Ambassador Vu Dang Dung, Head of the Vietnamese permanent delegation to ASEAN. Photo: VNA
Reporter: Your Excellency, could you talk about the opportunities and challenges posed for Vietnam when the ASEAN Community is established in late 2015?
Ambassador: The formation of the ASEAN Community will bring both opportunities for development in politics-security, economics and culture-society and challenges for Vietnam and the other members of the bloc. There have been many articles analysing this issue, however, I only want to mention three “major preparations”.
The first crucial preparation is the awareness that is a common issue of ASEAN members. For Vietnam, it is more necessary to have the right awareness about the ASEAN Community, avoid having high expectations of and underestimating. Therefore, Vietnam needs to make relevant and specific preparations to be able to take full advantage of opportunities and respond to challenges following the community’s establishment in late 2015.
According to some surveys conducted by the ASEAN Secretariat, the majority of small- and medium-sized enterprises in Vietnam have not accessed information on opportunities to be generated by the ASEAN Community. To solve this issue, ASEAN has mapped out a master plan on ASEAN communication to create a framework and orientations for devising and carrying out communication campaigns and activities to celebrate the ASEAN Community this year. Vietnam has also set up many plans to popularise the ASEAN Community and it is expected that these plans will be implemented effectively to expand public awareness of the resulting benefits.
The second major preparation is to enhance the capacity of the economy and the business circle, as well as each official and person. In comparison with the time when Vietnam joined ASEAN in 1995, Vietnam’s position and capacity is now more enhanced and has seen a big leap. However, there is still a substantial development gap between Vietnam and other countries in the region, which is reflected in a low ranking in labour productivity, creativity and human resources quality (27.2 points out of the total 100 points), and the remarkable difference in per capita income (1,908 dollars in Vietnam as against 3,837 USD for ASEAN as a whole).The development gap limits Vietnam’s capacity to fully exploit benefits from the regional economic connectivity and its contributions to ASEAN strategic initiatives and cooperation.
Thirdly, in terms of the legal system and mechanism, the process of cooperation over the years has showed that the country needs to modify its legal regulations to improve compatibility with those of other ASEAN countries, creating equal opportunities for Vietnamese businesses and people to benefit from the regional links, including prices, quality of goods, education, and health services.
The “ASEAN Great Unity Days – One Vision, One Identity, One Community.” Photo: Thanh Ha/VNA
Delegates attend the workshop themed
“Towards the ASEAN Community 2015: The view of member states”. Photo: An Dang – VNA
The 4th ASEAN Chief Justices’ Roundtable Meeting. Photo: Doan Tan/VNA
Defence Minister Phung Quang Thanh and the ASEAN Chiefs of Army in Hanoi. Photo: Trong Duc/VNA
Vietnam promotes administrative reform for better integration. Photo: Tran Le Lam/VNA
Vietnamese enterprises pay much attention to their products’ quality to improve their competitiveness.
Photo: Duc Hoa/VNA
Reporter: The formation of ASEAN Community in 2015 and the building of post-2015 ASEAN Community Vision require more contributions of members. What are Vietnam’s priorities in ASEAN activities this year?
Ambassador: This year, Vietnam will celebrate the 20th anniversary of joining ASEAN. Despites initial difficulties, Vietnam has become more proactive and made a great contribution to common activities of ASEAN with much responsibility which is appreciated by other countries. Vietnam is ranked in the list of countries adequately implementing programmes and economic link measures of ASEAN. Vietnam’s top task will be to work closely with other ASEAN member nations to realise the target of establishing the ASEAN Community by December 31, 2015, especially completing programmes in the roadmap of building the ASEAN Community in the 2009-2015 period and bring practical benefits to people and businesses.
Additionally, Vietnam will join with other regional countries to design a post-2015 ASEAN Development Vision, contributing to bolstering links within the bloc. Regarding peace and security, Vietnam will continue consolidating and enhancing the role of ASEAN in maintaining peace and security in the region, including peace, stability, security and safety in the East Sea.
In terms of a mechanism framework, Vietnam will actively promote innovation, improve the operational effectiveness of ASEAN organisational apparatus and strengthen the capacity of the ASEAN Secretariat. At the same time, the country will work to promote and deepen the bloc’s relations with existing counterparts as well as establish diverse ties with new potential partners.
Within the framework of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) to ASEAN, of which the Vietnamese permanent delegation to ASEAN is a member, Vietnam and other countries will continue making great effort to fulfill priorities set in 2015, bringing into full play the regional coordination role of CPR and building cooperation and relations with agencies of three major pillars of politics-security, economics and culture-society to support the cause of building the ASEAN Community, developing relations and improving the ASEAN organisational apparatus and increasing the operational effectiveness of the ASEAN Secretariat.
Reporter: Thank you very much!