VUFO President Vu Xuan Hong (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The biggest achievement of people-to-people diplomacy in the past 30 years has been the continued maintainance and consolidation of the network of Vietnam’s international friends during the renewal cause.

This has contributed to nation building, development and poverty reduction during this period, said President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) Vu Xuan Hong in his interview with the Vietnam News Agency.

He said that as the unit in charge of people-to-people diplomatic activities, the VUFO has diversified its operations to help foreign friends and partners understand Vietnam’s situation exactly in order to take advantage of their support for the nation building cause.

The union has intensified dialogue on sensitive issues to protect the image and interests of Vietnam in the international arena, while stepping up activities to boost cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, investment, tourism, culture, education and science & technology between Vietnam and other countries, and encouraging the involvement of overseas Vietnamese.

Therefore, people-to-people diplomacy has acted as a channel to mobilise humanitarian aid, expand Vietnam’s relations with other countries, and help foreign friends understand more about the country’s situation, Hong stated.

As of late 2015, non-governmental aid for Vietnam had been valued at around 4 billion USD, with the focus on poverty reduction, settlement of war aftermath, the environment, health, education and social welfare in all the 63 provinces and cities.

He affirmed that during the 30-year reform process, Vietnam has reconnected with its traditional friends and found new suitable friends and partners who contribute to the national construction, development and safeguarding.

Notably, people-to-people diplomacy has always been connected closely with the external-relations activities of the Party and State. The Party and State, in turn, have also paid increasing attention to the work, while facilitating operations of the VUFO, he added.

People-to-people diplomacy has been considered a common task of the entire political system and people, so it has attracted the involvement of many people, from Party, State and Government leaders to entrepreneurs, artists and civilians, he said.

Public awareness of the work has also improved with the motto of “each citizen is an ambassador for the image of the country”.

Meanwhile, the VUFO, responsible for people-to-people diplomatic activities, has been consolidated comprehensively with 111 member associations and better staff.

The important thing the union has to do now is to help Vietnam have more friends as the more friends the country has, the less conflicts or situations that have negative impact it will face, Hong added.-VNA