Asean has committed to building a people-centred community. Vietnam will work with other members on appropriate modalities for communication and engagement with the civil society.
Q:WHAT ARE VIETNAM'S PRIORITIES AS THE ASEAN CHAIR?
Ambassador Nguyen Duy Hung
A: Our theme, "Towards an Asean Community: From Vision to Action", will see concrete action to accelerate implementation of the three blueprints (The Asean community consists of three pillars: the Asean Political-Security Community, the Asean Economic Community and the Asean Socio-Cultural Community), strengthen Asean's ability to overcome the consequences of the financial crisis, deal effectively with transnational problems such as climate change, disaster and other pandemic issues, and build on the momentum Asean has gained with our dialogue partners to support our development goal and maintain Asean's centrality within regional frameworks.
Q:VIETNAM WILL BE BUSY THIS YEAR WITH TWO CONCURRENT CELEBRATIONS: THE 15TH ANNIVERSARY OF VIETNAM JOINING ASEAN AND THE 1,000-YEAR HANOI COMMEMORATION.
A: Yes, both occasions have special meaning for Vietnam - a milestone for the officially united nation and our entry into a new life within the Southeast Asia region.
The year 2010 is also a special year for us to celebrate our diplomatic relations with several major partners, including the 60-year relationship with China and Russia and 15 years of relations with the US.
Q:HOW DOES VIETNAM VIEW RECENT DEVELOPMENTS SUCH AS THE ASEAN DEFENCE MINISTERIAL MEETING (ADMM), THE EXPANDING EAST ASIA SUMMIT (EAS) AND OTHER NEW INITIATIVES LIKE THE EAST ASIAN COMMUNITY FORMULATED BY JAPAN, AND THE ASIA PACIFIC COMMUNITY (APC) SET IN MOTION BY AUSTRALIA?
A: Defence cooperation is an integral part of Asean political-security cooperation. As chair of the fourth ADMM, we will strengthen cooperation in addressing non-traditional security issues, particularly disaster relief and emergency response, and further promote ADMM cooperation with Asean dialogue partners.
On the issue of EAS membership expansion, there have been a number of proposals to join the EAS, including that of Russia, which has been voicing its desire to participate in this forum for several years.
Asean should examine the EAS applications on a case-by-case basis, taking into account such important factors as the EAS's nature, the purpose of openness and inclusiveness, and momentum for the promotion of policy dialogue and cooperation with key regional partners.
We also welcome and look forward to more details on the EAC and the APC initiatives, but would like to emphasise the important role of Asean in the existing regional frameworks. Any new regional mechanism or process should be complementary and supportive to those already existing, especially the ARF (Asean Regional Forum), Asean+3, EAS and Apec (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation), and avoid an overlap.
Q:THERE ARE SOME CONCERNS WHETHER DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE CIVIL SOCIETY AND THE NEXT ASEAN CHAIRS, INCLUDING VIETNAM, MIGHT NOT BE THAT ROSY, AND THE NEW ASEAN INTERGOVERNMENTAL COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS (AICHR) MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO ADDRESS ANY RIGHTS PROBLEMS.
A: Asean has committed to building a people-centred community. Therefore, all member states, including Vietnam, support the participation of different people layers in the establishment of this community.
Vietnam will work with other members on appropriate modalities for communication and engagement with the civil society.
As for the AICHR, we think it needs adequate time to grow up (in terms of organisational structure and planning) before effectively taking part in substantial matters.
As chair of this year's AICHR, we will facilitate it in writing a five-year road map. I do believe that the AICHR can only be a success if Asean's principles are firmly upheld, the Asean way is strongly preserved and the terms of reference are strictly followed.
We would like to share our views on the question of human rights issues. Enjoying better life conditions is the most fundamental right we are now doing our best to fulfil.
But since an understanding of human rights is one of the most diverse issues not only in this region but also in the world, our task at hand is to make sure the region can reach an approach acceptable to all.
In Vietnam, issues related to human rights can be found in the curriculum of universities and primary and secondary schools. The majority of our students are equipped with an adequate knowledge of this subject.
Asean has also become a very familiar term to every Vietnamese. We all are aware of what Asean means to us in the past, at present and in the future.
Sources and Relevant Links:
Bangkok Post Vietnam takes the helm - Interview with Vietnamese ambassador to Thailand Nguyen Duy Hung 20 February 2010