Vietnam has accelerated economic and political global integration in a deep and comprehensive manner, said President Truong Tan Sang in a New Year interview with the Vietnam News Agency.

According to the President, despite domestic economic difficulties and complicated changes in the region and the world situation, a suitable external policy has helped the country keep the trust and support from other countries for the national construction and defence. The amount of committed official development assistance (ODA) capital to Vietnam has shown almost no decrease. Newly-registered foreign direct investment was lower, but total disbursement was equal to last year’s amount, helping the country maintain development and strengthen its role and position in the international arena.

Vietnam also received international support for its position on protecting sea and island sovereignty. Last year, more than 30 delegations, including the heads of State, Governments and legislatures of several countries, visited the country. The guests had high hopes for short- and long-term cooperation with Vietnam - cooperative ties beneficial to both bilateral and multilateral relations.

“We are in the third year of the five-year plan adopted by the 11th Party Congress. We are determined to restructure the economy and maintain macro-economic stability for more sustainable, quality and effective development, which will ensure we realise the goal of become an industrialised nation by 2020,” he said.

“As in the first two years of the plan, we will still have to go through the steps of economic restructuring and accept a lower growth rate in 2013. At the same time, we have to change the economy’s growth quality and prepare the prerequisites for the following periods,” he went on to say.

Regarding the position of Southeast Asian nations in Vietnam ’s external policy, President Sang affirmed the country’s policy of multilateral relations. While paying attention to developing relations with big countries, Vietnam attaches special importance to ASEAN member countries.

This is Vietnam ’s consistent policy concerning relations with neighbours, President Sang stressed.
“ Vietnam is a positive and responsible member of ASEAN. Both when serving as rotating Chair of the bloc or when just being a member, Vietnam always works and proposes initiatives with the aim of strengthening solidarity and building the ASEAN Community, thus winning approval from other members as well as other countries,” the President said. He added that big countries, as ASEAN partners also attach importance to their ties with Vietnam . Some of them have upgraded their bilateral ties with Vietnam to a strategic partnership level, and through Vietnam , they affirm their relations with Southeast Asia .

On the East Sea issue, President Sang stressed that it is a topic of concern to Vietnam as well as to ASEAN and other countries with interests in the East Sea .

The country has clearly stated and reiterated its stance that disputes over sovereignty in the East Sea must be solved by peaceful means based on international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

He noted that China and ASE AN had signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and agreed to build a legally binding Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC). At the same time, Vietnam is of the viewpoint that all these works should be done in a peaceful and friendly manner without the use of violence, so that the East Sea is truly an area of peace, stability with maritime security and safety.

“While taking a flexible approach to the issue, we must constantly strengthen our national defence-security front, and keep up vigilance at every change in the regional situation to resolutely defend the sacred territorial sovereignty of our country,” he added.-VNA