Connect with us


The world in the post-Covid-19 era



The coronavirus pandemic has not passed, but it has been and will leave severe consequences in all aspects of human life, as well as international relations.

The world in the post-Covid-19 era

A quiet street in New York, USA during the lockdown

VietNamNet would like to introduce articles by Dr. Hoang Anh Tuan, former Director of the Institute for Foreign Policy and Strategic Studies under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, about geopolitical changes in the world after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Our world is at an important turning point and a new world that is emerging will be totally different from the current world. There are both good and bad effects. Like it or not, we have to adapt to the new reality.

The new world is temporarily called the “post-Coronavirus world”. There was the “post-World War 2 world”, the “post-Cold War world”, so why not the “post-Coronavirus world”?

The “post-Coronavirus world” is named because of the severe consequences Coronavirus has caused to humans.

First, the COVID-19 epidemic is a public health disaster of the largest scale the world has ever witnessed in thousands of years.

Plagues are not new to the world. The world has witnessed horrific epidemics such as cholera, typhoid, plague, measles, Spanish flu, smallpox, and HIV, Ebola and SARS recently…

However, Covid-19 is the first global epidemic that almost all countries in the world have been affected more or less. The main agent for spreading coronavirus on a global scale is globalization.

Second, the contemporary world has never witnessed a crisis, catastrophe, or any other war with such fast destructive strength as the Covid-19 pandemic, which has the whole world “closed” as illustration on the Economist magazine’s cover shows.

Within three months, most of the production, trade, transportation, business, trading, and entertainment activities of people all over the world had to stop due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The physical damage amounted to tens of trillions of US dollars, and it continues to rise.

Third, like a fantasy film, the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic is the “first unconventional World War”, a war without gunfire, not between humans, but between humanity and an invisible virus. For the first time in the world there was a “war” in which all the latest weapons are useless.

What makes the whole world crazy and helpless is that despite great damage and huge amounts of money poured into the fight against the coronavirus, people still have very little knowledge about the mechanism of transmission of this virus. They also do not know when and how to develop a truly effective vaccine to treat patients and control the disease effectively.

Fourth, while the war against the Covid-19 pandemic has just begun, humanity began to vaguely understand that even if they win against coronavirus, it is only a temporary victory.

In fact, what the world is doing now is just the “rehearsal”. Most likely, after coronavirus is controlled, its “relatives,” “offspring”, or its new variants or strains can appear. The problem is only when and how.

They can emerge from the melting ice layers that have been buried for millions of years due to climate change and global warming. They can also come from old forests or come from wild animals in the forest to home animals when the natural environment is narrowed, and humans’ living environment and the natural environment become closer. Or they can “hide” somewhere, then genetically alter, to later reappear in a “more dangerous” way.

Dealing with such an “enemy”, nations or people cannot take conventional measures or practices, but must use harsh, special and extraordinary measures.

Three scenarios for the coronavirus pandemic

The changes for individuals, countries and the world will certainly depend greatly on how the Covid-19 pandemic will develop in the near future.

Therefore, it is important to develop different scenarios and how to respond to each scenario so that we are not passive and not surprised by any situation.

In general, based on the assessments and behaviors of the countries in the world today, it is easy to see that most of them build on a single scenario.

Their outlook for this scenario is relatively optimistic as they thought that the epidemic would soon disappear like a seasonal flu and by the end of June 2020, countries around the world would basically control the Covid-19 pandemic and the number of infected people as well as the death toll would be significantly reduced; economic activities and other activities would return to normal.

However, there was a problem in the forecast. In the countries most heavily affected by Covid-19 such as the US, France, Germany, England, Switzerland, Spain … they thought this was only a matter of Wuhan and China only. Therefore, they lost three precious months to take the necessary preparation and response.

Therefore, it is quite possible that the current “optimistic” forecasts will not take place in accordance with our subjective will. If the worst case occurs, what will be the contingency plan?

The answer is that many countries have no options at all!

In the strategy to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to anticipate the scenarios and thereby develop appropriate response options to avoid being passive. And it should be noted that the Covid-19 pandemic is not the problem of an individual nation but a global issue.

