Vietnam’s 5 outstanding contributions to the common roof of ASEAN
admin 9-08-2020, 10:58

Vietnam’s 5 outstanding contributions to the common roof of ASEAN

Assoc.Prof.Dr. Nguyen Huy Hoang, Director of the Institute for Southeast Asian Studies. Photo: Le Quan

According to Assoc. Nguyen Huy Hoang, Director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences), Vietnam’s contribution to ASEAN (and from December 31, 2015 as the ASEAN Community) in recent years greatly appreciated. In particular, when the Covid-19 translation has spread from the beginning of the year until now when Vietnam is the rotating chair of ASEAN, scholars have highly appreciated Vietnam’s contributions to ASEAN as ASEAN Chair in 2020.

In general, the contributions of Vietnam during the 25 years of Vietnam’s accession to ASEAN can be generalized into five main points.

Firstly, since becoming a member, Vietnam has been very active in giving directions and decisions for ASEAN development. Although only joining ASEAN for 3 years, in 1998, Vietnam successfully organized the 6th ASEAN Summit. The meeting introduced the Hanoi Plan of Action with very important contents, laying the foundation for the formulation and implementation of the Vision 2020, creating a foundation for the future establishment of the ASEAN Community.

In the years before 2007, ASEAN cooperated mainly based on political commitments and declarations and did not have a legal basis to link member countries. In the development process, by the end of 2007, ASEAN adopted the ASEAN Charter, which includes the roles and contributions of Vietnam.

The development and perfection of ASEAN are also marked by Vietnam. Especially after joining ASEAN in 1995, Vietnam has become a model that makes Indochina and mainland Southeast Asian countries “impatient” and want to join ASEAN. Inspired by Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos joined ASEAN in 1997, and in 1999 ASEAN welcomed a new member, Cambodia. It can be said that, behind the joining of ASEAN of these three countries, there is a leading, inspiring and promoting role from the Vietnamese side.

Second, Vietnam has shown a very positive attitude in its responsible role, especially successfully taking on rotating tasks. The first is the successful organization of the 6th ASEAN Summit after just 3 years of joining ASEAN. Although there was no goal of building an ASEAN Community at that time, but conceiving of an ASEAN community idea played a huge role in Vietnam.

Vietnam performed well as the Chair of ASEAN in 2010 with many initiatives launched at that time. By the term of ASEAN President in 2020 – when the region and the world are raged by the Covid-19 epidemic, Vietnam has successfully performed the role of president and hosted the special online ASEAN Summit on In response to the Covid-19 epidemic in June, previously held the ASEAN Health Officials Conference with the participation of health officials from the US and other countries and many other events within ASEAN.

Not only that, Vietnam became a model against Covid-19 when it was a country that successfully controlled the epidemic. As the host country, Vietnam has shared a lot of information and experiences, exchanged and found solutions, and shared medical supplies with ASEAN member countries in the prevention of the covid pandemic 19. The impact is very important and significant for Southeast Asia, because this is the area close to China – where the first pandemic broke out in the world, but Southeast Asia is not a badly affected area most by epidemics, which are Europe, France, Italy, America, Latin America and Brazil.

Third, Vietnam participates in proposing many practical cooperation initiatives aimed at the people. When ASEAN conceived of building an ASEAN Community, the original idea focused on only two pillars: Security – Politics and Economy, and the Cultural – Social pillar was conceived later. The proposed socio-cultural pillars make an important contribution from Vietnam so that when we build a community, we have 3 main pillars today. In addition, Vietnam also proposed many initiatives on social welfare, education, health and engaging the people of ASEAN in the implementation of its commitments to building a Socio-Cultural Community.

Fourth, 25 years of accompanying and sticking with ASEAN is the process of recognizing that Vietnam is proactive in regional economic integration. Before the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) was established, ASEAN established a Free Trade Area (AFTA) through which tariff reductions were carried out towards an ASEAN without tariff barriers, towards realizing commitments to economic integration in a comprehensive way.

Up to now, Vietnam is one of the two member countries with the highest rate of commitments (after Singapore), implementing over 95.5% of commitments in the AEC master plan. This shows that Vietnam – a post-integration country, is the 7th member country to join ASEAN, from a poor country and low per capita income at the time of accession, but Vietnam was able to is now a responsible member of ASEAN. Joining ASEAN, this organization becomes a launch pad for Vietnam to deeply integrate into the world economy, contributing to economic growth and development to become a middle-income country with a certain position in region and around the world.

Vietnam’s fifth outstanding contribution to the ASEAN shared roof is the promotion of joint cooperation. ASEAN is considered to have a central and important role in regional cooperation mechanisms and structures, not only in East Asia but also in the Asia-Pacific. Currently, in the US-initiated cooperation mechanism, the Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy and other mechanisms, Vietnam always shows an active role in participating in and promoting processing this cooperation.

Among most regional cooperation mechanisms, Vietnam is one of the first member states to actively participate and take initiatives to promote, because more than anyone, Vietnam wants multilateral cooperation mechanisms will help to resolve sovereignty disputes in the region, especially sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea in order to protect and preserve national territorial and territorial integrity.