The members agreed on keeping core elements of the original deal that would advance open markets, combat protectionism, and strengthen regional economic integration.

Accordingly, as the host of APEC 2017, Viet Nam cemmented and deepened partnership ties with all economies especially important, strategic, and comprehensive partners. APEC 2017 created a new ‘soft power’ and new status for Viet Nam’s multilateral diplomacy and diplomatic activities. 

* In 2017, Party and State leaders also joined a number of important multilateral conferences. PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland from January 17-21; State President Tran Dai Quang joined the high-level forum on the Belt and Road Inititive in Beijing from May 11-15; PM Phuc participated in the 23rd International Conference on the Future of Asia in Tokyo in June 4-6; National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Nga was present at the 137thInter-Parliamentary Union Assembly (IPU-137) in Saint Peterbourg, Russia from October 14-15; PM Phuc attended the 31st ASEAN Summit and related summits in Manila, the Philippines from November 12-14. 

Viet Nam celebrated the 40th anniversary of its membership in the UN on September 20, 2017. PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc affirmed that as a responsible member of the UN, Viet Nam has spared no effort to further contributing to all three pillars namely peace security, development, and human rights. Viet Nam and the 18 UN agencies also signed the One Strategic Plan (OSP) for the 2017-2021 period. 

In addition, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his spouse chaired a ceremony on August 8 in Ha Noi to mark the 50th founding anniversary of ASEAN and 22 years of Viet Nam’s accession to the bloc. Viet Nam always regards ASEAN as one of its prioritized pillars.

Multilateral diplomatic activities have shifted vigoriously from “participation” to “activie and positive engagement,” practically getting involved in the building and shaping of common games for organizations, regional and international forums.

Bilateral aspect

Viet Nam grasped every opportunity to accelerate a string of diplomatic activities especially high-level ones in a proactive manner. The Party and State leaders conducted over 20 overseas trips, meanwhile, Viet Nam welcomed over 15 high-ranking world leaders.

Particularly, Viet Nam made full use of its role as the host of APEC 2017 to promote bilateral ties with the U.S, China, Canada, and Chile.This was the first time an U.S. President visited Viet Nam in first half of working term and President Trump selected Viet Nam as the first leg in his Southeast Asian tour. Chinese President Xi Jinping also chose Viet Nam on his first overseas trip right after his triumph in the 19th Party Congress.

On the sidelines of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week, high-ranking Vietnamese leaders held 50 bilateral meetings with foreign dignitaries.

Party leader Nguyen Phu Trong and Chinese Party leader and President Xi Jinping. Photo: VNA
At the beginning of the year, Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong paid an official visit to China from January 12-15 to cement and deepen the bilateral ties in the interests of peoples in favor of regional and international peace and prosperity. In return, Chinese President Xi Jinping also paid the official visit to Viet Nam on the occasion of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week.

During the Viet Nam-Laos-Cambodia Solidarity and Friendship Year 2017, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc separately paid official visits to Cambodia from April 24-25 and Laos from April 26-27 with a view to forging closer ties and cementing friendship with the two neighbouring countires. 

Noticeably, Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko made their first overseas trip to Viet Nam from February 28 to March 5, opening up a new chapter in the strategic partnership between Viet Nam and Japan that entered the ‘best historical period.’ Earlier, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe paid an official visit to Viet Nam from January 16-17. On the other hand, Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his spouse had an official visit to the Land of the Rising Sun from June 4-8. 

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L) shakes hands with US President Donald Trump on occasion of the former's visit to the US in May. Photo: VGP

The Vietnamese Government leader also led a Vietnamese high-ranking delegation to pay an official visit to the U.S. from May 29-31. U.S. President Donald Trump also conducted a bilateral visit to Viet Nam on the margin of the APEC Economic Leaders' Week. 

State President Tran Dai Quang and his spouse paid a State visit to the Russian Federation from June 28 to July 1. 

PM Phuc and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau announced that the two countries affirmed the establishment of the comprehensive ties during the official visit of the Canadian Government leader to Viet Nam during the APEC Summit Week.

Strengthening international economic integration

As economic integration is identified as the focus of the country's international integration process, the the diplomatic sector focused on realizing the Resolution 06-NQ/TW on effective implementation of the international economic integration process and firm maintainance of socio-political stability as Viet Nam joins new-generation free trade agreements.

The Government on April 25 issued Resolution 38/NQ-CP promulgating the Government’Action Program to implement Resolution No. 06-NQ/TW. 

So far, Viet Nam has set up 12 FTAs involving 56 countries and economies in the world including six FTAs that Viet Nam proactively participated in ASEAN or ASEAN’s partners.  

Especially, the ministers of 11 TPP economies agreed on the core elements of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which demonstrates their firm commitment to open market, combating protectionism, and advancing regional economic integration.

The ministers agreed to incorporate provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), with exception of a limited set of provisions that will be suspended. They decided that all the TPP side letters signed among the 11 economies will be maintained in principle, unless the relevant Parties decide otherwise./.

By Huong Giang 

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