APEC 2017: Vietnam makes constructive contribution to regional development

Update: 09:37 | 04/11/2017
According to Mr. Vu Van Dzung, Ambassador of Vietnam to South Africa, through active, effective and constructive contributions in the bilateral and multilateral arena, Vietnam has enhanced its role and confidence in the region and the world.
apec 2017 vietnam makes constructive contribution to regional development Vietnam, South Africa seek to foster trade, investment ties
apec 2017 vietnam makes constructive contribution to regional development Vietnam, South Africa look to foster wide-ranging ties

Speaking exclusively to The Diplomatic Society, H.E Vu Van Dzung, Ambassador of Vietnam to South Africa, explains the significance of a cooperation of 21 member economies of 2.8 billion people representing 57% of the world GDP and 47% of global trade.  

apec 2017 vietnam makes constructive contribution to regional development
Ambassador of Vietnam to South Africa Vu Van Dzung.

This is the second time that Vietnam is hosting the APEC meeting, with the participation of many world leaders, please share your views on Vietnam’s role and confidence in the region and the world?

After more than 30 years of reform and extensive regional and international integration, Vietnam today is a highly open and dynamic economy, projected to become one of the ten fastest growing economies in the world.  Vietnam has implemented a proactive and active foreign policy in international integration; to be a friend, a reliable partner, and a responsible member of the international community, making a substantive and concrete contribution to the development of the region and the world for peace, stability and prosperity.

International friends and partners have highly valued Vietnam’s chairmanship of many Summits of international organizations, including the Francophone Summit in 1997; ASEAN Summits in 1998 (three years after its accession into the association) and in 2010; APEC Summit in 2006 and 2017; IPU-132 in 2015; and as a Non-permanent member of the UN Security Council... Vietnam has negotiated and signed ten regional and bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) and is also actively negotiating three other FTAs - ASEAN-Hong Kong FTA, Vietnam-EFTA (the European Free Trade Association), and Vietnam-RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Through active, effective and constructive contributions in the bilateral and multilateral arena, Vietnam has enhanced its role and confidence in the region and the world.

Vietnam became a full member of APEC in 1998, what is your assessment of the country’s contribution in the forum’s evolution?

Over the past two decades, Vietnam has spared no effort to actively promote cooperation under the APEC mechanism. For instance, the Vietnam Government successfully organized APEC 2006 with more than a hundred related activities, and took the post of APEC Secretariat’s Chief for 2005-2006. Vietnam also played host to the 6th APEC Human Resource Development Ministerial Meeting in 2014, which adopted APEC Action Plan for the period of 2015-2018 in order to enhance job creation cooperation and strengthen people-to-people links through the development of capable human resources. Notably, Vietnamese institutions and ministries have managed or co-managed over 100 projects in many areas such as self-verification of goods origin (2012), aviation security (2012), sharing experience on development and implementation of new growth models (2014), community-based disaster management (2015), promotion of infrastructure investment for ensuring food security (2016) and others.

APEC is now at a crucial juncture. A rapidly changing world and a transforming Asia-Pacific are presenting us with unprecedented opportunities and challenges. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change have laid important foundations for sustainable, inclusive and equitable global development. Yet, the confluence of prolonged economic stagnation, new waves of protectionism, terrorism, regional conflicts and climate change, amongst others, ever more complex and  interrelated non-traditional security challenges are exerting far-reaching impacts on each and every economy, business and individual across the world.

More than ever, APEC must continue to uphold its leading and pioneering role in creating new drivers to build the Asia-Pacific into a region of peace, stability and dynamic, sustainable and inclusive development.

APEC Vietnam 2017 is underway for nearly a year with the theme “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future”. The APEC Economic Leaders Week will take place in Da Nang, Vietnam from 6-11 November 2017. Hosting APEC 2017 is a top priority in Vietnam’s foreign policy agenda, as it aspires to make greater contribution to an ever thriving Asia-Pacific region. 

The central city of Da Nang in Vietnam has been upgraded to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders meeting on the 11th - 12th November 2017. Infrastructure including roads, telecommunication and the international airport has been improved to host heads of some of the most influential economies in the world.

apec 2017 vietnam makes constructive contribution to regional development
An overview of Da Nang International Airport. (Photo: Da Nang International Airport)

APEC Vietnam 2017 is expected to promote the dynamism in the organization to accelerate the accomplishment of the Bogor Goals on trade and investment liberalization by 2020 according to its roadmap; stress on four priorities: (1) Promoting Sustainable, Innovative and Inclusive Growth; (2) Deepening Regional Economic Integration; (3) Strengthening MSMEs’ Competitiveness and Innovation in the Digital Age; and (4) Enhancing Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in Response to Climate Change.

Which policies could be attributed to Vietnam’s rapidly incremental importance and confidence attained during the last two decades of APEC membership?

Our regional and international partners can clearly see what has helped to elevate Vietnam’s role in the global arena. Specifically, Doi Moi (renovation), which was adopted in the Sixth Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam, marked a turning point in the country’s integration into the global economy which changed its economy from a centrally planned model to an open market one. Vietnam’s consistent policy of international integration has also helped transform the country from one of the poorest in the world to a lower middle-income country.

The Party and State leadership have consistently pursued the policy to be a sincere and responsive member in any regional and international forum and institutions we are in. We are willing to cooperate with all friends and partners, including African countries for mutual interests and benefits.

Vietnam as a key member of ASEAN can serve as a favorable gateway for African countries to further the economic and political ties with states in the vibrant Southeast Asia. Although Vietnam and African countries have many things in common-shared history of struggling for national independence and freedom, developing economies with a lot of potential and enjoyed fine political relations,  economic ties remain at a low level.  A lot should be done to promote the economic ties and exploit the vast potentials. APEC Vietnam 2017 is a good occasion for African friends and partners to come to Vietnam and survey the potential of cooperation and also enjoy the breathtaking landscape and sincere hospitality of the Vietnamese people.

What could Vietnam do to make a more constructive contribution to regional development?

On the one hand, Asia-Pacific is the most vibrant and rapid-growing region which could be seen as a driving force for socio-economic development throughout the world. This area accounts for more than half of the global economy and provides vast potential for economic cooperation. But on the other hand, Asian-Pacific is facing more and more fluid situation, particularly tensions on the Korean peninsula and territorial disputes in the East China and South China seas. To keep the current growth momentum, we are of the view that all parties should work closely together to maintain peace and stability in the region. More importantly, regional and world powers and all other countries should behave more responsively. For instance, all disputes in the South China Sea must be settled by peaceful solutions on the basis of respecting international laws, especially the UNCLOS 1982 and the Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea. A binding and effectively implemented Code of Conduct in the South China Sea should be early reached between the related parties.

About Ambassador Vu Van Dzung

Ambassador Vu Van Dzung hails from Hai Duong in Vietnam. He assumed his duty at the Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa in December 2016 as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam to the Republic of South Africa, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of Zimbabwe, the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Kingdom of Swaziland.

He has served as Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the World and Vietnam Report, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Consul in San Francisco, USA, ASEAN Secretariat, Third Secretary in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, among others. Ambassador Vu Van Dzung is married with two children.

He attained a Bachelor’s degree from the Institute of International Affairs (1983); Master of International Affairs and Practice from the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, USA (1998); Post Graduate on National Administration Management from the National Institute of Administration, Hanoi, Vietnam.

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(Source: The Diplomatic Society)