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Turning point for development of the digital economy



In the past few years, Vietnam has achieved important milestones in the process of promoting the digital economy.

General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam and Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong emphasized “focusing on innovation, promoting national digital transformation, and developing digital economy and digital society” in his remarks at the opening session of the 13th Party Congress.

This is one of the major orientations covering important development issues of the country in the next 10 years. The General Secretary said that it is necessary to strongly and effectively reform the growth model, restructure the economy, and accelerate industrialization and modernization on the basis of science and technology, innovation and high quality human resources.

Positive moves

The draft political report and draft economic report both set a high goal: digital economy will account for about 20% of Vietnam’s GDP in 2021-2025 and about 30% of GDP by 2030.

The demand to build a digital economy is emphasized in the country’s strategic development direction in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic changing everyday activities.

The trend of digital transformation in the economy, in businesses and daily life has emerged in Vietnam in recent years, especially after the promulgation of the Politburo’s resolution 52-NQ/TW on a number of policies on Vietnam’s active participation in the 4th Industrial Revolution.

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the structure of global and regional markets, encouraging enterprises to conduct more thoroughly the transition to a digital economy. The government has moved positively to digital government to be compatible with business efforts.

In June 2020, the Prime Minister approved Decision No.749/QD-TTg on “National digital transformation program to 2025, with orientation to 2030”. The program points out specific objectives and solutions for each sector and each field.

In the past few years, Vietnam has achieved important milestones in the process of promoting the digital economy.

Vietnam is one of the first countries in the world to develop a 5G network. Vietnam stands out for digital advancement in the Asia-Pacific region as assessed by GSMA Intelligence.

With an average rate of 27% in the 2015-2020 period, Google, Temasek and Brain & Company ranked Vietnam second in ASEAN in terms of digital economic growth, with the digital economy estimated at around $14 billion in 2020.

Bước ngoặt phát triển kinh tế số từ phát biểu của Tổng bí thư

General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong emphasized “focusing on innovation, promoting national digital transformation, and developing digital economy and digital society”. Photo: VNA

Seizing opportunities

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused an explosion in demand for Internet use from the Vietnamese people. All Internet-based industries grew strongly in 2020 compared to the previous year: e-commerce rose 46%, and online communication 18%. Investment in the Internet industry last year also exploded, with 151 transactions worth $935 million.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Vietnam ranked 42 out of 131 countries and economies, holding the first position in the group of 29 countries with the same income level in the global innovation index.

The e-government model has developed very quickly, including services connected to the National Public Service Portal and National Single Window system. Seven out of 12 ministries have provided online public services at level 3 and level 4. More than 99% of active enterprises performed online tax declarations and tax payments.

There are also other services and pilot platforms to support businesses on digital platforms, such as online dispute resolutions.

These preliminary results are very encouraging, promising a faster and more substantial digital transformation in the country.

The Covid-19 pandemic has seriously affected the world and its consequences will last for many years. However, the pandemic has also created great opportunities for the development of the digital economy. Science and technology is developing rapidly, and the fourth industrial revolution and the digital economy have become major development trends of the era.

Vietnam will make a breakthrough if it grasps this opportunity and catches up with this trend.

Lan Anh



ASEAN foreign ministers’ statement on COVID-19 recovery, Myanmar issues



The Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (IAMM) was convened on 2 March 2021 via videoconference, with the view to progress the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, work on an ASEAN Community post-2025 vision, advance ASEAN’s initiatives to respond to and recover from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, discuss ASEAN’s external relations, as well as exchange views on pressing regional issues of concern. — VNA/ Photo

HÀ NỘI — An informal meeting via videoconference of foreign ministers of 10 ASEAN member states took place on March 2 and ended with the release of a Chair’s Statement. The following is the full text of the document:

Chair’s Statement on the Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (IAMM)

1. The Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting (IAMM) was convened on 2 March 2021 via videoconference, with the view to progress the implementation of the ASEAN Community Vision 2025, work on an ASEAN Community post-2025 vision, advance ASEAN’s initiatives to respond to and recover from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, discuss ASEAN’s external relations, as well as exchange views on pressing regional issues of concern.

