Milestone in APEC history

Tuesday, 2018-01-02 18:58:00
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Permanent Deputy Foreign Minister and Chair of the Asia – Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2017 SOM, Bui Thanh Son (credit: Tien Tuan)
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NDO - Permanent Deputy Foreign Minister and Chair of the Asia – Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2017 SOM, Bui Thanh Son granted an interview to Nhan Dan reporter Hong Hanh on the success of the APEC Vietnam 2017 and the development of the Vietnam multilateral diplomacy.

Q: The Vietnam APEC Year 2017 was very successful which recognised many records of the host Vietnam. Would you please point out some highlights of APEC 2017?

A: Amid unpredicted developments in the region and the world, Vietnam successfully took the role of chairmanship and host of APEC 2017. Over the nearly 30-year history of APEC, there has never been such a strong suspicion of APEC's core values, including trade and investment liberalisation, globalisation, and multilateral trade system. In addition, the internal politics and policies of many APEC key members are currently being adjusted.

In the context of "fire proves gold, adversity proves men", Vietnam proved its spirit, intellect and ability to lead the APEC Year 2017 to a success conclusion in terms of the three aspects of content, organisation and participation. APEC Vietnam 2017 left a mark in the history of APEC, particularly creating good impressions on international partners and friends.

In terms of content, Vietnam demonstrated the great progress in multilateral diplomacy with its initiation of ideas, the mobilisation of support, the reconciliation of differences and the creation of a consensus. APEC Year 2017, particularly the APEC Economic Leaders' Week, was successful with two documents including the Da Nang Declaration and the Joint Statement of the APEC Ministerial Meeting, in addition to six other major documents in various areas of cooperation, contributing to creating the motivation for growth and affirming that cooperation and connectivity continue to be the main trend of the region.

For the first time, the declaration of APEC leaders was adopted with two appendices, which represented most of Vietnam's initiatives. Many APEC members and the APEC Secretariat affirmed that the results of the APEC 2017 created an impact beyond the region, promoting global economic integration and multilateralism, as well as the role of the multilateral trading system.

In terms of organisation, Vietnam held 243 meetings, including the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting and eight ministerial meetings in 10 provinces and cities across the country. This can be considered as a "record" compared to other international events hosted by Vietnam, such as APEC Year 2006 and ASEAN Year 2010.
The APEC Economic Leaders' Week demonstrated the capacity of the organisational apparatus and the consensus of the people and localities as for the first time Vietnam held an international multilateral event in a central city amid obstacles caused by storms and floods. We had prepared carefully in order to welcome all leaders of the 21 APEC economies and four leaders of APEC's key economies to Vietnam, contributing to lifting the relationship of Vietnam with its partners.

We also achieved impressive numbers. Ten cities nationwide hosted the APEC events, welcoming about 21,000 people, including roughly 11,000 people that attended the APEC Week in Da Nang. In particular, this was the second time over the past 10 years that the APEC Summit brought together the full participation of all 21 leaders and representatives at the highest level from APEC economies.

The APEC CEO Summit and Vietnam Business Summit attracted the participation of a total of 4,000 business representatives, including many of the world's leading enterprises. These were unprecedented large-scale events in the history of APEC, as well as in the Vietnamese business community.

Regarding the media, APEC Year 2017 witnessed around 4,000 foreign correspondents and the APEC Summit Week alone welcomed 2,800 local and international media reporters which demonstrated the status of Vietnam, as well as the great interest of the world in Vietnam.

With the success of the APEC Year 2017, the international community all recognised Vietnam's new international status. This is a dynamic and innovative Vietnam which is deeply integrating into the world and is a proactive and responsible member of APEC, contributing to the common interests of APEC and to "building and shaping multilateral institutions" for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Asia-Pacific.

Q: After a year of running and directing more than 240 APEC activities, can you please tell us your deepest and most memorable memories?

A: I remember my personal feelings and the feelings of the entire Vietnamese delegation when the 21st APEC Summit in Bali, Indonesia in 2013 agreed to support Vietnam as the host of APEC Year 2017.

As one of the youngest forum members, we were extremely proud to take on this heavy responsibility for the second time which showed the trust of our international friends and partners to Vietnam and the demonstration of Vietnam's international prestige and status. Besides the pride, there were also great concerns about how to successfully organise the APEC activities in order to demonstrate Vietnam's active contributions to the region's interests and to create a Vietnamese identity through this event.

The most impressive and emotional event was the APEC 2017 Summit Week in Da Nang. Following was the feeling of happiness and pride when President Tran Dai Quang announced that the APEC leaders had adopted the Da Nang Declaration "Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future". Thus, after 243 activities during the APEC Year including eight ministerial meetings and dialogues and six days and five nights of negotiations, we had achieved success.

During the bilateral exchanges and meetings with Vietnamese leaders, leaders of APEC economies and other partners all appreciated the organisation, as well as the executive role of Vietnam.

The strong message in the Da Nang Declaration on the promotion of trade and investment liberalisation and the support of the multilateral trading system once again affirmed APEC's key role as a driving force for economic growth, the origin of economic integration initiatives and the region's leading economic cooperation mechanism.

Thank you very much!