Vietnam’s 24 years of ASEAN membership

(VOVWORLD) - July 28, 2019 marked 24 years since Vietnam joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Over the past decades, Vietnam has been an active and responsible member which has a significant influence on ASEAN’s structure, contributing to maintaining unity, peace and security in the region, and the building of a people-centered ASEAN community.

"Thailand has long recognized that ASEAN would not be completed as long as there remains a country in Southeast Asia that is not yet a member. With Vietnam as our latest edition, ASEAN stands to become stronger and more dynamic," Thai Foreign Minister Kasem Kasemsemi told a ceremony for Vietnam’s admission to ASEAN in 1995 in Brunei. 

Vietnam’s 24 years of ASEAN membership - ảnh 1Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Le Hoai Trung (Photo: VOV) 

Breakthrough in integration

Joining ASEAN was a breakthrough in Vietnam’s global integration. Deputy Foreign Minister Le Hoai Trung said: “When Vietnam began the renewal process, we needed favorable international conditions, particularly peace and cooperation, to support socio-economic development. This orientation was stated in resolutions of the 6th and 7th Party Congress and resolution 13 of the Politburo in 1988. Boosting friendly relations and cooperation with other Southeast Asian countries was important in fulfilling this goal.”

Vietnam strongly supported the admission of Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar to ASEAN to realize the dream of a 10-member ASEAN family. Vietnam has become one of the leading contributors to ASEAN’s development. Former New Zealand Ambassador to Vietnam Haike Manning said that Vietnam is an important member of ASEAN. New Zealand recently moved to a strategic partnership with ASEAN, which Vietnam is an important member. It really shows New Zealand's commitment to peace and prosperity in this region.

Creating momentum for integration, raising status

ASEAN created the first playground for Vietnam to speed up its integration and fine-tune laws and policies in line with international standards. Vietnam has strengthened its capacity in handling cross-border issues relating to the environment, natural disasters, diseases, and climate change.

Without experience in ASEAN, it would be difficult for Vietnam to succeed at multilateral cooperative mechanisms. The country has won a non-permanent seat of the UN Security Council for the 2020-2021 term with a record number of votes in favor. 

Vietnam’s increasingly important role in ASEAN serves as a catalysis to raise the country’s values and strengthen its ties with ASEAN’s partners. Former Deputy Prime Minister Vu Khoan said: “Looking back at the past 2 decades, we can say that joining ASEAN was a right decision which has greatly benefited Vietnam. We have raised our status internationally. We have joined many important mechanisms and played an equally important role as powerful countries.” 

As Vietnam takes the rotating ASEAN Chair in 2020, the country will continue to engage in ASEAN to prepare for more effective cooperation in the region.

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