2. In pursuit of strengthening our regional solidarity, we reiterated that the political stability in ASEAN Member States is essential to achieving a peaceful, stable and prosperous ASEAN Community. We underscored the need to maintain our unity, Centrality, and relevance in the region and to collectively address common challenges. We recognised that the strength of the ASEAN Community lies in putting people at its centre. In this regard, we recall the purposes and principles enshrined in the ASEAN Charter, including adherence to the rule of law, good governance, the principles of democracy and constitutional government, respect for fundamental freedoms, and the promotion and protection of human rights.

3. We noted the current progress on developing an ASEAN Community post-2025 vision and acknowledged the importance of continuity in this multi-year endeavour, such as having it co-chaired by a permanent shepherd for the duration of the visioning exercise together with the incumbent ASEAN Chair. We also agreed that the development of this vision should be pursued in a comprehensive, pragmatic, balanced, inclusive and coordinated manner across the three ASEAN Community pillars, sectoral bodies and with the relevant stakeholders, including at the Leaders’ level.

4. We reaffirmed our support for Brunei Darussalam’s priorities and deliverables under the theme of “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper”, and agreed to develop a Strategic and Holistic Initiative to Link ASEAN Responses to Emergencies and Disasters (ASEAN SHIELD) across the three ASEAN Community pillars. We reaffirmed our belief that regionalism and multilateralism are important principles and frameworks of cooperation.

5. We discussed ASEAN’s collective response to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic and reiterated our commitment to implement the initiatives in the Implementation Plan of the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework in a timely and effective manner. We welcomed the establishment of the Task Force on the Operationalisation of the ASEAN Travel Corridor Arrangement Framework (ATCAF) and encouraged the expeditious conclusion of the ATCAF. We welcomed the decision to utilise 10.5 million USD from the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund to procure vaccines for the people of ASEAN as soon as possible. We encouraged the early operationalisation of the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies for Public Health Emergencies and the timely establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases. We noted efforts to address the impacts of the pandemic on ASEAN’s Community building as well as efforts to narrow the development gap in the region.

6. We agreed to maintain ASEAN’s proactive and outward-looking approach in the conduct of ASEAN’s external relations based on shared interest, constructiveengagements, and mutual benefits, which can contribute to ASEAN’s Community building and development cooperation efforts, as well as efforts to ensure swift, comprehensive, and sustainable regional recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

We underscored the importance of further strengthening ASEAN Centrality and unity in our engagement with ASEAN’s external partners through ASEAN-led mechanisms in order to build mutual trust and confidence as well as to reinforce open, transparent, inclusive, and rules-based regional architecture with ASEAN at the centre. In this regard, we looked forward to convening the Special ASEAN United States Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in the near future, and other engagements with external partners. We also looked forward to activities to commemorate the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations as well as the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-Russia Dialogue Relations.

7. We exchanged views on regional and international issues of concern, including the situation in the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula. We underscored the need to maintain our unity, Centrality and relevance in the region and to collectively address common challenges.

8. We, as an ASEAN family, have been closely following the current developments in the ASEAN region and concurred that the political stability in any and all ASEAN Member States is essential to achieving a collective peaceful, stable and prosperous ASEAN Community. We expressed our concern on the situation in Myanmar and called on all parties to refrain from instigating further violence, and for all sides to exercise utmost restraint as well as flexibility. We also called on all parties concerned to seek a peaceful solution, through constructive dialogue, and practical reconciliation in the interests of the people and their livelihood. In this regard, we expressed ASEAN’s readiness to assist Myanmar in a positive, peaceful and constructive manner.

9. We also heard some calls for the release of political detainees and for the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Myanmar to engage the parties concerned.

10. We also underscored the importance of Myanmar’s continued efforts in addressing the situation in the Rakhine State, including commencing the repatriation process, in voluntary, safe and dignified manner in accordance with its bilateral agreements with Bangladesh. We reiterated our appreciation to the Secretary-General of ASEAN for his efforts in leading the implementation of the recommendations of the Preliminary Needs Assessment (PNA). We looked forward to the conduct of the Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) and encouraged the Secretary-General of ASEAN to continue identifying possible areas to effectively facilitate the repatriation process for displaced persons from Rakhine State. —


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Bringing skills of Vietnam to United Nations Human Rights Council discourse



Vietnam will run for the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2023-2025 term to spur human rights in the international arena.

Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh early this week stated at the high-level segment of the 46th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, with its big achievements in ensuring human rights and desiring to further contribute to joint efforts in protecting and promoting human rights in the world, Vietnam presented its candidature for membership of the Human Rights Council for the 2023-2025 term.

