Vietnam needs to comprehensively integrate further into the world with a specific focus on economic integration, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said.

The country must actively join the international community in shaping the common playing rules for the best interests of the nation in both the short- and long-term, he told the first meeting of the National Steering Committee for International Integration in Hanoi on March 3.

He also offered guidance on the correct approaches to achieving global integration in politics, diplomacy, national defence and security in order to raise mutual understanding between Vietnam and partner countries and foster an environment of peace, stability and development.

The PM requested the acceleration of negotiations on free trade agreements (FTAs) and the utilisation of existing FTAs.

Apart from becoming globally assimilated in terms of culture, science, technology, and education-training, the country is to strengthen the national sense of unity, rally resources for socio-economic development, and protect and assist Vietnamese citizens abroad.

Turning to multilateral diplomacy, the government leader instructed proactive participation in international treaties, multilateral forums, particularly the ASEAN and the United Nations.

In 2014, Vietnam achieved well-rounded successes in external relations in the key pillars of politics-security-defence, economics-science-education, and socio-culture.

Politically, it made substantial contributions to international forums, responsibly joined activities within the framework of the World Trade Organisation and multilateral economic cooperation forums, and actively participated in the formation of the up and coming ASEAN Economic Community.

A highlight of the year was the accelerated negotiations on several FTAs. Vietnam and its partners signed joint statements on the completion and towards the completion of talks on FTAs between Vietnam and the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, the Europe Union, and the Republic of Korea. The remaining agreements, namely the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the agreement between Vietnam and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), are progressing positively.

Focusing on multilateral diplomacy through 2020, the Foreign Ministry proposed hosting large-scale multilateral events, strengthening the ASEAN Community and its central role in the emerging regional architecture, among others.

Participants suggested working energetically on both bilateral and multilateral diplomacy and intensifying coordination among ministries, agencies and localities in the process of international integration.

Concluding the event, the PM asked the Government Office to make a report specifying the tasks of each ministry and agency and the Foreign Ministry to devise a draft directive of the PM on international integration in line with a relevant resolution set by the Politburo.-VNA