Vietnam’s role in ASEAN after 15 years
Joining the ASEAN has brought about practical benefits to Vietnam in its
drive for national construction and security, Deputy Prime Minister and
Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem wrote in an article reviewing the past
15 years of Vietnam’s ASEAN membership, in which he also talked about
ASEAN’s future targets, including establishing an ASEAN Community by
The article reads as follows:
On July 28, 1995, Vietnam’s national flag was hoisted at a ceremony
held in Brunei to admit Vietnam as the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN)’s 7th member, marking a milestone in the
country’s regional and global integration as well as in ASEAN’s
Since then Vietnam has taken an
active part in the association’s affairs and has made many contributions
to its development. Membership also brought about practical benefits to
Vietnam in its drive for national construction and security.
The 15th anniversary of Vietnam entering ASEAN is a good time to
review what has been done and what is still to do, first and foremost
is the creation of an ASEAN Community by 2015.
Vietnam ’s impact on ASEAN
Over the past 15 years, Vietnam has actively taken part in ASEAN
affairs and has made many important contributions to the association in a
number of cooperative fields including defining the way ahead for the
association, its cooperation development and major policies, which has
helped to strengthen solidarity and cooperation amongst ASEAN members
and raise the association’s status in the international arena.
With a desire for a peaceful, stable and prosperous region, Vietnam
and other ASEAN members have overcome their differences, settled
outstanding issues left over by history and boosted comprehensive
cooperation in a spirit of friendship and solidarity.
Vietnam joining the bloc in 1995 was seen as an important step
in the association’s plans to expand and develop. As soon as Vietnam
became a member of ASEAN, the country actively promoted the admission of
Laos , Myanmar and Cambodia to ASEAN, which helped to create an
ASEAN that included all 10 Southeast Asian countries and open a new
chapter of solidarity, friendship and cooperation in the region. A 10
member ASEAN was an important development for the association, as this
laid the foundations for ASEAN to become a significant regional bloc
that now plays an important role in the Southeast Asian and Asia-Pacific
Vietnam ’s influence is clearly
shown in the organising of several important ASEAN events as well as in
ASEAN’s decision making. After only three years of ASEAN membership,
Vietnam had made a deep impression on the bloc as well as international
friends by successfully hosting the 6 th ASEAN Summit in Hanoi in
December 1998. The summit adopted the Hanoi Plan of Action (HPA) that
focused on the 2020 ASEAN Vision, which has helped ASEAN to maintain
unity and cooperation within the group and strengthened the
association’s standing in the world after ASEAN was badly hit by the
financial and economic crisis in 1997 and 1998.
Vietnam then successfully took over the chair of the ASEAN Standing
Committee from July 2000 to July 2001, leading other ASEAN members to
adopt the Hanoi Statement on narrowing the development gap at the 34 th
ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in July 2001.
Vietnam also plays an important role in driving ASEAN into a new
stage of development, leading to an ASEAN Community by 2015, that will
operate under the ASEAN Charter with the three main principles of
Politics- Security, Economics and Culture-Society.
This year, Vietnam has taken over the chair of ASEAN for the second
time. With the theme “Towards an ASEAN community: From Vision to
Action”, Vietnam is doing its utmost to coordinate and accelerate
measures to implement the ASEAN Charter and ASEAN’s plans to build an
ASEAN Community and expand and deepen cooperative ties between the bloc
and its partners, while strengthening and maintaining ASEAN’s central
role in the process of regional cooperation. The success of the 16 th
ASEAN Summit in Hanoi in April 2010 and ministerial level meetings
including the 43 rd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and other related
meetings in Hanoi in July are an indication of Vietnam ’s efforts
to promote moves that encourage the formation of an ASEAN Community.
Deputy PM Khiem said that the past 15
years have shown that the Party and the State’s tactical decision to
join ASEAN was a good move, made at the right time and was significant
in both historical and strategic terms.
Becoming part of ASEAN
has already brought and will bring in the future a great deal of benefit
in the fields of politics, security, economics, culture, social affairs
and external relations.
Above all, it has helped Vietnam to
retain an international climate that is favourable for its development
and security as well as facilitate its regional and international
integration, said Khiem.
Vietnam’s joining of ASEAN has helped to
maintain a peaceful and stable environment and create the best possible
conditions for cooperation and development in Southeast Asia by
building an integrated and closely connected ASEAN Community with a more
important role in the region and shepherding new relationships amongst
Integrating and participating in ASEAN has
enabled Vietnam to gain real socio-cultural and commercial-economic
benefits, which have aided the country’s socio-economic development, the
Deputy PM emphasised.
Becoming part of ASEAN’s internal economic
network as well as free trade agreements that the group signed with its
partners, has helped Vietnam to attract an increasing volume of
foreign investment capital and at the same time given it access to other
markets, both regionally and globally.
Moreover, Vietnam has
gained access to scientific and technological advances and modern
methods of management plus it has been helped to enhance its
institutional capacity and ability to handle transnational issues in
fields such as the environment, natural disasters, diseases and climate
change, said Khiem.
He confirmed that ASEAN membership has
enabled Vietnam to broaden its horizons and step up cooperation with
its ASEAN partners, especially the bigger countries, while
participating more in inter-regional or international cooperation
frameworks. These include ASEAN+3, the East Asia Summit (EAS), the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, the Asia-Europe Meeting
(ASEM) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which have heightened its
role and prestige in the international arena.
Vietnam is concentrating on an all-out effort to fulfill its task as
ASEAN Chair in 2010. This will contribute to realising ASEAN’s goals,
further the country’s international role and highlight Vietnam as a
dynamic country that pursues a foreign policy of independence,
self-reliance, peace, cooperation and development.
As an integral
part of ASEAN, Vietnam will continue to work side by side with its
partners to ensure a brighter future for the ASEAN Community, said