People-to-people diplomacy 2018: Fundamental sentiment from international friends is still basic goal

In 2018, the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO) faced many big tasks such as summing up up the 10-year implementation of Directive No. 28-CT / TW dated on December 2nd, 2008 of the 10th Party Central Committee on enhancing the VUFO's efficiency; and holding the 6th National Congress, etc. On the occasion of welcoming the new year 2018, the Vietnam Times interviewed Don Tuan Phong, VUFO Vice President in-charge cum Secretary General on the results of the work of the last year's people-to-people diplomacy and solutions to complete this year’s plan.

(VNF) - On the occasion of welcoming the new year 2018, the Vietnam Times interviewed Don Tuan Phong,VUFO Vice President in-charge cum Secretary General on the last year's people-to-people diplomacy and solutions to complete this year’s plan.

People-to-people diplomacy 2018: Fundamental sentiment from international friends is still basic goal

Don Tuan Phong, VUFO Vice President in-charge cum Secretary General. (Photo: VNF)

Q: What’s your assessment of the people-to-people diplomatic work in 2018?

A: In my opinion, the most important people-to-people diplomatic activity in 2017 is the cooperation with neighboring countries. Last year was a special year in Vietnam’s relations with neighbouring Laos and Cambodia. We have commemorated the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and and 40 years of the Vietnam-Laos Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation, as well as 50 years of establishing diplomatic relations with Cambodia. Many meaningful and practical activities have been organised on this occasion such as coming back the ancient battlefield; visiting Vietnamese soldiers, experts, and volunteers. The Vietnam - Laos and the Vietnam - Cambodia Friendship Associations have organised a number of activities, including the 4th Vietnam - Laos People’s Friendship Festival in Laos; Vietnam-Cambodia Friendship and People-to-People Cooperation Meeting in Vietnam; issueing publications and specialties on the Vietnam-Laos and Vietnam - Cambodia friendship relations, etc.

With China, we have organised many activities from the beginning of 2017 to the end of the year. On bilateral relations, we have implemented activities with VUFO partners and the Vietnam-China Friendship Association. At the same time, we also actively participate in multilateral forums such as forums between China and ASEAN. In particular, VUFO and its partners, the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), signed a cooperation agreement between 2017 and 2022, strengthening mutual people-to-people diplomatic activities; promoting traditional friendship in the coming time. The two sides also successfully organised the ninth Vietnam-China People’s Forum in Hanoi.

The most important and prominent event in 2017 in VUFO's Vietnam-China relationship was the successful inauguration ceremony and the handover of the Vietnam-China Friendship Palace with the attendance of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, President Xi Jinping and Poliburo Member, Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, leaders of various sectors, departments, ministers and a large number of Chinese and Vietnamese scholars, businesses and students.

People-to-people diplomacy 2018: Fundamental sentiment from international friends is still basic goal

General Secretary of CPC, President Xi Jinping hands over the symbolic key to NA Chair Woman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan. (Photo: VNF/Quang Viet)

Q: From your points of view, what do these achievements mean in terms of the role of the people-to-people diplomacy in the common Vietnam’s foreign policy?

Vietnam always attaches importance to developing fine relations with neighboring and regional countries. Relations with our neighbors are at the center of our foreign policy. Therefore, this is a priority in the operation of VUFO. These activities implemented in 2017 have laid a solid foundation for cooperation in the coming years. Our friendly relations with our neighboring countries have been greatly enhanced in last year. It can be said that the support and concern of the two senior leaders have also created favorable conditions for VUFO’s member organisations with their counterparts in neighboring countries, not only in the immediate period but also in the future.

Q: What are the lessons learned from the achievement of people-to-people diplomacy in 2017?

In fact, we have deployed the people-to-people diplomacy closely under the motto of the Party and President Ho Chi Minh's thought. The lesson learned is the lesson of taking advantage of the international solidarity for the Vietnamese revolution; using Vietnamese people’s desire for peace and friendship, fidelity and deep humanism to make peace with enemies; and combining the national strength with the power of the times. As for experience:

Firstly, in the work of external information, we have made use of updated technology to help foreign friends and partners understand Vietnam’s situation exactly, the development of all aspects, the challenges that we have to overcome, especially requirements in the defense of national construction in the new situation.

Secondly, it can be seen that, before, we have had traditional friends. Currently, they are all elderly and retired people so the work of the people-to-people diplomacy in the coming time must create an active environment to attract a variety of participants, and most important, the young people.

