Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh addresses the ministry's meeting in Hanoi on January 21 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – The most important task for external work in 2019 is to intensify established relations and enhance the mutual interests between Vietnam and its key partners, especially neighbouring, regional, and major countries, along with strategic and comprehensive partners.

The remark was made by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh at a meeting in Hanoi on January 21 to review the ministry’s performance in 2018 and set up tasks for the rest of the year.

He noted that despite the complex and unpredictable developments in the world and the region in 2018, the Party and State’s external work has been carried out in a proactive, creative, and effective manner, thus fulfilling the tasks assigned.

Under the sound and direct leadership of Party and State leaders, methodological, concrete, and effective steps have been taken, thereby greatly helping to maintain peace and stability, attract external resources to national development, firmly safeguard the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and promote Vietnam’s stature in the international arena, he said.

Amid the country’s intensive integration into the world, the diplomatic sector needs to play a more active role in seeking markets for Vietnamese goods; mobilising external resources; and helping with the implementation of new-generation free trade agreements, particularly the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Minh added that this year, the sector will push on with multilateral diplomacy. Notably, Vietnam will make preparations for its holding of the ASEAN Chair in 2020 and run for a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council for 2020-2021.

The diplomatic sector will also have to closely coordinate with defence and security agencies to help ensure national sovereignty and territorial integrity, especially security and sovereignty at sea, the Deputy PM noted.

He said that in order to fulfil those tasks, the sector needs to step up strengthening the political firmness and specialised capacity of its staff. He also requested better coordination between the foreign ministry and other ministries, sectors, and localities nationwide in external and international integration activities so as to ensure the ultimate goal of meeting national interests. –VNA