United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Australian expert Carlyle Thayer have highlighted Vietnam's remarkable achievements over the past 75 years, especially its diplomatic and military milestones. According to many foreign experts and officials, Vietnam's international prestige today is at an all-time high.
UN's strong partner
In his warmest congratulations to the Vietnamese Government and people on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the country's National Day (September 2), UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres praised Vietnam for being always a strong partner since its entry to the worlds largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in 1977.
The Vietnamese army has been joining the UN's peacekeeping activities and Vietnam's leading role in fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals lays a solid foundation for the country to implement the Sustainable Development Program 2020, Guterres noted. Vision and aspiration of the Sustainable Development Goals will become more important than ever when the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, he stressed.
According to the UN's top leader, Vietnam has been making great contributions to supporting sustainable peace in its capacity as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC). In 2020, Vietnam is the ASEAN Chair and a UNSC non-permanent member, reflecting its strong presence on the international arena, Guterres said.
On behalf of the U.S. Government, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on September 1 sent congratulations to Vietnamese people. We commend Vietnam for its successful Chairmanship of ASEAN in this challenging year, and we appreciate your close coordination in the fight against COVID-19, the United States top diplomat stated, noting that the two countries are working together to build a more peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
According to Pompeo, the remarkable transformation of the Vietnam-U.S. relationship, across trade and investment, security cooperation, and people-to-people ties, is a testament to those who have worked to overcome the past and build a better future for both two peoples.
Professor Carlyle Thayer, the University of New South Walesat the, Australian Defense Force Academy, shared the same view. Vietnam's international prestige today is at an all-time high. The evidence for this is Vietnam's unanimous selection by the Asia bloc in the UN as its candidate for a non-permanent seat on the UNSC and Vietnam's receipt of 192 votes out of 193 in the election held by the General Assembly. In addition, Vietnam is serving as ASEAN Chair for the third time and its term overlaps with the first year of its two-year tenure on the UNSC Thayer stated.
According to the Australian scholar, Vietnam has used its role as ASEAN Chair to take a proactive leadership role in ASEAN to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The country was successful in securing consensus on a regional response to the coronavirus and in initiating preliminary discussions on a post-COVID recovery.
6 major diplomatic milestones, 3 defense hallmarks
In the 1990s Vietnam set itself the objective of diversifying and multilateralizingits foreign relations and proactively integrating with the world economy. Using these objectives as a benchmark, Vietnam achieved six major diplomatic milestones.
First, Vietnam became a member of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in November 1998.
Second, Vietnam became a member of the World Trade Organization in November 2006.
Third, Vietnam was elected a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the first time for the 2008-2009 period.
Fourth, in February 2019, Hanoi was selected as the venue for the second summit meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and DPRK Chairman Kim Jong-un.
Fifth, Vietnam was elected a non-permanent member of the UNSC for the second time for the 2020-2021 period.
Sixth, Vietnam as ASEAN Chair 2020 responded to COVID-19 by demonstrating decisive leadership in re-orientating ASEAN to combat this threat to public health in Southeast Asia.
Vietnam reached three major milestones in defense by modernizing its armed forces and contributing to global security, Thayer stated.
The first milestone was reached a decade after the decision was made in 2006 to modernize Vietnams navy and air defense-air force. During this period Vietnam acquired Gepard-class frigates, Molniya-class guided missile Fast Attack Craft, six Varshavyanka-class diesel submarines, and Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30 jet aircraft.
The second milestone was reached in 2008 when Vietnam's Maritime Police were upgraded to an armed service and renamed Vietnam Coast Guard with responsibility for maritime law enforcement, search and rescue, and sovereignty protection in the East Sea (South China Sea).
The third milestone was reached in 2018 when Vietnam substantially upgraded its commitment to United Nations' peacekeeping by deploying army medical staff to a Level II Field Hospital in the South Sudan.