National Assembly’s foreign affairs promoted to aid Party’s external relations and State diplomacy in the new context

Member of the Party Central Committee, member of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee, Chairman of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee
Wednesday, May 22, 2024 09:55

Communist Review - Vietnam's foreign affairs have achieved comprehensive and significant results over the recent past, contributing to socio-economic development and national defense and security. These achievements can be attributed to the thorough understanding and effective implementation of the Resolution of the 13th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam, as well as to the innovations and proactive adaptation of the foreign affairs sector. The accomplishments were especially admirable given the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the rapidly changing, unpredictable global landscape.

Politburo member and Chairman of the National Assembly (NA) Vuong Dinh Hue (first from left) visits an exhibition showcasing the NA’s foreign affairs achievements held as part of a conference on the implementation of the NA's foreign affairs work in 2023 _Photo: VNA

National Assembly’s foreign affairs - A highlight in Vietnam’s diplomacy

The National Assembly’s foreign affairs have been proactively, actively, and comprehensively implemented, both bilaterally and multilaterally, over recent years, significantly enhancing Vietnam’s external relations and Vietnam's cooperation with other countries more extensive, comprehensive, and substantive. These activities are regarded as a "bright spot in bilateral relations" with many countries.

The National Assembly, which exercises legislative powers, decides on important issues for the country, and conducts supreme oversight over the activities of the State, has affirmed its active and pioneering role in institutionalizing and legalizing Vietnam's international commitments. It has created a favorable legal framework to promote economic, trade, and investment cooperation with key partners.

Bilateral delegation exchanges  between the Vietnamese National Assembly and parliaments of other countries in 2022 saw many substantive results. During the COVID-19 pandemic, online discussions were held while dynamic in-person foreign affairs activities took place at various levels, especially official visits by the Chairman and Vice Chairmen of the National Assembly to several countries, including Laos, Hungary, the UK, Cambodia, and the Philippines by National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue, who also attended the 43rd General Assembly of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA-43) in Cambodia. Furthermore, parliamentary delegations from countries such as India, Singapore, Madagascar, Cambodia and France paid official visits to Vietnam. These activities promoted special solidarity, traditional friendship, and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and neighboring countries, traditional friends, strategic partners, and comprehensive strategic partners, making ties with these countries more extensive and substantive. Particularly, during bilateral official visits by the National Assembly Chairman, economic and education cooperation forums were organized and many cooperation agreements were signed, opening up opportunities to boost trade and investment relations and human resource training to serve the implementation of socio-economic development strategies outlined at the 13th National Party Congress, as well as to implement post-COVID-19 recovery efforts.

Since the beginning of its 15th tenure, the National Assembly has recorded remarkable progress in its multilateral foreign affairs. In 2022, the National Assembly actively and effectively participated in regional and global parliamentary organizations such as the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF), and the ASEAN People's Forum (APF). It made significant contributions to AIPA-43 as National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue, in his speech, proposed five key points. These included strengthening the central role of ASEAN; enhancing the supervisory role of member parliaments in the implementation of ASEAN's master plans; renovating the organizational structure and activities of AIPA; promoting gender equality and the participation of women and youth in policy making and implementation; and increasing the participation of young AIPA parliamentarians. His proposals garnered support and praise from member parliaments. Vietnam also co-sponsored with the host country four resolutions on political, economic, socio-cultural and gender equality issues. This demonstrates Vietnam's sense of responsibility towards AIPA's collective efforts to overcome difficulties and challenges and achieve the goals of building a strong ASEAN Community. Vietnam fully participated in other activities within the framework of AIPA, affirming its role and responsibility in this important parliamentary cooperation mechanism. The country also actively took part in and made valuable contributions to IPU, APPF, and APF assemblies, earning much praise from international friends. Notably, Vietnam fulfilled with excellence its role as a member of the APPF Executive Committee and a member of the APF Executive Committee in charge of the Asia-Pacific region. The success of parliamentary diplomacy in 2022 was partly attributed to the highly proactive and diverse activities of friendship parliamentarian groups, such as the Vietnam-Japan Friendship Parliamentarians Group, the Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship Parliamentarians Group, and the Vietnam-Republic of Korea Friendship Parliamentarians Group, all of which have made positive contributions to Vietnam's relations with other countries. The Women’s Parliamentarians Group and the Young Parliamentarians Group have also operated creatively and effectively.

With diverse activities involving various stakeholders including the Party, Government, and people, parliamentary diplomacy has contributed to building a peaceful and stable environment in the region and deepening cooperation between Vietnam and other countries and partners, both bilaterally and multilaterally, in the new context. As a result, the National Assembly's status in inter-parliamentary forums has been greatly enhanced.

