Vietnam has actively got involved in the realisation of ASEAN commitments since the country joined the association on July 28, 1995, according Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung.
He made the statement in an interview granted to Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of the 51st anniversary of ASEAN establishment on August 8, 1967 and the 23rd anniversary of Vietnam’s membership.
The official said Vietnam was the second country after Singapore to fully implement commitments of the ASEAN Economic Community.
Vietnam is pioneering in the fields of security and politics, he added.
Vietnam is leading in international economic integration, he said, noting that the country is one of the three ASEAN member states to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Vietnam and Singapore are securing a free trade area agreement with the European Union (EU).
Vietnam was the first country in ASEAN to partake in the free trade area with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Dung noted.
The diplomat added that Vietnam gained a number of benefits after joining ASEAN.
First, it is the peaceful cooperation environment that enables the country to develop its economy and attract investment as well as expand markets for trade development.
Secondly, Vietnam implements its policy of international integration through ASEAN, Dung said, noting that ASEAN was the first step for the country to integrate itself into the world and connect with other economies.
Last but not least, Vietnam enjoys collective strength and interests when joining ASEAN.
ASEAN is a forum for Vietnam to promote its role and image as well as contribute more to the common interests of the region and beyond, he said.
ASEAN has recorded great achievements, which were acknowledged, after 50 years of formation and development, Dung stressed.
The bloc has become a successful organisation in many aspects such as security, politics, economy, culture and society, he said, adding that over the past five decades, ASEAN has learned the lesson that it is necessary to enhance unity and intra-bloc cooperation for mutual development.
ASEAN set up mechanisms led by itself which prove effective and are implemented by the group’s member nations, Dung noted.
He added that ASEAN has affirmed its position and role in not only in Southeast Asia, but also in Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean.
Dung, however, said ASEAN has also faced many difficulties and challenges in forming the ASEAN Community, including the development gap among member nations and the difference in organizational structures and political institutions as well as in their interests, the robust changes in the region, and the impact of the 4th industrial revolution.
The fierce competition in strategies from big countries, strong changes in the region, and the increasing protectionism are also challenges to ASEAN’s principle and purpose to support free trade, he noted.
All member countries should be aware of the value of community strength to them, to the region and the world, thus contributing to harmonizing benefit of their own countries with the interest of the ASEAN Community and the region, Dung stressed.
ASEAN should be determined to realise its set targets and commitments, while balancing its relations with partners, especially big countries, he added.
Regarding Vietnam’s ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020, Deputy Minister Dung said the assumption is not only the responsibility but also an opportunity for the country to prove its capacity, and promote its land and people.
The year 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of Vietnam’s ASEAN membership as well as five years of the establishment of the ASEAN Community and the mid-term review of the implementation of the ASEAN Master Plan on Connectivity (2015-2025), he said.
Therefore, Vietnam is constructively preparing for the Chairmanship in terms of material facilities, and financial and human resources, the official noted.
“We need to understand what ASEAN needs so as to propose topics that serve the common interests of ASEAN member countries,” he said.