Vietnam – ASEAN: past – present – future

July 27, 2010, on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of Vietnam’s ASEAN entrance, the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam held a scientific seminar titled “Vietnam – ASEAN: Past – present – future” to review, assess Vietnam’s ASEAN entrance and participation, as well as propose Vietnam’s directions and policies in ASEAN in the near future.

Attending the seminar were senior officials who have directly supervised and involved in the process of Vietnam’s ASEAN entrance, representatives of industry and departments, the top academic researchers of ASEAN. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem attended and gave a steering speech at the seminar.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem emphasized that joining ASEAN is one of the utmost important policies of the Party and State in implementing the foreign policy of independence, sovereignty, diversification, multilateralisation and active integration into the regional and global economy. In the past 15 years, Vietnam is an integral part, and an initiative, positive, responsible member in the common home of Southeast Asia.

The contents of the seminar revolve around three key issues: looking at the process of Vietnam joining ASEAN and evaluating Vietnam’s participation in the ASEAN’s activities in the past 15 years and some policy – oriented proposals of Vietnam in ASEAN in the coming period.

Regarding accession to ASEAN, the delegates agreed that Vietnam’s accession to ASEAN in 1995 was a profound transition in awareness and thinking of not only Vietnam about ASEAN but also ASEAN and the world’s change in thinking about Vietnam.

In the discussion on the major driving force to promote Vietnam’s accession to ASEAN, the majority of the delegates stated that it is mainly thanks to the political and strategic requirements for the establishment of a peaceful and stable environment for development, not due to economic benefits. Regarding the ASEAN countries, the driving force for admission of Vietnam to ASEAN is for the sake of regional peaceful benefits and common stability. Delegates assumed that ASEAN has improved relations with Vietnam in parallel with the process of normalization between U.S. and Vietnam, if there is no the switch in U.S. policy, the ASEAN will not change its policy with Vietnam.

Regarding assessing the participation in the ASEAN’s activities in the past 15 years, the delegates said that Vietnam has made positive contributions in various fields, expressing its roles in the region and are highly appreciated by the member countries.

Concerning Policy recommendations of Vietnam in ASEAN in the coming years, the delegates affirmed that ASEAN should be one of the most preferential objectives in our foreign policies. The role of ASEAN in political security is the most important, but not ignore economic role, especially when the ASEAN Economic Community was formed.

The seminar took place in the context of Vietnam holding the ASEAN chairmanship; therefore, this is a meaningful, very practical and useful activity for policy making in Vietnam’s taking part in ASEAN in the coming period, especially in the position of ASEAN Chairman in the rest of year 2010.

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