APPF-26: Vietnam’s major diplomatic event in 2018 hinh anh 1The opening ceremony of the 26th Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF-26) in Hanoi on January 18 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The 26th Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF-26), hosted by the National Assembly (NA) of Vietnam, is one of the country’s major diplomatic events amid its extensive and intensive international integration.

Together with the successful hosting of the APEC Year 2017, the APPF-26, which opened in the capital city of Hanoi on January 18, is making significant contributions to the nation’s diplomatic achievements.

It forms part of the efforts to implement Vietnam’s foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, diversification and multilateralisation of relations, active integration into the world, maintaining a peaceful and stable environment, creating favourable conditions for national construction and protection as well as strengthening Vietnam’s position and prestige in the international arena.

Enhancing partnerships between Vietnamese and APPF member parliaments

According to Nguyen Van Giau, Chairman of the Vietnamese NA’s Committee for External Relations, more than 350 delegates from APPF member nations have registered to attend the four-day meeting.

The APPF-26 is an opportunity for the Vietnamese NA to strengthen diplomatic relations and partnerships with its regional counterparts via bilateral meetings with delegations during their stay in Hanoi, including those from the world’s powers such as the US, Russia, China, Japan, Canada and Australia. The event also helps affirm the Vietnamese NA’s role and reputation at regional and international inter-parliamentary forums.

Having recognized the importance of partnerships between Vietnam and Asia-Pacific nations, over the past 20 years, the Vietnamese NA has made continuous, active and responsible contributions to the APPF, said Do Manh Hung, deputy head of the NA Office and head of the subcommittee for APPF-26 information and communications.

This is the second time Vietnam has hosted an APPF annual meeting after the APPF-13 in the northeastern coastal province of Quang Ninh in January 2005.

Since joining the APPF in January 1995, the Vietnamese legislature has constructively participated in the forum’s activities, reflected by its presence in all annual APPF meetings, and numerous proposals, many of which were accepted and included in the meetings’ documents.

At the APPF-14 in Indonesia in 2006, the joint declaration and other documents of the meeting contained Vietnam’s recommendations on enhancing collaboration between parliaments and governments of Asia-Pacific countries as well as between the APPF and the APEC, providing direct support for APEC activities. 

Meanwhile, during the APPF-18 in Singapore in 2000, and the APPF-19 in Mongolia in 2011, Vietnam raised initiatives regarding response to climate change and implementation of the UN millennium development goals, which were adopted at these meetings.

Building on APEC Year 2017’s outcomes

APPF-26: Vietnam’s major diplomatic event in 2018 hinh anh 2A plenary meeting of the APPF-26 (Source: VNA)

The APPF-26 is entrusted with a mission to orient member parliaments towards a shared future of bringing practical benefits to the regional countries and people. Therefore, the parliamentary mechanism also aims to boost effectiveness of the APEC forum.

According to Do Manh Hung, deputy head of the NA Office and head of the subcommittee for APPF-26 information and communications, one of the key agenda of the APPF-26 is to directly assist the APEC by upholding the success of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week 2017 in the central city of Da Nang.

In the framework of the event, the delegates are discussing economic cooperation in Asia-Pacific, share their views on and contribute to regional efforts toward the expansion of trade-investment engagement and sustainable development, Hung said.

They are also mulling over the parliaments’ role in boosting inclusive and extensive economic links, food security, sustainable agricultural production, gender equality and the development of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises in the digital age, Hung said, adding that these sub-topics are closely related to the APEC meeting’s agenda.

Elevating Vietnam’s position and image in the international arena

Hosting important multilateral diplomatic events, including the APPF-26 and APEC Year 2017, has sent a message of Vietnam as a nation of peace, stability, dynamism, and development, with friendly people, NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, who is also Chair of APPF-26, told reporters in an interview before the APPF-26.

The APPF-26 is a highlight in the 14th NA’s foreign affairs in 2018. It presents an opportunity for the legislative agency to show its role and responsibility in the forum while popularising its image as a renovated, dynamic, active and responsible one in the eyes of international friends.

Vietnam’s initiatives and ideas put forth for the event have received approval and praise from international friends, affirming the country’s capability and performance in the process of extensive and intensive international integration, Ngan said.

Vietnam cares about the development of the world and pledges to join hands with the international community to implement common tasks for sustainable development, Ngan said, adding that the Vietnamese NA has paid attention to parliamentary diplomacy and contributed to development orientations of regional and international parliamentary forums.

The NA Chairwoman also hoped that international delegates to the APPF-26 would enjoy the beauty and peace of Hanoi, as well as the charm of culture and landscapes of Vietnam during their stay.

Vice Chairwoman of the State Duma of the Federal Asssembly of Russia Olga N. Epifanova told Vietnam News Agency correspondents about her first impression of Vietnam’s hosting APPF-26, saying that she loves every step of it, particularly the way Vietnam welcomed guests with an warm atmostphere.

On the sidelines of the Meeting of Women Parliamentarians, the first activity of the APPF-26, Stephenie Ritland, Attorney Advisor Federated States of Micronesia, lauded the initiatives Vietnam proposed for the event, including promoting gender equality and empower of women and girls for sustainable development and shared prosperity in the region, saying that this is an important topic to be included in this forum.

She also hailed the proactiveness of Vietnam and its NA in hosting the APPF-26, saying that Vietnam is taking great steps moving forwards and sets a great global example with a female NA leader.

The APPF was established on March 15, 1993, with the purpose of building trust among parliaments in the Asia-Pacific via the enhancement of dialogues between regional parliamentarians, thus contributing to regional peace, sustainability and prosperity.

The forum has become an important inter-parliamentary forum which gathers 27 member parliaments, namely Australia, Cambodia, Canada, China, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Fiji, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, the RoK, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, the US, and Vietnam.-VNA
Phuong Vu VNA