President Vo Van Thuong attended a policy discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in San Francisco, the US, on November 15 morning (US time), as part of his trip to attend the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week and bilateral activities in the US.
President Thuong briefed attendants at the discussion on Vietnam’s situation, highlighting the country’s great achievements after nearly 40 years carrying out the Doi Moi (renewal) cause. Vietnam has become the 11th biggest economy in Asia and one of the 40 biggest economies in the world. The country is also among the top three destinations of foreign investment in ASEAN for the past decade. Having joined 16 free trade agreements, Vietnam is one of the 30 countries and territories with biggest foreign trade.
At the same time, the household poverty rate based on UN standards has dropped from over 50% in 1986 to 4.3% at present. The political situation in the country has stayed stable, national defence-security has been strengthened. The country has promoted institutional reform and developed infrastructure and human resources. Judicial reform, law enforcement and corruption prevention and control have been intensified, bringing about important results. People have been placed at the centre of the Doi Moi process, being both the subject and the target of development.
To realise the aspiration to become a developed high-income country by the middle of this century, Vietnam is focusing efforts on rapid and sustainable development on the foundation of science-technology and innovation along with developing culture and protecting the environment, building and completing a rule-of-law State of the people, by the people and for the people and actively pushing international integration. President Thuong stressed that throughout the process, people with their human rights and citizen rights are the centre of all policies and future plans.
He went on to affirm that Vietnam has defined and consistently pursue a foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, friendship, cooperation and development, and diversification and multilateralisation of relations. The country actively and proactively promotes comprehensive and extensive international integration, and strives to be a friend, a reliable partner and an active and responsible member in the international community.
Vietnam follows a “four no-s” defence policy, that is no partaking in military alliance, no siding with one country to act against another, no foreign military bases in the Vietnamese territory or using Vietnam as leverage to counteract other countries, and no using force or threatening to use force in international relations, the President stressed.
He said Vietnam backs the strengthening and enhancement the effectiveness of bilateral and multilateral cooperative mechanisms and international coordination to ease tension and prevent and end conflicts, to address issues related to economic, cultural, social, scientific-technological development, and to respond to non-conventional security challenges.
Vietnam is ready to contribute to the international community’s joint efforts in climate change response and environmental protection, and to participate in UN peacekeeping and international relief activities.
Regarding the Vietnam-US relationship, Thuong said the relations are now at its best ever, with the two countries from former enemies becoming comprehensive strategic partners. This is truly a model in international relations.
“Vietnam’s motto is to shelf the past, overcome differences, optimise similarities and look toward the future,” the President said, adding that mutual understanding, mutual trust, respect for each other’s legitimate interests and no interference into each other’s internal affairs always bear great importance. Vietnam considers the US a partner with strategic importance in its external relations, he affirmed.
In reply to a question about the US-Vietnam agreement to promote cooperation in semiconductor production, President Thuong said Vietnam wants the Vietnam-US Joint Leaders’ Statement on elevating the Vietnam-US ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership to be fully implemented, including cooperation in semiconductor, chip and high-technology. However, for the cooperation to be effectively realized, the US should recognise Vietnam’s market economy status and remove Vietnam from the list of countries subject to limited cooperation in chips and semiconductor, he said, adding that Vietnam also hopes for the US’s help in training manpower in this field.
Asked about the role of Vietnamese Americans in promoting bilateral cooperation, President Thuong underlined that Vietnam’s policy always considers overseas Vietnamese, including those in the US, an integral part of the Vietnamese nation. He said the overseas Vietnamese have contributed to the great achievements of the country in the past 40 years. Vietnam always welcomes OVs in the US to return to Vietnam regularly to witness the great changes in the home country and have a better understanding of the national development cause, he said.
Asked about the development of the Vinfast automobile brand, Thuong said Vietnam is a latecomer, and the rate of domestically-made cars sold in the country remains low. But the country advocates green and clean technology in automobile production, so Vinfast’s electric vehicles represent an effort of Vietnamese enterprises in this direction, towards the goal of zero emission by 2050.
Regarding difficulties that Vietnam is facing in responding to climate change, the President said as one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, Vietnam has rolled out many measures to address the issue. However, the country needs support in both political resolve and specific actions from the international community. He expressed the wish that the US government will continue to support Vietnam in this important field.
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is an independent, nonpartisan membership organisation, think tank, and publisher dedicated to being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.
Source: Vietnam Plus