Geneva Accords: A Cornerstone of Vietnamese Diplomacy

The Geneva Accords serve as an invaluable guidebook to the Vietnamese school of foreign affairs and diplomacy, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs Bui Thanh Son.

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Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son. Photo: VNA

Marking the 70th Anniversary of the Geneva Accords (21 July 1954 – 21 July 2024), Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son reflects on its significance and the invaluable lessons for Vietnam’s diplomatic endeavors.

What were the outcomes and significance of the 1954 Geneva Conference?

The Geneva Accords was signed on 21 July 1954 after 75 days of intense and complex negotiations.

For the first time in our nation’s history, the fundamental national rights of Vietnam – independence, sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity – were affirmed in an international treaty, acknowledged by the countries participating in the Geneva Conference.

This was the culmination of our people’s struggle under the leadership of the Party during the protracted resistance war against colonialism, culminating in the victory at Dien Bien Phu.

The Geneva Accords, together with the Dien Bien Phu victory, brought an end to nearly 100 years of colonialism in our country, opening a new chapter in our people’s journey towards national liberation and reunification.

The signing of the Geneva Accords not only marked a historic milestone for our nation but also held global significance. It represented a collective triumph for the three Indochina countries and peace-loving people worldwide. This agreement, along with the Dien Bien Phu victory, inspired oppressed peoples to rise up and fight for their national liberation, triggering the decline of colonialism around the world.

In the context of our country’s diplomacy, the Geneva Accords marked the first multilateral international treaty that Vietnam actively participated in negotiating, signing, and implementing.

It not only established Vietnam’s position as an independent and sovereign nation on the international stage but also became a significant milestone in the evolution of Vietnam’s diplomacy, offering valuable lessons for its future endeavors.

What lessons can be drawn from the signing of the Geneva Accords for Vietnamese diplomacy, particularly in our pursuit of a comprehensive, modern diplomacy characterized by the identity of “Vietnamese bamboo”?

The process of negotiating, signing, and implementing the Geneva Accords serves as a valuable guide for Vietnamese foreign policy and diplomacy, which has been passed down, creatively applied, and developed by our Party in subsequent negotiations, signings, and implementations, including the 1973 Paris Peace Accords and our current diplomatic endeavors.

Beyond lessons in principles such as ensuring the Party’s unified and absolute leadership, independence, and autonomy based on national and ethnic interests, the Geneva Accords imparted valuable insights into diplomatic methods and strategies that embody Vietnam’s diplomatic identity.

It taught us to combine our national strength with the strength of the times and link our national solidarity with international solidarity to create “an invincible force”.

Throughout the Geneva Accords negotiations, we consistently sought the support of global citizens for the Vietnamese people’s just struggle.

Throughout the process, we remained steadfast in our principles of peace, national independence, and territorial integrity.

We also demonstrated flexibility and adopted strategies that were responsive to the balance of power and the international and regional context, enabling us to achieve our strategic objectives.

It is a lesson in the value of dialogue and peaceful negotiations for resolving disagreements and conflicts in international relations. This is a crucial lesson, especially in today’s world, where complex conflicts persist.

Deputy Minister of National Defense Ta Quang Buu (seated, right), representing the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and French General Henri Delteil, Acting Commander-in-chief of the French Union forces in Indochina, sign the agreement on the cessation of hostilities in Vietnam. (File photo: VNA)

How do you assess the support, assistance, and solidarity extended by progressive friends around the world to the Vietnamese people during their participation, negotiation, and signing of the Geneva Accords?

Our people’s just struggle for peace, national independence, unity, and territorial integrity resonated with the spirit of the times and the aspirations of progressive people worldwide.

As a result, throughout our journey towards national liberation and reunification, and during the negotiation, signing, and implementation of the Geneva Accords, we consistently received invaluable support, both material and moral, from international friends, including Laos, Cambodia, socialist countries, and peace-loving people around the world.

In the process of Doi Moi (renovation) and the implementation of our Party’s foreign policy, we have continued to benefit from valuable support and cooperation from the international community, based on the principles of equality and mutually beneficial cooperation.

Our Party, State, and people deeply value and will always cherish the support and assistance provided by international friends. At the same time, we remain committed to providing support and making responsible contributions, within our capacity, to the international community’s shared efforts towards peace, independence, democracy, and progress in the world.

Rosie Nguyen