“Vietnamese bamboo” diplomacy imbued with national identity

Vietnam has built the unique and special diplomacy of the Ho Chi Minh era with strong “Vietnamese bamboo” characters. Like bamboo with strong roots, solid stems and flexible branches, Vietnamese diplomacy is soft and clever but still persistent and resolute; flexible and creative but consistent, valiant and resilient against all challenges and difficulties for the national independence and people’s happiness; united and humanitarian but resolute, persistent and patient in safeguarding national interests.

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong speaks at the first National Conference on Foreign Affairs in Hanoi on December 14. (Photo: VNA)
Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong speaks at the first National Conference on Foreign Affairs in Hanoi on December 14. (Photo: VNA)

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong made the remark at the recently held National Conference on Foreign Affairs. The Party chief underscored that Vietnamese diplomacy is the combination of softness and strength on the foundation of understanding itself and others as well as the situation.

For many generations, the bamboo tree has been an iconic image in the spiritual life of the Vietnamese people. It turned into strength through the image of Saint Giong pulling bamboo to fight foreign invaders... Bamboo has entered legends, history, and poetry with its simple and close appearance in daily life. And it has now been generalised and considered as a characteristic of modern Vietnamese diplomacy.

Looking back at the process of building and defending the country of the ancestors, as well as from the establishment of the State until now, Vietnamese diplomacy is exactly as described by Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong. Patriotism, the spirit of compassion, national unity, self-reliance, resilience against foreign invaders, and peace with other nations have all been cultivated over thousands of years of history.

Today, the consistent implementation of the foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralisation, diversification, and proactive and active international integration for the sake of the nation have helped to open up, expand and deepen relationships with many partners around the world. Since breaking the siege and embargo, Vietnam have created and consolidated more and more firmly an open and favourable external situation for the national renewal and development.

Vietnam has established diplomatic relations with 189 out of 193 United Nations member states; has strategic partnerships and comprehensive partnerships with 30 countries. Vietnam is also a member of more than 70 regional and global multilateral organisations and forums. The Communist Party of Vietnam established relations with 247 political parties in 111 countries. The National Assembly of Vietnam has relations with parliaments and national assemblies of more than 140 countries.

These numbers have partly shown the achievements of the country’s foreign affairs over the years, helping to mobilise external resources to serve socio-economic development, in addition to the resolute and persistent stance in defending the national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.

In each period and situation, diplomacy has its own tasks, with the core being national independence, freedom and the happiness of the people. In the context of the complicated development of the COVID-19 epidemic, the flexible “Vietnamese bamboo” approach to diplomacy has helped the country gain more resources for economic development with vaccine sources having basically met the domestic needs. In parallel, Vietnam has also provided medical and financial aid to over 50 countries and international organisations, clearly demonstrating its responsible role in the international community.

During the 35 years of implementing the Doi Moi (Renewal) process, the world and regional situation has witnessed many complicated and unpredictable developments. Many hostile statements have attempted to distort, incite, oppose, and deny all revolutionary achievements, smearing the image of the country in front of international friends. In that context, “Vietnamese bamboo” diplomacy has continued to show its steadfast and drastic stance through flexible measures, thereby creating and maintaining a peaceful and stable environment, mobilising external resources to develop the country and enhance the position and prestige of the nation in the international arena.

Addressing the 31st Diplomatic Conference, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh affirmed that Vietnam has chosen the great righteousness of the times, which is peace, friendship, cooperation, and development while ensuring the interests of the nation at the highest level. Facing that great mission, the diplomatic sector should uphold its qualities of calm, alertness, wisdom, and bravery to continue to make more miracles and support Vietnam in integrating into the flow of the times. As the Party chief once affirmed “Our country has never enjoyed such fortune, power, international standing, and prestige as it does today”.