A country may soon “escape” from the pandemic, but its recovery depends on the developments of the disease in the surrounding countries and major economic and political centers in the world. If these countries continue to “fall ill”, the nation’s ability to fully recover will also be significantly slowed down due to interdependence.

We can temporarily set three scenarios as follows:

Scenario 1: The Covid-19 pandemic will only last for another three months, ie by the end of the second quarter of 2020. At that time, the disease will be controlled both regionally and globally.

This is the best scenario for countries as well as the whole world. The lockdown of 3-4 months can be considered as a pause, after which economic activities and people’s lives will return to normal.

Under this scenario, most countries are affected and damaged, but the damage will soon be overcome.

Scenario 2: The Covid-19 epidemic is primarily under control, but continues to spread at low levels in many countries and globally. The situation can take place from 1 to 3 years until people develop a specific drug to effectively treat patients infected with Covid-19.

If there is a specific drug, Covid-19 will be considered a seasonal flu, just like the flus or other diseases that humans have encountered such as measles, pertussis, diphtheria, malaria, HIV … We cannot completely eliminate Covid-19, but we can live with it.

Under this scenario, we have to both prevent the spread of the disease and restore production. As for social activities, exchanges between countries cannot be restored to normal levels, but only maintained at a minimum.

Also under this scenario, due to the prolonged impact, the economy of most countries and the world economy will enter a period of depression. People will have to live in more deprived conditions than before, while still having to devote significant resources to disease prevention.

Scenario 3: Covid-19 continues to spread very fast for a long time despite the “lockdown” measures that many countries are taking. The number of infections as well as the number of deaths remains steady at very high levels. The world will fall into a state of prolonged immobility.

It is worrisome that Covid-19 began to move from rich countries, with economic potential and advanced medical capabilities such as the US, China, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia … to poor, underdeveloped countries, where sanitation and health conditions are extremely backward, such as Africa, South Asia, Central and South America, and the Middle East.

Under this scenario, the death toll could be millions and tens of millions could be infected with the virus, causing the public health system and community epidemic systems in many countries to fall.

The consequences for the world are extremely tragic. The development of the world could be delayed for decades, accompanied by severe poverty, disease and violence.

As the ancients said, we hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Of the three scenarios above, scenario 1 is the most optimistic and everyone wants it to happen. Scenario 3 is the worst and nobody wants, but it cannot be completely excluded. Scenario 2 seems to be more likely.

To be continued…

Dr. Hoang Anh Tuan



State apparatus and demands from life



Improving the state apparatus is an objective requirement that needs to be resolved soon.

Regarding the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, this ministry does not only govern agriculture. Thus, this department is almost not part of creating links between farming and animal husbandry and the processing (food) and supporting industries (fertilizer, animal feed).

Previously, Vietnam had the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry. As for the ministry’s “rural development”, the management of bridges, roads, schools and health stations all belong to other ministries.

Bộ máy nhà nước và đòi hỏi từ cuộc sống-1

This is a great irrelevance, because these infrastructural facilities are small in scale, but extremely numerous in number, and spread evenly across villages in the country, which are only understood by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Many bridges were swept away in the rain and floods last year and have yet to be rebuilt. The reason is not because a lack of investment but because they have to wait for the participation of other ministries than the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The repair or rebuilding of these bridges is not under the management of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Because of this paradox, many problems have arisen. For example, businesses specializing in grass-growing, cow-raising and dairy processing are under the management of two ministries, one being agriculture and the other industry.

The Ministry of Construction manages the construction sector, but how can it manage traffic and industrial construction If it performs all of these works. The Ministry of Construction needs to be merged with many ministries, not only with the Ministry of Transport. While the management function of the Ministry of Construction has little practical value, urban construction has been downgraded.

Before the Doi Moi era, Vietnam’s urbanization was only around 20%. The rate increased to 30%, then 40% in recent years, and will reach 50% or 60% in the near future. So why there is no Ministry of Urban Development but the Ministry of Construction performs multidisciplinary construction management?

For our country, in terms of space, land, and population, two components have been planned: rural and urban. If rural development already has a management ministry, why should not urban development be assigned to a powerful and specialized ministry. It could be the Ministry of Construction.

