This is the main theme of a recent workshop on commemoration of Vietnam’s 15-years accession to ASEAN (July 28, 1995-2010) by the Institute of Foreign Affairs in Hanoi. The workshop focused on four major contents: The motive in joining the organisation and Vietnam’s renovation process on ASEAN cooperation; evaluation of Vietnam’s accession to the organisation over the past 15 years; ASEAN’s prospects in the Asia-Pacific region; and upcoming ASEAN participation policy orientation.
Important role in the common ASEAN house
The workshop meaningfully concurred with the 43rd ASEAN Ministerial Meeting and related meetings in Hanoi. Moreover, it bears practical meaning in upcoming ASEAN participation policy orientation, specially at the service of the ASEAN Presidency in the remaining months of 2010.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem said Vietnam has become an integral part - an active, positive and responsible member - of the ASEAN house.
Though it is a new member, Vietnam has actively participated and played an important role in efforts to maintain peace and stability and promote the development of the bloc. Vietnam signed the Treaty on Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (SEANWFZ), and is actively canvassing nuclear powers to sign the Protocol of the Treaty to make it more meaningful. Besides, Vietnam has strong voice in the construction of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and is urging concerned parties to build the Code of Conduct on the East Sea (COC). Specifically, the country has made great contributions to development cooperation in order to narrow the divide in ASEAN with the initiative of Hanoi Declaration on Narrowing Development Gap in July 2010 and many other projects. Besides, it has played an important part in shaping cooperation framework inside ASEAN and between ASEAN with dialogue partners like ASEAN+3 with Northeast Asia countries, ASEAN+1 with China, Japan, South Korea , Australia, New Zealand and India.
Promoting past success to look to future
15 years ago, on July 28, 1995, Vietnam was admitted to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as the 7th member, marking a milestone in the country’s regional and global integration as well as in ASEAN’s development.
Three years later, Vietnam successfully hosted the sixth ASEAN Summit in December 12, 1998 in Hanoi. The summit adopted the Hanoi Plan of Action (HPA) that focused on the 2020 ASEAN Vision, which has helped ASEAN to maintain unity and cooperation within the group and strengthened the association’s standing in the world after ASEAN was badly hit by the financial and economic crisis in 1997 and 1998.
Vietnam then successfully took over the chair of the ASEAN Standing Committee from July 2000 to July 2001, leading other ASEAN members to adopt the Hanoi Statement on Narrowing the Development Gap at the 34th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in July 2001, showing its efforts to promote cooperation and strengthen regional links, ensure balanced development and sustainability of the bloc.
The active roles and important contributions of Vietnam are clearly illustrated in the process of shaping ideas, making policies, formulating and implementing ASEAN’s fundamental documents with the aim of building the ASEAN Community as adopted in the Declaration of ASEAN Concord in 2003, the Vientiane Action Programme (VAP) in 2004, the ASEAN Charter in 2007, the Roadmap to build the Community together with general plans to build three main principles of Community, and the IAI Work Plan on Narrowing the development Gap in 2009.
In four ASEAN main cooperative fields of politics, security, economy, cultural - social and external relations, Vietnam has made important contributions. It has actively participated in and hosted many events of the bloc.
Mr Djauhari Oratmangun, Director of the ASEAN Cooperation Department under the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, highly valued Vietnam’s role and contributions to ASEAN since it joined the bloc in 1995 and especially in 2010 when it is undertaking the role as ASEAN Chair.
He noted that during the past 15 years, Vietnam had always been an active and responsible member offering important contributions to the bloc’s peace, stability and prosperity. The current ASEAN, its Charter and roadmap to build the ASEAN Community by 2015 are common achievements of all member countries, including the Vietnamese government and people, he said.