Vietnam & UNSC: Partnership for sustainable peace
Ten years after serving as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for the first time (2008-2009 tenure), Vietnam has been re-elected to the 15-nation body responsible for maintaining international peace and security for the 2020-2021 term with a record high 192 votes out of the total 193 UN member countries.
After 30 years since its admission to the United Nations (UN) in 1977, Vietnam was almost unanimously voted as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2008-2009 term on October 16, 2007 by the UN General Assembly (183 out of 190 votes).
It was the first time that the country had participated in the UN’s most important body on international peace and security, in the context that the UN Security Council was handling a massive workload due to the emergence of many complicated security issues, new global security challenges and the negative impacts of the global financial crisis.
During its two-year tenure, Vietnam made a number of pragmatic and positive contributions, leaving a clear hallmark as well as earning recognition and high appreciation from international friends.
Firstly, Vietnam promptly kept up with the pace of the work, while being actively, proactively and comprehensively engaged in all issues of the UN Security Council, from delivering speeches to joining negotiation and contributing to the building of resolutions and documents. Vietnam served as the Chair and Vice Chair of a number of the Council’s subcommittees and twice assumed the role as the monthly President of the UN Security Council (July 2008 and October 2009). In addition, Vietnam was involved in devising the Annual Report on the Council’s work, as well as chairing the compilation and negotiations to help the UN Security Council adopt a resolution on women, peace and security.
Throughout the term, Vietnam effectively implemented a peace-loving foreign policy, actively contributed to resolving conflicts and crises around the world, supported solutions through peaceful talks and restricted sanctions (such as the nuclear issues of Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), on the basis of international law and the principles of the UN Charter, and worked to ensure basic national rights (such as in the Zimbabwe and Myanmar issues), thereby contributing to world peace and security in general, and ensuring a secure environment to facilitate the cause of national industrialisation and modernisation.
Besides, Vietnam’s participation and voting at the UN Security Council on the issues of protesting wars, disarmament, countering terrorism, restricting the application of sanctions, contributing to the protection of independence and sovereignty, and repelling conspiracies to abuse democracy and human rights to make interventions, have contributed to ensuring its principle stance was met as well as the national interests.
Particularly, the maintenance of regular exchanges and consultations with the Council’s member nations at all levels helped Vietnam properly handle its relations with powers, countries with related interests and traditional friends, thus creating straightforward and reliable cooperative relations.
To date, Vietnam has established diplomatic ties with 187 countries and fostered economic and trade links with 224 countries and territories. Vietnam is also a member of more than 60 international organisations, including the United Nations, World Trade Organisation (WTO), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
As a trusted partner of the international community, Vietnam has also established comprehensive and strategic partnerships with 25 countries, while participating in 16 free trade agreements (FTAs), both already signed or currently under negotiation, with 58 partners in Asia, Europe, America and the Middle East.
Vietnam’s operations at the UN Security Council, the world’s largest multilateral platform, have contributed to enhancing the country’s image and position and promoting bilateral relations, thereby showing strong belief in international integration.
The UN Secretary-General, leaders of many countries, especially powers, important partners, and countries in the region have highly appreciated Vietnam’s contributions at the UN Security Council and hope that Vietnam will play a bigger role on regional and international issues. Non-aligned and developing nations have also applauded Vietnam’s significant efforts to promote the role and voice of nonalignment at the UN.
Vietnam’s performance at the UN Security Council helps to strengthen the country’s position in the international arena.
“Vietnam’s performance at the UN Security Council not only helps to strengthen the country’s position in the international arena, but also contributes to bringing its bilateral relations with countries into depth, opening up opportunities for investment, trade and new markets in many countries and regions,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.
Remarking on Vietnam’s successful assumption of the role as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2008-2009 term, Ambassador-Head of the Japanese delegation to the United Nations Koro Bessho said: “Vietnam has long-standing history, having undergone resistance wars and attaining spectacular achievement in peace building and economic development. Those experiences have created a status for Vietnam, allowing the country to provide effective advice and contributions in many issues discussed at the UN Security Council. Japan always expects Vietnam to help convey the views of the Asia-Pacific region to the Council’s agendas”.
