Taking the initiative in tackling key global challenges

18:01 | 13/04/2021
In the spirit of Vietnam carrying out its role as chair of the United Nations Security Council this month, Ambassador Duong Van Quang, former director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, talked with VIR’s Thanh Tung about this hallmark event, and how it can help elevate the country’s international prestige and status.
1539 p5 taking the initiative in tackling key global challenges
Ambassador Duong Van Quang, former director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam

What is the significance of Vietnam’s current role as non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for 2020-2021, as well as council chair for April?

Vietnam made a great success as chair of the UNSC in January 2020 for the first time during the tenure, with many initiatives. One of the most prominent achievements was the construction and adoption of its resolution at the UN General Assembly on “International Day of Epidemic Preparedness”. All member states in the UN gave the thumbs-up to this significant resolution.

I think Vietnam’s significant activities at the UNSC will continue to help lift the country’s international prestige. Words made by Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN, have shown that the international community is pinning great hopes on what Vietnam has and will do effectively as UNSC chair this month.

I do believe that the country’s status in the international arena in general and within the UN in particular will change. This also can prove that if Vietnam becomes a member or a leader of any international organisation, it will also be able to enhance its role and prestige within such an organisation as a reliable and responsible member.

How do you think Vietnam would have fared, and what would it have offered, if there was no COVID-19?

On December 27, the world for the first time in its history organised activities to boost anti-epidemic efforts. Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who is now the state president, also delivered a message on the importance and measures for fighting epidemics. This was the UN General Assembly’s first-ever resolution of the type, and also the first hosted and advanced by Vietnam. This resolution was supported by all UN member states, with Canada, Niger, Senegal, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines becoming co-authors with Vietnam. Moreover, over 100 UN member states worldwide sponsored the resolution.

I would say that any initiative advanced at any international organisation must be of great significance, and Vietnam must have made thorough studies on all initiatives proposed by other nations at the UN. However, after the pandemic emerged, Vietnam had to consider and propose important initiatives at just the right time. The “International Day of Epidemic Preparedness” initiative has even become more significant as Vietnam has been generally very successful in controlling COVID-19. This has also enriched the country’s prestige.

If there had been no COVID-19, Vietnam would have still been able to select and propose another significant initiative depending on the global situation and suitable to the shared interests, concerns, and expectations of the international community.

How important is Vietnam’s successful macroeconomic monitoring to elevating the country’s prestige and decisions at the UNSC?

Vietnam’s economy grew 2.91 per cent last year, making it among the few with positive growth and helping the country draw more attention from the international community. In the first three months of 2021, the growth rate was nearly 4.5 per cent, which is also relatively optimistic.

This success has contributed to Vietnam’s activities at the UNSC. One of the most important principles in diplomacy is that any nation wanting to perform well in the diplomatic front must have real national strength. The strength can be seen in many factors in which one of the most basic factors is economic development.

Since the country’s doi moi initiated in 1986, Vietnam has achieved relatively high economic growth. However, the growth rate in 2020 was of bigger significance especially given many nations suffered from negative growth. This has created very big momentum for Vietnam’s external relations.

In the past President Ho Chi Minh employed diplomacy as a means of projecting power, and argued that a country’s diplomatic strength depended on its internal strength. Thus in order to further enhance its prestige, Vietnam must continue developing its strengths in economics, population, securit,y and defence, including its contributions to the international community – especially in the current context of globalisation becoming a major trend.

In April, Vietnam is holding three key events on mine action and sustaining peace; protection of objects essential to the survival of civilians in armed conflicts; and on enhancing cooperation between the UN and others to prevent conflicts. What is your assessment on these priorities?

In fact, Vietnam has formulated an agenda for the whole of 2021. Two key factors must be carefully considered. Firstly, in order to well perform the role as UNSC chair, Vietnam has to satisfy its own national interests. Secondly it has to ensure the suitability with the global trend as under this role, Vietnam must act as a referee who must harmonise all benefits of all parties.

To do this, Vietnam must advance its crucial initiatives which must be accepted by the five major nations in the UN Security Council. These priorities and initiatives will contribute to helping ensure Vietnam’s national interests and having some possible positive impacts on the settlement of related global issues.

These priorities are also suitable to the world’s common trend in international relations and to the expectations of the nations within the council, first and foremost the five major ones at the UNSC.

By Thanh Tung

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