Diplomatic efforts affirm Vietnam’s position in international arena amid COVID-19 hinh anh 1Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The diplomatic sector has continued to affirm Vietnam’s position in the international arena amid the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has said.

Speaking with the media on December 24, the Deputy PM said that, under the leadership of the Party, the entire political system fully fulfilled the twin targets of fighting the pandemic and maintaining a stable environment for socio-economic development.

This was a major achievement by the country in 2020 and provided favourable conditions for the Party and State’s external affairs activities, Minh said.

External activities were implemented effectively in both bilateral and multilateral respects.

Vietnam maintained relations with partners this year through moving meetings and conferences to the online format. Thirty-three phone discussions between senior leaders in Vietnam and those of key countries around the world were held in 2020, during which they discussed measures to enhance bilateral ties.

Vietnam also fulfilled its roles as ASEAN Chair, Chair of the 41st ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) General Assembly, and non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) this year.

The country helped promote solidarity and cohesiveness in ASEAN in responding to changes in the region and the world.

It also contributed ideas to issues within the framework of the UNSC as a representative of developing countries as well as small and medium countries.

Regarding economic integration, Minh said Vietnam ratified the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement during the year and worked, together with other countries, to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

When COVID-19 broke out around the world and the region, the need to protect Vietnamese citizens abroad became more essential than ever.

Diplomatic efforts affirm Vietnam’s position in international arena amid COVID-19 hinh anh 2Vietnamese citizens line up at an airport to board a plane home (Photo: VNA)

Since the beginning of the year, more than 260 flights have been conducted bringing home over 73,000 Vietnamese citizens from 59 countries and territories, he added.

Regarding the East Sea issue, the situation continues to develop in a complex manner. Vietnam, however, has maintained a stable environment in the waters through various measures, including those related to bilateral relations with other countries.

Vietnam raised the issue at all meetings with leaders of other countries, with the goal to ensure a peaceful and stable environment, respect international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and avoid any activities that may complicate the situation.

The country also mentioned the East Sea issue at international and ASEAN conferences, with consensus and support received from other nations.

Vietnam has also maintained normal economic activities in legitimate waters within its exclusive economic zone, Minh said.

He affirmed that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam excellently fulfilled its role as ASEAN Chair.

This is also the assessment of the international community, ASEAN countries, and the general public, he added.

The theme “Cohesive & Responsive” that Vietnam selected proved appropriate, expressing the goal of intensifying the central role and solidarity of ASEAN as well as the bloc’s responsiveness to the new circumstances.

Diplomatic efforts affirm Vietnam’s position in international arena amid COVID-19 hinh anh 3Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc chairs the plenary session of the 37th ASEAN Summit in November (Photo: VNA)

Vietnam also ensured all working agendas of the ASEAN Chairmanship Year were implemented, including those involved in the building of the ASEAN Community.

The country has to date got ASEAN approval of more than 80 documents, and 28 out of 32 initiatives put forward by Vietnam were written into documents.

Vietnam also organised special meetings within the framework of ASEAN and with bloc partners in response to the pandemic and set forth four important matters, including the establishment of the ASEAN COVID-19 Response Fund and the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies.

The Deputy PM said that, in its role, Vietnam stepped up discussions on ASEAN connectivity with sub-regions, especially cooperation with Mekong region countries.

Diplomatic efforts affirm Vietnam’s position in international arena amid COVID-19 hinh anh 4Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of Vietnam's permanent mission to the UN, speaks at a UNSC session on November 23 (Source: VNA)

In the first year of its two-year term on the UNSC, Vietnam made active contributions based on the principle of ensuring independence and respecting international law and the interests of countries to resolve issues in the region and the world.

Vietnam has promoted its priorities this year, which is the role of women for peace and security.

The country also drafted a resolution designating December 27 as International Day of Epidemic Preparedness, which was approved by the UNSC General Assembly during its 75th session, Minh said, adding that the event marked an important milestone for Vietnam’s diplomatic sector.

Vietnam will continue implementing priorities in 2021, including resolving conflicts, the issue of children in conflict, post-conflict socio-economic recovery, post-conflict mine clearance, climate change, and peacekeeping missions.

The most important mission for the diplomatic sector in the new year will be to maintain a peaceful and stable environment and protect Vietnam’s independence and sovereignty over seas and islands.

The country continues to consolidate and deepen its relations with partners, particularly strategic and comprehensive partners and neighbouring countries.

In the context of complex developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, citizen protection remains a priority for the diplomatic sector in the time to come, Minh added./.