Other “multidisciplinary construction” has been managed by many ministries, for example, construction of traffic projects managed by the Ministry of Transport, industrial construction under the management of the Ministry of Industry and Trade…

Bộ máy nhà nước và đòi hỏi từ cuộc sống-2

The Ministry of Industry and Trade is the state management agency for two multidisciplinary sectors: trade and industry. This is a rare ministry of its kind in the world.

The US does not have a Department of Industry, but only a Department of Commerce. France has no Ministry of Industry and no Ministry of Trade, but only Ministry of Economy and Finance. Japan has a Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. China has a Ministry of Trade, while Industry and Communications are merged into one ministry.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade is not only rare in the world, but also has the function of managing state-owned enterprises operating in the field of industry and trade.

Over the past few decades, the state-owned enterprise system of Vietnam has contributed over 30% of GDP, most of which came from enterprises under the management of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

In its development history, the Ministry of Industry and Trade was a merger of 10 ministries in the planned economy. During the Doi Moi period, it was the merger of the Ministry of Heavy Industry, the Ministry of Light Industry, and the Ministry of Trade.

This merger pushed the Ministry of Industry and Trade into a management maze and its functions collide with almost all other ministries, for example, with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on food and food processing industry management; Ministry of Construction on industrial construction management; Ministry of Transport with management of the production of transport equipment; with many ministries on trade management; and with the State Capital Management Commission on capital management of industry and trade enterprises.

The Ministry of Transport, in addition to the management of transportation (road, railway, airway, maritime, inland waterways), currently manages over 80 State-owned businesses, including eight corporations, over 20 non-business units (including two research institutes, three universities, six colleges, several hospitals, nine Project Management Units).

Obviously, this ministry is not only a multidisciplinary management ministry of transport, but also manages over 100 units of production, business and public service provision for society.

Bộ máy nhà nước và đòi hỏi từ cuộc sống-3

This is a typical ministry of Vietnam, because it not only performs multi-sector management, but also performs multi-ministry management in the government. It is impossible to deny the achievements that this ministry has made for the economy over the years, but since it has to spread its forces to perform its work, which cover many fields, many jobs belonging to transportation have been left behind.

Thus, includes traffic congestion at all levels, on provincial roads, highways, expressways and in centers of many cities. It includes the outdated railroad industry, and maritime shipping capacity with low capacity for a country with a coastline of more than 3 thousand kilometers like Vietnam.

In order to be suitable with the economy that has been and will be renovated with increasing speed and scale according to the guidelines and policies set in the resolution of the XIII Congress of the Party, the completion of the state administrative apparatus is a requirement that needs to be addressed.

This is not aimed at merging ministries once again, but to define the right roles and tasks among ministries in the functions, tasks, powers and responsibilities of the system of state administrative agencies.

Recently, the Government proposed changing the name of the Ministry of Construction to “the Ministry of Construction, Urban Development and Housing”.

Dr. Dinh Duc Sinh


Continue Reading


Vietnamese, Chinese top legislators hold online talks



The top legislators of Vietnam and China on June 17 shared their view on the significance of the bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership in the foreign policy of each country.

Vietnamese, Chinese top legislators hold online talks
Chairman of the Vietnamese National Assembly (NA) Vuong Dinh Hue and Chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee of China Li Zhanshu held online talks on June 17. (Photo: VNA)

During their online talks, Chairman of the Vietnamese National Assembly (NA) Vuong Dinh Hue and Chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee of China Li Zhanshu spoke highly of achievements in cooperation between the two legislative bodies, Parties and countries over the past time.

They compared notes on measures to strengthen the Vietnam-China relations in such areas as politics, economy-trade-investment, land border management, and the maintenance of peace and stability in the East Sea.

Hue informed Li about Vietnam’s successful organisation of the 13th National Party Congress and the elections of deputies to the 15th NA and all-level People’s Councils for the 2021-2026 tenure, as well as the country’s socio-economic development and the fight against COVID-19.

He congratulated the Chinese side on the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) (July 1), and achievements the country has recorded in COVID-19 containment, economic recovery and eradication of absolute poverty.

