|Vietnam became an ASEAN Member on July 28, 1995 (Photo: VNA)
Vietnam has pursued a foreign policy of strengthening relations with neighboring countries, promoting win-win cooperation within ASEAN, and enhancing comprehensive and effective cooperation with other ASEAN members. Enhancing Vietnam’s ASEAN membership has been the focus of its diplomacy.
|17th ASEAN Summit was held in Hanoi on October 28, 2010 (Photo: Duc Tam/VNA)
The establishment of the ASEAN Community in late 2015 was part of Vietnam’s initiatives and the 2010 Hanoi Plan of Action. Vietnam has contributed to the expansion of ASEAN, with the East Asia Summit admitting Russia and the US, and to the expanded ASEAN Defense Ministerial Meeting Plus. Those are important mechanisms for ASEAN itself and for increasing links between ASEAN and other countries.
Vietnam’s contribution to ASEAN is reflected in its successful tenures as ASEAN Chair and its many initiatives. During its ASEAN Chairmanship in 1998, three years after joining the organization, Vietnam drafted the Hanoi Plan of Action to boost regional recovery after the Asian economic crisis and narrow development gaps between ASEAN countries. In 2010, when it was ASEAN Chair for the second time, Vietnam promoted what foreign diplomats called “implementing culture”.
Vietnam contributed to building the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and the Code of Conduct in the East Sea with the aim of ensuring peace and stability in what is internationally known as the South China Sea.
In 2020, when Vietnam was celebrating 25 years in ASEAN and held the ASEAN Chairmanship for the third time, ASEAN found itself facing grave challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But Vietnam, embracing its leadership role, introduced several COVID-19 response and recovery initiatives. The cohesiveness of ASEAN has been tightened through its members’ cooperation in pandemic response and economic recovery efforts.
|Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc receives ASEAN President's Hammer from his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-o-cha, November 4, 2019 (photo: Thong Nhat/VNA)
ASEAN – focus of Vietnam’s foreign policy
ASEAN’s growing international status in recent years has validated Vietnam’s decision to join the organization.
Vietnam’s membership in ASEAN reflects its foreign policy of multilateralization, diversification, and boosting cooperation for peace, development, and prosperity in the region.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Vietnam continues to introduce new initiatives to make the ASEAN Community stronger and more united. A strong, self-reliant ASEAN Community will provide a foundation for Vietnam to overcome all difficulties.