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Vietnamese ambassador runs for re-election to Inter national Law Commission

February 26, 2021 | 10:39

Vietnam's permanent missions to the United Nations (UN) in New York and Geneva have recently sent diplomatic notes to the UN and countries informing the candidacy of Ambassador Nguyen Hong Thao to the International Law Commission (ILC) for the 2023-2027 tenure, marking the official start of the Vietnamese candidate's campaign for re-election to the UN’s important law organ.

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Ambassador Nguyen Hong Thao (Photo: VNA)

In 2016, Ambassador Thao became the first Vietnamese to be elected as an ILC member. During the 2017-2022 tenure, he actively promoted ILC’s research results, delivered speeches and joined discussions at the ILC.

He also helped express developing nations’ interest in new and non-traditional topics, and actively joined in discussions on topics such as protection of the atmosphere and environmental protection in armed conflicts. Most notably, he strongly supported the ILC’s research on rising seawater level and the addition of the issue to the committee's long-term working agenda.

With an in-depth knowledge about laws on the sea and the environment, he made significant contributions to the first report of the research group on rising sea level in relation to international law last year.

Apart from valuable professional contributions, Thao also played a role in fostering connections and ties among ILC members to promote exchange between legal researchers and practitioners of international law at home and abroad. He was also speakers at many universities and prestigious seminars in the region. In 2018, he was elected as the second Vice Chairman of the ILC on the occasion of its 70th founding anniversary.

With dedication to the progress of international law, he was nominated for a seat at the ILC for the 2023-2027 tenure, becoming one of the 10 candidates of the Asia-Pacific. The ILC election will take place in New York in November 2021.

Ambassador Thao is a senior Vietnamese diplomat with 40 years of experience. He earned a doctorate degree on law from the University of Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne and is now also teaching international law at the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, as reported by VNA.

Earlier in January, US President Joe Biden named Dat Tran, a Vietnamese American, to immediately take the helm of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Tran, the principal deputy assistant secretary for the VA’s Office of Enterprise Integration, will lead the VA until the Senate confirms Biden’s nominee for VA secretary. Biden chose Denis McDonough, a longtime aide of former President Barack Obama, to lead the department, according to Stars and Stripes.

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Dat Tran, the VA's principal deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Enterprise Integration, will lead the agency until the Senate confirms President Joe Biden’s nominee for VA secretary. (Photo: Stars and Stripes)

Tran immediately replaces former VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, who held the position since July 2018.

It’s uncertain how long Tran might hold the post of acting secretary. The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee scheduled McDonough’s confirmation hearing for Jan. 27.

Tran, has served at VA for the last 13 years, including roles leading the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics and the department’s Office of the Actuary. Before coming to the VA, Tran worked as a staff member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee from 1995 to 2001.

Tran is one of only a few holdovers from President Donald Trump’s administration, even on a temporary basis. Former VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, acting VA Deputy Secretary Pamela Powers and several other senior leaders were not asked to stay on in a transition role as their replacements await their official start dates, as reported by Military Times.

Biden’s administration on that day also announced 12 other people who would serve in acting positions until the new president’s political appointees are confirmed and sworn in. Carolyn Clancy, the assistant under secretary for health, discovery, education and affiliate networks, will take the second-highest position at the VA and become the acting deputy secretary. Thomas Murphy, the director of the northeast district of the Veterans Benefits Administration, will take over as acting under secretary for benefits.

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Jasmine Le