Immediately after the end of the 2008-2009 term, Vietnam got down to preparing for its bid to run for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for 2020-2021. Vietnam’s candidacy for the Council for the second time continues to affirm the country’s policy to become an active and a reliable member as well as a responsible partner in the international community. At the same time, it offers a good chance for Vietnam to raise its constructive voice at a mechanism of strategic importance to international peace and security, thus contributing to ensuring peace, stability and development in the region and all over the world.
The above results together with Vietnam successfully taking on the role of non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2008-2009 term, especially the first time Vietnam sent forces to participate in UN peacekeeping activities in June 2014 and a second-class field hospital to South Sudan in 2018 has helped countries to see Vietnam as an active and responsible member who always want to contribute to the UN, while promoting the role of the UN and multilateral institutions, particularly in maintaining international peace and security.
This also helps Vietnam to have more advantages to further promote Vietnam's role in the UN in order to carry out its task on foreign affairs to maintain a peaceful environment and create favourable international conditions for the national construction, development and defence. With the right foreign policy as mentioned above, together with the efforts and experiences accumulated in multilateral diplomatic activities for many years and with the support and cooperation of other countries, Vietnam will have a favourable basis to fulfil the role of a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council during its term, meeting the trust and support of countries for Vietnam, especially when Vietnam takes the chair of the ASEAN in 2020.
At the same time with taking the ASEAN’s chair role in 2020, Vietnam being elected to the non-permanent member of the UN Security Council has reflected the country’s new position after over 30 years of Doi Moi (innovation), showing high trust, proactive and positive contribution of Vietnam to regional and international peace and security.
Peace is always the biggest concern of the international community, which is also the top task of the UN. The UN Security Council is assigned the leading function and responsibility in international peace and security. At the moment, the meaning of peace and sustainability is even more important, not only peace but also sustainable peace in many areas.
Vietnam has experience and favourable conditions to contribute to the international community to preserve this value. First of all, Vietnam is a country with a desire for peace and a nation that has gone through many challenges under resistant wars, so there is also a strong desire to prevent war and conflict. Besides, Vietnam's view on major international issues related to peace is in line with international law. Its foreign policy also has a clear peaceful goal and wants to play an active, responsible role in the international community.
It can be said that the biggest difficulty for Vietnam is that the international situation is changing a lot. Although peace, cooperation and development are still the main trends, the situation in many areas are still very complicated. Moreover, there are changes in the UN Security Council agenda, so Vietnam also needs to improve its capacity first in the UN Security Council. In the new situation, with its new position, Vietnam is facing the expectation of better promoting the role of a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council during 2020-2021, contributing more and more effectively to the council’s work, addressing common challenges, meeting the common expectations of the international community. This is both an honour and a heavy responsibility for Vietnam in the next two years.
Being elected as a member of the UN Security Council is a huge responsibility and Vietnam will have to prepare a lot. Currently, Vietnam has many advantages, but it also has to prepare carefully, from lessons learned from the previous term. A big issue is on capturing the content, agenda and new and complex movements of the world and the region, as well as stance points, motto of conduct and consultations at the Security Council. In addition, it is a story of promoting Vietnam’s position, initiative and recommendations to contribute to the UN and show its high responsibility. In parallel, Vietnam needs to prepare for the apparatus, human resources, information mechanism, coordination and direction.
During its new tenure, although it is a challenge, Vietnam is in a much better position, as the country is on the way up in terms of development and integration. At the UN, Vietnam has always been highly appreciated for its aspirations for peace and development, as well as for its foreign policy, its responsibility and contribution, along with experience in dealing with post-war consequences, poverty reduction, implementing the millennium and sustainable development goals, as well as expanding relations with countries, including former enemies.
For Vietnam, it is important to show its responsibility and contribution to the UN, that is to insist on peaceful foreign relations and responsibility for the world’s peace and security, abiding by the principles of the UN Charter, including respect for sovereignty, promoting dialogue and resolving disputes by peace measures, taking into account the interests of stakeholders.
With the experience during the 2008-2009 term and in international activities, including events organised by Vietnam, with the most recently the DPRK-US Summit, Vietnam will certainly fulfil its responsibilities entrusted by the international community.