Next, we need to persify the partnership. In addition to traditional partners, businesses in Vietnam, travelers, writers, researchers, scientists, we need to create favorable conditions for those who are interested in Vietnam to understand more about Vietnam.

I think that the people's external affairs today must learn from the yesterday’s experience. The national history of struggles against foreign aggression has offered valuable lessons and induced humanism into Vietnam’s fine traditions and diplomacy. I think all those who have the opportunity to come to Vietnam will love our country more. Perhaps, because of Vietnam's geopolitical position, our country must always fight against much more powerful enemies. Therefore, we need the solidarity of international friends. Consistency and loyalty will maintain solidarity and create persuasion. Skills in foreign affairs and foreign languages as well as professional knowledge must be further enhanced.

Q: Could you share the biggest goal of the 2018 people-to-people diplomacy‘s work?

In 2018, VUFO will sum up 10 years implementation of Directive 28 / CT-TW by the Party Central Committee on renewing and enhancing the effectiveness of the work of the People's Council in general and VUFO in particular. Directive 28 sets out the guidelines and motto of VUFO. Therefore, the 10-year review should consider the aspects have been and have not been achieved in the past and direction in the coming time with the new requirements. At the same time, VUFO will hold the Sixth National Congress, the 2018-2023 term. These are not purely tasks and events that will, in fact, determine the content and strategic direction of VUFO and its member organisations in the coming years and especially during the new term for next five years. It can be said that this is the highest priority in 2018 that VUFO and its member organisations have to perform well.

Regard the foreign external’s work in both the bilateral and multilateral aspects, there are many objectives and different contents. It is difficult to say what is the highest priority, but it will certainly continue to implement the activities of the People's Democratic Party with greater attention to our neighboring countries, ASEAN members, and countries with strategic and comprehensive partnerships. Especially, in 2018, we will celebrate the 45th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations with many countries, which is the occasion for the people-to-people diplomacy to bring into play its role.

Q: What's your expectations of objectives set in 2018?

I think that with the concern of the Party and the State, with the efforts of the officials and staff working in the field of people-to-people relations and especially the efforts of all VUFO staff, the key tasks in 2018 will be feasible. If these basic objectives are met, the VUFO platform for the implementation of the people-to-people diplomatic work in the coming years will be fundamentally well defined.

The basic goals of the people-to-people diplomacy remain unchanged, which is people from all over the world, even our enemies in the past. The greater the solidarity of the international community, the greater the chance for us to build and defend our country.


VUFO's mission to overseas Vietnamese has been stated in the Directive 04-CT / TW and Directive 28 / CT-TW of the Secretariat of the Party Central Committee. With overseas Vietnamese, in 2018, VUFO will build a mechanism to connect with overseas Vietnamese and support Vietnamese organisations abroad, including people's organisations, associations, NGOs and businesses of overseas Vietnamese, associations by country and by region.

VUFO's communication plan will be a pioneer to connect with overseas Vietnamese, combined with a cultural approach. It is expected that we will propagate the traditional culture as a highlight in the connection with overseas Vietnamese. VUFO’s external information channels will have sections specialised for Vietnamese overseas with different backgrounds. VUFO will choose different approaches to each area, each region and each group.


In 2017, four provinces have been set up local unions including Binh Phuoc, Tay Ninh, Hoa Binh and Son La. Thus, by the end of 2017, VUFO has 65 member organisations at the central level (including 58 bilateral friendship associations, two regional friendship and cooperation organisations, four multilateral organisations) and 52 branch friendship organisations in localities. The total number of member organisations is now 117 (an increase of 20 organisations compared to prior to the forthcoming Directive 04-CT / TW) with thousands of partners in continents. In spite of difficulties, especially in terms of policy mechanism, most of local unions and member organisations have implemented the motto of active, flexible, creative and effective in implementing people's foreign affairs activities in the localities. In many provinces, the Union of Friendship not only performs its foreign policy tasks, maintains relations with international friends but actively participates in foreign non-governmental affairs, contributing significantly in mobilising resources for local socio-economic development. Some localities continue to maintain good relations with Embassies, Consulates General and international partners. In particular, some local unions have actively linked foreign enterprises operating in the area; not only care about their lives but also create forums, playgrounds and information channels for foreigners working in enterprises. Some local unions, especially in border provinces, have made active contributions in building and maintaining a peaceful borderline by promoting cross-border people-to-peole relations at the grassroots level; supporting border areas; especially solving some urgent economic and social needs. For example, assisting the poor along the border through free health care and housing programs./.

Translated by Chau Pham

Phiên bản di động