On 12 March 2014, the 3rd lecture of ASEAN Ambassadors Lecture Series (Viet Nam), co-organized by ACC and BFSU, was successfully held at BFSU.
H.E. Mr. Nguyen Van Tho, Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam to China, delivered a keynote speech on "Viet Nam-China Relations and Regional Cooperation". The gist of the keynote speech is summarized as follows:
On the foreign policy of Viet Nam—Viet Nam has adopted a foreign policy of independence, self-resilience, peace, cooperation and development. Viet Nam has established 13 strategic partnerships and 11 comprehensive partnerships with neighboring countries and major powers. Viet Nam is an active member of almost all major regional and international organizations and mechanisms. In the years ahead, Viet Nam will continue to pursue proactive integration with the region and the world.
On Viet Nam-China relations—The relationship with China is one of Viet Nam's foremost long-term strategic priorities.
On political field, leaders of the two countries had decided to build a Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership, based on the principle of 16 words, “friendly neighbors, comprehensive cooperation, long-standing stability, and future-oriented” and in the spirit of “four goods”: “good neighbors, good friends, good comrades, and good partners”.
On economic field, bilateral trade volume grew from 32 million USD in 1991, to over 50 billion USD as of 2013. For the last 9 years, China has been the No. 1 trade partner of Viet Nam. China is the 9th biggest investor in Viet Nam with a total of nearly 7 billion USD.
On education, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, Viet Nam is now an emerging destination with 1.9 million Chinese tourists visited Viet Nam last year, and 1.5 million Vietnamese visited China in 2013. More than 13,000 Vietnamese students are studying in China, making China one of the most attractive destinations for Vietnamese students.
Talking about the issue of the South China Sea, H.E. Ambassador Nguyen Van Tho emphasized that this issue is not the overall relationship between Viet Nam and China. He believed that on the basis of the common understanding between the leaders of the two countries, on the basis of equality, mutual respect and international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Seas, both countries would step by step find an appropriate solution to this issue.
On the role of Viet Nam in ASEAN-China relations—Expressed appreciation to China’s initiative on a “Community of shared destiny with ASEAN”, China’s policy of prioritizing relations with its neighbors, ASEAN included, and to help ASEAN build a Community, expand ASEAN integration and connectivity, and support ASEAN centrality in the evolving regional architecture.
H.E. Ambassador Nguyen Van Tho opined that the 16th ASEAN- China Summit agreed on the guiding directions to strengthen, deepen and elevate the ASEAN-China Strategic Partnership to a higher level.
His Excellency offered some thoughts and suggestions on how to carry out the goals set out by the leaders.
First, we should do more to further enhance strategic trust and mutual understanding. With trust, cooperation and interaction in all areas will easily follow.
Second, with a view towards an enhanced ACFTA and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), we must think of both the huge opportunities and the not-so-small challenges ahead. It is hoped that China will step up assistance to ASEAN Member States, including less developing countries, so as to narrow the development gap.
Third, we should endeavor to solve the outstanding issues between us. The political will of both sides is already there. We need to work a little harder.
Fourth, we should continue to foster people-to-people exchanges. What we have done well so far should be expanded further in all and every fields of cooperation.