During a session at the UN General Assembly in New York on June 7 morning (local time), Vietnam was nearly unanimously voted as a non-permanent member of the UNSC for the 2020-2021 tenure, winning 192 votes of the total 193 UN member countries.
The near-unanimous approval has shown that Vietnam’s active, pragmatic and responsible contributions to the UN as a whole and the UNSC in particular over the past years have been recognised by the international community.
Immediately after the election results were announced, representatives from other UN member countries and territories were quick to congratulate Vietnam on being elected to the 15-nation body responsible for maintaining international peace and security.
In his message delivered after the country’s UNSC non-permanent membership triumph, Party General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong extended his sincere and deep appreciation to the UN member countries for supporting and trusting Vietnam to hold such an important position for the second time, hailing it as the international community’s recognition of the role and contributions of Vietnam in regional and international affairs.
Vietnam will spare no effort to fulfill the mission of a non-permanent member of the UNSC, deserving to be a reliable partner for sustainable peace.
He affirmed that Vietnam will spare no effort to fulfill the mission of a non-permanent member of the UNSC, deserving to be a reliable partner for sustainable peace.
Vietnam has already been and will continue to implement its consistent foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralisation and diversification of external relations, and active and responsible international integration, the leader said.
Vietnam will continue to be a reliable partner and a responsible member of the international community, promote compliance with the UN Charter and international law, thus actively contributing to global efforts for peace, cooperation and development, Party General Secretary and President Trong emphasised.
According to, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, Vietnam’s highest priority during its term as a non-permanent member of the UNSC for 2020-2021 would be promoting multilateralism and compliance with international law in addressing global challenges regarding peace and security.
“Participating in the UN also means that we seek to contribute our part to maintaining peace and stability in the region and the world at large that is conducive to the country’s own development,” the Deputy PM said.
Vietnam’s candidature to the highest subcommittee of the UN reflects its desire to contribute to one of the world’s most urgent matter, which is to maintain peace, stability and security.
The upcoming term in 2020-2021 will be the second after Vietnam’s very first stint in the UNSC in 2008-2009. Vietnam’s contributions and performance of the duties during the first time serving on the council have been widely recognised and appreciated, which certainly helped the nation obtain high confidence from other countries as Vietnam ran for the position for the second time, demonstrated by the landslide vote.
However, the main challenges facing Vietnam as it assumes the role on the UNSC is that of how to contribute to make the five permanent and the ten non-permanent members coordinate and cooperate effectively to address issues of concern, while making sure that any issue put before the council, in the best case scenario, receives unanimity. Vietnam’s duty is to connect the members of the council to build consensus at the highest level. There are also issues that may force council members to take a stance, which means that Vietnam will need to be careful in its deliberations to arrive at a suitable decision.
Vietnam is ready to successfully undertake the role of a UNSC non-permanent member for the 2020-2021 term, towards becoming an “ambassador” for sustainable peace.
In 2020, Vietnam will also assume the rotating Chairmanship of the ASEAN and it will seek to further enhance the cooperation between the UN, or the UNSC, with regional organisations, including ASEAN. This is also high on the UN’s agenda so when Vietnam takes the leadership of ASEAN in 2020, the country will be in a great position to push for the fulfilment of this goal.
Sharing the same viewpoint, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc has said during the first year of serving as a UNSC non-permanent member, Vietnam will also take over the role as the ASEAN Chair 2020, enabling the country to boost ties between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations, including the ASEAN.
Being elected as a member of the UN’s leading agency in maintaining peace and international security in its second term in more than 10 years is not only a recognition of the international community for Vietnam's position during its innovation and integration, but also a trust and expectation of Vietnam's contribution to regional and international peace and security in the coming years, PM Phuc added.
Participating in the UN also means that we seek to contribute our part to maintaining peace and stability in the region and the world at large that is conducive to the country’s own development.
The PM expressed his belief that with the experience gained during the 2008-2009 tenure, Vietnam is ready to successfully undertake the role of a UNSC non-permanent member for the 2020-2021 term, towards becoming an “ambassador” for sustainable peace.