Hue suggested the two sides step up meetings at all levels, and invited Li to visit Vietnam, saying he wants to work together with the Chinese leader to instruct competent agencies to implement the cooperative agreement between the Vietnamese NA and the National People’s Congress of China.

The two sides should enhance friendly exchanges between peoples, especially young generations, and intensify the communication work to raise public awareness of the friendship between the two Parties and countries, he said.

Hue suggested the two countries enhance economic and political trust at the same time and make efforts to handle pending projects, and called on China to increase its import of Vietnamese goods.

He also called for China’s continued support to Vietnam in the pandemic combat, including the vaccine strategy.

Regarding the East Sea issue, Hue said the two sides should make joint efforts to maintain peace and stability, satisfactorily settle sea-related issues, respect legal and legitimate interests of each other in the spirit of common perceptions at the high level, notably the Vietnam-China agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea-related issues, and in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982 UNCLOS).

Vietnamese, Chinese top legislators hold online talks
Chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee of China Li Zhanshu. (Photo: VNA)

For his part, Li congratulated Vietnam on the successful organisation of the two above-said political events, and achievements in socio-economic development and COVID-19 containment.

He expressed his hope that under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), headed by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, Vietnam will grow further in the time ahead.

The CPC, the National People’s Congress and people of China attach importance to the friendly neighbourliness and comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership with Vietnam, he affirmed.

He shared Hue’s view on the need to boost all-level exchanges and meetings, and invited the Vietnamese top legislator to visit China.

Li expressed his willingness to work together with the Vietnamese legislature in realising the cooperative agreement between the two legislative bodies.

China will continue to assist Vietnam in the pandemic fight, including vaccine cooperation, he said, adding that China takes into account Vietnam’s suggestions in economic, trade and investment collaboration.

Li suggested the two sides observe high-level common perceptions in maintaining maritime peace and stability, and implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), soon reaching a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

Source: VNA


Continue Reading


Việt Nam calls for early completion of ASEAN travel corridor framework



Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Quốc Dũng speaks at the meeting. — VNA/ Photo 

HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyễn Quốc Dũng suggested ASEAN soon finalise a travel corridor framework for the safe resumption of essential business travel.

The official was speaking while addressing the ASEAN Joint Consultative Meeting (JCM) on Thursday.

The event took place via videoconference chaired by Brunei, which holds the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2021.

Participants at the meeting recognised the progress in ASEAN Community building over the last six months despite the complex COVID-19 situation in the region.

They expressed their countries’ support for Brunei to promote the initiatives and priorities for the ASEAN Year 2021.

They agreed on the roadmap for building the ASEAN Community’s post-2025 vision and on the establishment of a high-level drafting group this year.

The meeting also concurred on building an ASEAN master plan on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and accelerating the Strategic and Holistic Initiative to Link ASEAN Responses to Emergencies and Disasters (ASEAN SHIELD).

Officials agreed to step up the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines via UNICEF and the COVAX Facility to supply member countries, asking ASEAN to promptly used US$10.5 million from its COVID-19 response fund to purchase vaccines.

Stressing the importance of sustainable recovery, the countries highlighted the need for the entire bloc’s engagement in implementing the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, and for supporting enterprises, vulnerable groups, and remote areas in the region.

At the meeting, they welcomed and approved Việt Nam’s initiative to organise an ASEAN forum on sub-regional co-operation in the third quarter of this year to focus on narrowing the development gap among sub-regions for comprehensive recovery and sustainable development.

They also highly valued the outcomes of the regional conference on the implementation of the Initiative for ASEAN Integration for 2021 – 2025, held on May 19 and chaired by Việt Nam.

In his remarks, Deputy Minister Dũng said ASEAN should prioritise recovering and promoting connectivity by effectively implementing the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework and soon finalising an ASEAN travel corridor arrangement framework to facilitate travel within the bloc.

He also pointed out the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on the region, including the widened development gap among sub-regions in ASEAN.

The official called on member countries to assist remote areas, including the Mekong sub-region, to recover from the pandemic and keep up with the common development pace in the grouping. —


Continue Reading