Vietnam - Core member in ASEAN's development

8/8/2022| 8:41

Vietnam is proud to be a responsible and active member who has made significant contributions to the development of ASEAN as a big community and economy in the world.

August 8, 2022 marks the 55-year journey of formation and development of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). After the past five decades, ASEAN has become a big community and economy in the world, enjoying a deepening security-political and cultural-society cooperation.

Vietnam is proud to be a responsible and active member that has made significant contributions to ASEAN as it is today.

Vietnam - Core member in ASEAN's developmentASEAN flag raising ceremony in Hanoi on the occasion of the 53rd anniversary of ASEAN founding and the 25th anniversary of Vietnam joining the association. (Photo: VNA)

Imprints of Vietnam in ASEAN 

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations was established on August 8, 1967 with 5 members. Over the years, the association gradually developed into a comprehensive and close cooperative organization of 10 Southeast Asian countries and officially became the ASEAN Community on December 31, 2015.

Vietnam officially joined ASEAN on July 28, 1995 at the 28th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (AMM-28) in Brunei. However, the country's process of joining ASEAN had started long before. In July 1992, Vietnam joined the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC) and became an observer of ASEAN. Since 1993, Vietnam had held regular consultations with ASEAN on annual AMM, particiapated in ASEAN cooperation programs in five areas: science-technology, environment, health, culture-information, and social development. In 1994, Vietnam became one of the original members of ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the first regional forum on political-security issues led by ASEAN.

Joining ASEAN is a strategic decision of the Vietnamese Party and State to create a new development situation for the country, consolidate a peaceful and stable environment, and take advantage of external resources for development. Right after joining ASEAN, Vietnam encouraged ASEAN to admit Laos, Myanmar (in 1997), and Cambodia (in 1999), which helped Vietnam become a bridge between mainland Southeast Asia and island Southeast Asia. As a result, by 1999, all 10 Southeast Asian countries had realized the dream of gathering the collective strength of the whole region, eliminating distrust among peoples, and narrowing the development gap to significantly enhance regional independence.

Over the past 27 years, Vietnam has played a key role in defining development goals and directions and formulating major decisions in ASEAN. Along with that, Vietnam works with ASEAN to put decisions into implementation with a broad vision.

In the context of rapid and complex changes affecting the security and stability in Southeast Asia, Vietnam has supported ASEAN in building principles to effectively respond to threats to regional peace, security, and stability, and promote dialogue and cooperation.

The country has also been devoted to expanding ASEAN's relations with international partners. Vietnam has successfully undertaken and hosted important ASEAN activities and meetings, contributing to strengthening ASEAN's solidarity and prestige. 

In 2022, with the theme "ASEAN A.C.T.: Addressing Challenges Together”, Vietnam accompanies other member countries to overcome challenges, continue the momentum of building the community and promote regional connectivity, effectively respond to emerging challenges, and strengthen the central role of ASEAN in the international arena.

Vietnam - Core member in ASEAN's developmentPrime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc hands over a wooden hammer representing ASEAN Chairmanship to the Ambassador of Brunei in Vietnam in November 2020. (Photo: VNA)

 Growing economic and trade cooperation between Vietnam and ASEAN

After 27 years of joining ASEAN, the economic-trade relations between Vietnam and ASEAN have grown tremendously, both in breadth and depth. In 1996, when Vietnam first joined the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), Vietnam's two-way trade with other countries in the bloc reached nearly 6 billion USD. Up to now, this figure has increased more than 10 times to reach 60 billion USD.

In the period 2010-2021, trade between Vietnam and ASEAN achieved remarkable growth. Exports increased from 9.3 billion USD in 2010 to 29.1 billion USD in 2021. Vietnam's imports from ASEAN increased from 14.5 billion USD in 2010 to 41.1 billion USD in 2021. In 2021, Thailand is Vietnam's largest export market in ASEAN, reaching 6.1 billion USD, accounting for 20% of the market share, followed by Cambodia (4.8 billion USD), the Philippines (4.5 billion USD), and Myanmar (4.4 billion USD).

Vietnamese industrial products such as computers, electronic products and components; phones and accessories; machinery, equipment, tools, and spare parts account for the largest turnover. Meanwhile, rice is the country's main agricultural product exported to ASEAN. The Philippines is Vietnam's largest rice importer in the bloc and in the world. In 2022, Vietnam and ASEAN countries will continue to promote investment and trade connections for intra-regional enterprises.

Considering the complicated changes in the world and in the region, ASEAN is facing both opportunities and challenges in terms of its ability to respond to emergencies and build a resilient and resilient community. ASEAN has always been one of the top priorities in Vietnam's foreign policy. A strong and resilient ASEAN Community will be solid support for Vietnam to overcome the growing difficulties in the coming time.

With the motto of being proactive, active, and responsible, Vietnam will continue to work with ASEAN member countries to strengthen ASEAN connection and cooperation and enhance ASEAN's solidarity, unity, and central role towards the common goal of peace, security, stability, and prosperity in the region and the world.

Translated by Valerie Hong-anh