Promoting the advantages of National Assembly foreign affairs in the new context

The global and regional situation is evolving in a rapid and complex manner with many unpredictable factors, which are affecting security, development, and intensifying the renewal process. Alongside opportunities, there are numerous challenges, including many unprecedented issues requiring the creativity and determination to renew and improve the quality and effectiveness of external relations. In this context, the National Assembly’s foreign affairs continue to focus on implementing the major tasks and orientations outlined in the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress, the Politburo’s Resolution 22-NQ/TW dated April 10, 2013, on "International Integration", the first National Foreign Relations Conference (December 2021), and the Politburo’s Resolution 34-NQ/TW dated January 9, 2023, on "Some major orientations and policies on implementing foreign affairs directions set out at the 13th National Party Congress". This approach aims to bring into full play the vanguard role of the National Assembly's foreign affairs, which feature both State diplomacy and people-to-people diplomacy, contributing to establishing and maintaining a peaceful and stable environment, mobilizing external resources for national development, and elevating Vietnam's position and prestige internationally.

The National Assembly’s foreign affairs are conducted through the basic functions of the National Assembly: making laws, exercising supreme oversight over State activities, and deciding on the important issues of concern to the country. These include building and improving the legal framework on foreign affairs and international integration; supervising the implementation of policies and laws in the field of foreign affairs and international integration; and implementing the National Assembly’s foreign affairs activities within the framework of bilateral relations,  promoting inter-parliamentary cooperation and other mechanisms.

It is important to focus on strengthening bilateral cooperation with the parliaments of partners which corresponds to the levels of priority: countries with special relationships, neighboring countries, ASEAN countries, comprehensive strategic partners, strategic partners, comprehensive partners, and other important partners within the framework of the National Assembly’s bilateral foreign affairs activities. Focus should be placed on enhancing exchanges of delegations at all levels; effectively implementing bilateral agreements; accelerating the signing of agreements with partners toward substantive cooperation; improving the performance of friendship parliamentarian mechanisms, and of female and young parliamentarians; sharing experiences with partners to enhance the effectiveness of the National Assembly's activities; and considering establishing friendship parliamentarian groups with the remaining partners.

The National Assembly focuses its inter-parliamentary activities on maximizing the advantages of the country and parliamentary diplomacy to proactively and actively engage in building multilateral mechanisms and to implement the Party Secretariat’s Directive 25-CT/TW, dated August 8, 2018, on "Promoting and elevating multilateral foreign affairs until 2030". The National Assembly also aims to build on its success at important forums with specific directions and measures and continue to "proactively contribute to shaping the rules of the game", demonstrating Vietnam’s role as an active and responsible member in promoting dialogue and  cooperation, especially through the parliamentary channel, and contributing to maintaining peace, stability, and development in the region and the world.

In line with the current international context, national development requirements, and the implementation of the Party Secretariat’s Directive 15-CT/TW, dated August 10, 2022, on "Economic diplomacy serving national development until 2030," it is necessary to concentrate on promoting economic diplomacy, boosting exports, diversifying markets, fully tapping new free trade agreements (FTAs), and attracting high-quality foreign direct investment. It is important to seize on new trends in international economic connectivity to establish relations with key partners, creating breakthroughs in international cooperation in crucial areas. It is also essential to enhance multilateral economic diplomacy while proactively participating in and making effective use of the initiatives of major countries in a balanced manner to mobilize resources for national development, while simultaneously safeguarding Vietnam’s interests.

The National Assembly aims to actively cooperate with the parliaments of other countries to promote the negotiations, signing, ratification, and implementation of multilateral FTAs. It will also consider participating in regional multilateral initiatives on economic connectivity and infrastructure development and negotiating bilateral FTAs with other countries, especially major trading partners and countries and groups in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.

As the supreme supervisor of State activities, the National Assembly continues to oversee the implementation of State policies on overseas Vietnamese and foreigners in Vietnam. It will continue to collaborate with Government agencies to improve policies, mechanisms, and laws to create favorable conditions for overseas Vietnamese to actively and deeply engage in national construction and defense. The National Assembly aims to help overseas Vietnamese solidify their legal status and facilitate conditions for them to live, work, study, and integrate into their host countries while preserving the Vietnamese language and promoting the national cultural identity.

As the focal agency responsible for relations with the parliaments of other countries and regional and worldwide inter-parliamentary organizations, the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee (which operates under the direction of the National Assembly Standing Committee and the Chairman of the National Assembly) continues to enhance coordination and strengthen research, forecasting, and strategic advice in the field of foreign affairs in order to proactively, promptly, and effectively implement the National Assembly’s foreign affairs activities. It also works to improve coordination and information sharing among National Assembly agencies and with related agencies involved in the three pillars: Party external relations, State diplomacy, and people-to-people diplomacy. The National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs Committee will provide additional information on international issues and events, as well as activities of the parliaments of other countries and regional and global parliamentary organizations related to Vietnam, to National Assembly deputies and the public at home and abroad. Focus is placed on building the organizational structure and the apparatus and on training, fostering, and developing foreign affairs cadres.

The National Assembly’s foreign affairs will continue to join forces with Party external relations, State diplomacy, and people-to-people diplomacy to promote the synergy of foreign affairs in all the fields of national defense, security, economy, culture, and society. Foreign affairs tasks will be carried out synchronously, creatively, and effectively toward the successful achievement of the objectives set in the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress.

This article was published in the Communist Review No. 1014 (May 2023)