December 22, 2013 marks the 69th founding anniversary of the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA), an army from the people and for the people. Vietnam News Agency presents an article by the Ministry of National Defence web portal on fundamental issues of the national defence policy.

Vietnam always regards the maintenance of peaceful and stable environment for socio-economic development, industrialisation and modernisation, building the socialism-oriented market economy as the top national interest, and the consistent goal of its national defence policy. Vietnam has followed a national defence policy of peace, and self-defence expressed in the guideline of not using force or threatening of using force in international relations; solved differences and disputes with other countries by peaceful means.

Vietnam advocates the gradual modernisation of the VPA and enhancement of the defence potential only to maintain its military power sufficient for self-defence capability. Vietnam opposes arms race. As a nation having experienced wars for national independence and freedom, Vietnam thoroughly respects other countries’ independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and national interests on the basis of fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter and international laws. At the same time, Vietnam demands that its independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and national interests must be respected by other countries. Vietnam advocates against the military use of force first in international relations, but is ready to resolutely fight against all aggressive acts.

Vietnam’s consistent policy is to solve both historical and newly emerging disputes over territorial sovereignty in land and at sea through peaceful means on the basis of international laws. As for disputed sovereignty rights at sea, though there is sufficient historical evidence and legal foundation to prove Vietnam’s undeniable sovereignty over water areas and islands in the East Sea, including the Hoang Sa (Paracel) and the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagos, it is always ready to negotiate with all parties concerned to find peaceful solutions to those disputes in conformity with regulations of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. While continuously seeking for a long-term solution to the issue, Vietnam advocates that all parties must restrain themselves, strictly abide by DOC, and strive for building COC in order to reach a long-term and fair solution to this complicated issue, turning the East Sea into a sea of peace, friendship, and development.

Vietnam builds its national defence power on the basis of the overall strength of the whole nation, of the great solidarity of the masses, of the whole political system led by the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), combining the strength of the nation with the strength of the time, the strength of military forces and the all-people defence posture with the strength of people’s security forces and posture. Vietnam has established a policy to concurrently develop both its socio-economic and defence capabilities and closely coordinate defence-security and diplomatic activities to support the cause of industrialisation and modernisation, and rapid and sustainable economic development. To protect Vietnam’s independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and other national interests as the region and world situation faces many changes, Vietnam builds its all-people national defence upon the whole nation’s tradition of patriotism and fighting against foreign aggression; strengthening armed forces, inheriting and upholding the values of the Vietnamese military sciences over the time, and developing the Vietnamese military arts to meet the demands of modern wars.

Proactively preventing and repulsing the dangers of wars are among essential tasks of Vietnam’s national defence in peacetime in order to realise the optimal national defence strategy of protecting its sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and other national interests without resorting to war fighting. Vietnam advocates implementing the national defence strategy through a spectrum of political, economic, diplomatic, socio-cultural and military activities aimed at eradicating the causes of armed conflicts and wars. Thoroughly grasping the principle of active, comprehensive defence and safeguarding the Homeland from apart, Vietnam’s national defence takes combined measures to maintain internal stability while preventing the risks of outside intervention.

Vietnam’s national defence is always closely linked to the CPV and the State’s guideline of independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation and development in external affairs, and the foreign policy of openness, multilateralisation and diversification in international relations. Through its diplomatic activities, Vietnam has consolidated mutual understanding and trust with peoples and governments of other countries, laying the firm foundation for expanding cooperation, resolving differences in order to prevent and repulse the dangers of armed conflicts, contributing to the maintenance of a peaceful and stable environment in the region and the world. On implementing the independent, and self-reliant national defence policy, Vietnam builds national defence power mainly upon its own resources and people. Thus, Vietnam consistently advocates neither joining any military alliances nor giving any other countries permission to have military bases or use its soil to carry out military activities against other countries. At the same time, Vietnam attaches great importance to developing defence ties with all other countries on the basis of respect for each other’s independence, sovereignty and mutual benefit. Vietnam highly values defence cooperation with neighbouring countries, and traditional friends while developing defence links with other countries sharing the goal of peace, independence and development. With the spirit of “shelving the past, looking forward to the future”, Vietnam is ready to cooperate with other countries to solve humanitarian issues left by history; and at the same time, Vietnam acclaims initiatives and activities for peace and cooperation of all countries regardless of political regimes or their history of relations with Vietnam.

Vietnam resolutely condemns and opposes to terrorism in any forms and simultaneously protests against any acts in the name of counter-terrorism to intervene into the internal affairs of other countries. Apart from taking necessary measures to prevent and respond to terrorism, Vietnam supports the international community’s endeavours and expansion of cooperation to prevent terrorist actions and support of terrorism in any forms. Vietnam insists that the counter-terrorist measures and international cooperation in the fight against terrorism must be carried out within the framework of the United Nations, and in compliance with the fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter and international laws. Vietnam has signed eight out of 12 conventions on counter-terrorism of the United Nations and is considering participating in the remaining conventions.

Vietnam approves the settlement of other flashpoints which might break out into armed conflicts in the region through dialogue, peaceful negotiations, and without resorting to force or the threat to use force.-VNA