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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   4 January 2013 

Vietnam to focus on strengthening ties with Asean


Foreign relations would continue to play a part in maintaining a peaceful and stable environment for national development in 2013, says Vietnam Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh.

In his New Year interview with Vietnam News Agency, Minh said that external activities would focus on developing relations between Vietnam and its partners in a broader and more effective manner and accelerate the building of the Asean community.

Vietnam would actively participate in regional and international forums to deal with global challenges, he noted.

The minister stressed that by firmly protecting national security and territorial sovereignty and building peaceful and stable borders with neighbouring countries, the country would contribute to maintaining peace, stability, maritime freedom, security and safety in the region.

"We will also promote economic and cultural diplomacy, overseas Vietnamese affairs and the protection of citizens, as well as drastically improve foreign news services," he added.

According to Minh, the Vietnamese Party and State's 2012 external activities were implemented effectively, taking advantage of favourable international conditions for socio-economic development, maintaining national security, defending independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and improving the country's role in the region and the world.

Vietnam's relations with other countries, especially priority partners and traditional friends, were deepened, he said, and 2012 marked the success of both the Vietnam -Laos Friendship and Solidarity Year and the Vietnam - Cambodia Friendship Year.

The first Vietnam - Latin America Trade and Investment Forum was successfully organised in the country, creating momentum for cooperation between Vietnam and the region, Minh said.

The minister hailed Vietnam's proactive international integration in both policymaking and implementation.

He highlighted the active implementation of land border management agreements with China as well as the upgrading of border markers with Laos and border demarcation and marker planting with Cambodia.

Regarding the East Sea dispute, "we relied on a mix of cooperative and defensive measures to resolutely protect the country's sea and island sovereignty," he said.

Minh went on to say that external economic activities helped the country's economic-trade-investment relations with partners and attracted external resources to develop the national economy.

Diplomats fulfilled their task as advisors to the Government in managing and stabilising the macro economy, he said.

External economic activities targeted new markets in Latin America and Africa as well as traditional markets in the Republic of Korea (RoK), Germany, China and Japan, he added.

The minister stated that Vietnamese diplomats actively took part in multilateral and bilateral negotiations for free trade agreements (FTAs) with partners that included the EU and RoK.

"To date, 36 countries have recognised Vietnam as a market economy," he said.

According to Minh, many cultural achievements were recorded in 2012, including UNESCO's recognition of the worship of Hung Kings as an intangible cultural heritage of humankind.

The second conference for Overseas Vietnamese in September was also a success. In a trip to Truong Sa, overseas Vietnamese learned about the Party and State's policies and determination to defend the sea and islands.

2013 is an important transitional year in the 2011-2015 Socio-economic Development Plan. The diplomatic sector would coordinate with other ministries, agencies and localities to accelerate international integration as outlined in the 11th National Party Congress, Minh said.

"With diplomatic efforts and close coordination with other agencies and localities, we will successfully maintain a peaceful and stable environment, creating favourable conditions for national construction and defence," he concluded.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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