Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung highlighted opportunities and challenges facing the world, the UN’s great role in maintaining global peace and security, and Vietnam’s commitments to international missions at the general debate of the UN General Assembly session in New York on September 27.
Mr Dung noted that when humankind entered the new millennium, all nations expected to live in a more peaceful world, friendly international relations and a better life. However, for almost the past decade, people have lived in a world full of opportunities and challenges.
Though humankind has not suffered a new world war since the coming into being of the United Nations, the world has witnessed many civil wars and conflicts, international terrorism and escalated arms races, including nuclear weapons.
Mr Dung said despite impressive sci-tech achievements, there is a wider gap in earnings amongst nations, with nearly 1 billion people living in poverty. In addition, epidemics, environmental pollution and climate change have become global issues, seriously threatening human life. Despite the rapid development of regional and global cooperation institutions, there have remained tense confrontation, unilateral imposition, intervention in national independence and sovereignty, inequality and unfair treatment in international relations.
Mr Dung called on all countries and territories to exert greater efforts to maintain global peace and stability, establish equal cooperative relations among nations and ensure a favourable international environment for the development of all nations.
In the face of big challenges in the new Millennium, Mr Dung said people from all nations pin high hopes on the United Nations and Vietnam supports the UN’s future activities on peace, security, cooperation and development approved at the UN Summits in 2000 and 2005.
The Vietnamese PM stressed that the UN Millennium Declaration in 2000 and the UN initiative on sustainable development and the harmonious combination between economic growth, social equality and environmental protection have received a strong response from all member countries.
“Vietnam hopes the UN will make greater contributions to this process, creating more opportunities for under-developed nations to escape poverty and keep up with the common development trend,” said Mr Dung. “In this spirit, Vietnam expects to an early end to the Doha Round of negotiations to further expand fair international trade.”
“Vietnam strongly supports cooperation and development of all nations and the establishment of equal international relations on economics, finance and trade, with priority to be given to developing and under-developed countries, including the lifting of economic sanctions and embargoes. We hope that the UN will mobilise more avenues to implement programmes of action on poverty reduction, the advancement of women, childcare, population planning and the fight against HIV/AIDS. Vietnam strongly supports joint efforts, including those by the UN, to protect the ecological environment and cope with global climate change.”
Mr Dung underlined the need to accelerate the UN reform programme to ensure the participation of all member countries by learning from past experiences and having a broad vision for the future.
The Vietnamese PM highlighted Vietnam’s significant contributions to the UN since it joined the organisation in 1977, and appreciated UN organisations for their assistance to the country.
Over the past 30 years, he said as a UN member country, Vietnam has worked actively for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the world. The country has made substantial contributions to turning Southeast Asia from a region confronted and divided by wars, into an area of peace, friendship and cooperation, which is looking to the establishment of an ASEAN community based on the three pillars of politics-security, economics and socio-culture.
The Vietnamese Government leader said Vietnam supports efforts to tackle conflicts peacefully and ensure the sovereignty and independence of all nations, to promote development programmes, solve global social issues, and establish equal and mutually beneficial international political and economic relations.
He noted that Vietnam embarks on the policy of being a friend and a reliable partner of all countries, striving for peace, independence, cooperation and development. The country has established diplomatic ties with 174 countries and economic and trade ties with almost all countries and territories in the world. It has been an active member of many regional and global organisations and forums. Most recently, it has become the 150th member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The country has been elected to the leadership of many UN organisations and is implementing a pilot programme on the One UN Initiative in the country.
“We appreciate UN organisations for their assistance to Vietnam. The important socio-economic development achievements have helped Vietnam fulfil many Millennium Development Goals, particularly on poverty reduction, ahead of schedule, with the effective assistance of the international community,” said Mr Dung. “Despite being a poor country, Vietnam has made efforts to join the tripartite cooperation programme on agricultural development between Vietnam, a UN organisation and several African countries, which has achieved encouraging results.”
To make further contributions to the international community, Mr Dung went on to say in 1997 Vietnam decided to stand as a candidate for the post of a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2008-09 period.
He took this occasion to thank the group of Asian countries to the UN for nominating Vietnam as the only Asian candidate, and other UN member countries for supporting the bid.
“Vietnam is well aware of the great honour and heavy responsibility of a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, an agency assigned with the leading task of maintaining international peace and security. If elected to the post, Vietnam will fully observe the principles, goals and regulations outlined in the UN Charter, cooperate closely with other council members and will do its best to make contributions to implementing the lofty mission of the council. .. It will make every effort to help ease tension, and prevent or solve global conflicts peacefully. It will fulfil its obligation as a UN member country by joining all key international treaties on preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in conformity with international law.”
Mr Dung said Vietnam is ready to join institutions inside and outside the UN Security Council regarding the promotion of assistance to the reconstruction and development process of countries which have recently undergone conflicts. It is also ready to share its experiences as a country which has undergone the reconstruction and development process in the post-war period and achieved important progress.
Mr Dung said Vietnam has contributed financial support and joined UN-led peace-keeping activities in several countries. It is completing preparations for joining these activities in certain conditions and within its capacity.
Mr Dung called on the UN Security Council to renew its working methods to operate more efficiently and voiced his support for the council’s plan to strengthen relations with regional organisations.
He expressed his belief that with its open and constructive external relations and significant contributions to peace, security, cooperation and development in the world, Vietnam will be elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the 2008-09 term. The country will be an active, constructive, cooperative and responsible member in international activities, deserving the trust of all members, said Mr Dung.