NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung opens 132nd IPU General Assembly (Source: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - Over the past 70 years, the National Assembly’s external activities have become an integral part of external relations of the Party and State, contributing to the effective enforcement of Vietnam’s foreign policy, especially in the comprehensive reform and wide international integration.

The history of the legislative body’s external activities has been associated with Vietnam’s revolutionary government building and safeguarding cause.

Ngo Anh Dung, former NA deputy and Deputy Head of the Committee for External Relations of the 10th, 11th and 12th National Assemblies, said since the legislature’s establishment 70 years ago, parliamentary diplomacy has been carried out continuously at different levels with the efficiency improved.

The legislative body has actively participated in activities of regional and international inter-parliamentary organisations and forums, friendship parliamentarian organisations, while implementing cooperation agreements, and organising delegation exchanges with other countries.

At present, the Vietnamese NA has established ties with almost all parliaments of countries having diplomatic relations with Vietnam, especially traditional friends like Laos and Cambodia, strategic partners, and ASEAN countries.

As the country’s position on the international era is improved, the relations between the NA and its counterparts in other countries also expand through delegation exchanges and discussions on various current issues from poverty reduction to international economic integration.

Vietnam is currently a member of various regional and international inter-parliamentary organisations and forums, including the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF), Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP) Meeting, and Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie (APF).

Since 1979, Vietnam has actively and responsibly participated in activities of the IPU, contributing to developing the union and increasing the international community’s support for the country. The NA has twice served as Chair of the Asia-Pacific Geopolitical Group and the ASEAN+3 groups, and was elected to the IPU Executive Board – the most supreme agency of the IPU – for the 2008-2011 and 2015-2019 tenures, and as IPU Vice Chair in 2009.

The legislature also successfully hosted the 132nd IPU General Assembly in March 2015, marking a new development step in Vietnam’s parliamentary diplomacy and an important event of the country’s diplomatic sector.

As an AIPA member since 1995, the NA has fully participated in AIPA meetings and made positive contributions to intensifying the coordination between the IPA and ASEAN, especially in speeding up the building of the ASEAN Community and promoting the group’s role in forming regional structures.

Not stopping at participation in external activities at bilateral and multilateral forums, the NA and NA deputies have also engaged in building foreign policy. The NA Committee for External Relations has supervised the implementation and management of ODA, border management, and socio-economic development at border areas.

In the context of globalisation and strong international integration and regional connectivity, the NA’s external activities play an important role alongside the Government in boosting regional connectivity and international cooperation in addressing regional and global issues.

Mentioning the reform of external affairs, Deputy Head of the NA Committee for External Relations Ngo Duc Manh suggested fostering inter-parliamentary collaboration on both bilateral and multilateral channels, and promoting the NA’s proactive role in external relations as well as coordination with Party and State diplomacy.

Manh also stressed the need to intensify cooperation among countries on the parliamentary diplomacy channel to push for abiding of international law and the settlement of disputes, including those related to sea and island sovereignty, through peaceful means and international cooperation mechanisms.-VNA