“We are honoured to have been endorsed as the ASEAN candidate for this position and are looking forward to the support from UN member states,” Minh said.

If Vietnam’s proposal is adopted, it will mark another milestone for the country’s further engagement and contributions to the international community, which is now particularly hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic and straining public health and social security systems of all countries.

bringing skills of vietnam to united nations human rights council discourse
Vietnam is running for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council

“As Secretary-General Guterres put it, the pandemic has been ‘triggering and exacerbating various human rights challenges’,” Minh said. “This should not, however, be a cause for despair. We can already see rays of hope. The world is moving towards a ‘new normal’.”

The global economy is seeing signs of gradual recovery. Vaccines have been developed and made available for public use in record time. Digital transformation and the application of science and technology, particularly IT, will most likely help provide solutions to challenges in all aspects of life.

The pandemic has also offered the world a new pathway to go forward, based on adaptability, innovation, cooperation, and solidarity at local, national, and global levels.

“Vietnam believes strongly that ensuring a safe society amid epi- and pandemics like COVID-19 is the best way to ensure that each and every member of the society can fully enjoy their human rights,” Minh stated. “Vietnam is grateful for the valuable support from its partners, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, and people around the world. Vietnam has provided medical masks and supplies to support more than 50 countries and international friends in their response to the pandemic.”

As proposed by Vietnam, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution by consensus proclaiming December 27 as the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness to help raise awareness on the importance of preventing and responding to epi- and pandemics.

Vietnam has joined the human development group based on the UN’s Human Development Index, and risen one spot to 117th out of 189 economies in the index.

Vietnam’s score has risen by 45 per cent in the past 30 years, according to a report released this week by the United Nations Development Programme, ranking economies based on life expectancy, education, per capita income, gender gap, and poverty.

Since 1990, its score has grown at an average of 1.31 per cent a year, making it one of the world’s 20 fastest-growing ones.



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Việt Nam joins ASEAN discussion on community, Myanmar



Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Phạm Bình Minh speaks at the Informal Meeting of ASEAN Foreign Ministers held online yesterday. — VNA/ Photo

HÀ NỘI  Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Phạm Bình Minh has urged all ASEAN members to find a peaceful way to resolve the ongoing violence and political crisis in Myanmar.

Speaking at the Informal Meeting of ASEAN Foreign Ministers held online yesterday, the Deputy PM said: “The increasing violence and tension causing the loss of people’s lives in recent days in Myanmar has affected the peace and stability not only of Myanmar but that of the whole region.”

He called on all ASEAN member nations to “refrain from causing any types of violence, ensure safety for the people, and facilitate peaceful dialogues that will help the situation to return to normal.”

He also asked the member nations to closely coordinate, promote the bloc’s role and effectively use existing cooperation tools and mechanisms – including coordination with global organisations such as the United Nations – to help Myanmar stabilise the situation for the benefit of the Burmese people and the country, as well as for peace and stability of the region, and solidarity and credibility of ASEAN.

The discussions come as protesters, many wearing hard hats, began marching in the biggest city Yangon for what they said would be another big demonstration. Several shopping malls have closed because of the unrest.

Police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of protesters in Yangon on Monday and later combed side streets, firing rubber bullets, witnesses said.

At least 21 protesters have been killed since the turmoil began. The army said one policeman was killed.

The coup on February 1 halted Myanmar’s tentative steps towards democracy after nearly 50 years of military rule, and has drawn condemnation and sanctions from the United States and other Western countries, and growing concern among its neighbours.

The military justified the coup saying its complaints of fraud in a November election won by Suu Kyi’s party were ignored. The election commission said the vote was fair.

Junta leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, in remarks read on state television by a newscaster, said protest leaders and “instigators” would be punished and threatened action against civil servants refusing to work.

Min Aung Hlaing has pledged to hold new elections and hand power to the winner but has given no time frame.

ASEAN Community

The ministers meeting also discussed the progress of implementing the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and the plan to build the ASEAN Community Vision after 2025, the implementation of COVID-19 response and recovery initiatives, as well as ASEAN external relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest.

Speaking on the issue of COVID-19 prevention and control, Deputy PM Minh said as an active and responsible member of the ASEAN community, Việt Nam committed to cooperate with other countries in eradicating the pandemic.

Minh also said he would continue to support the 2021 ASEAN Chair in building a solid ASEAN community building and controlling the pandemic. He also emphasised the utmost importance of partnerships and cooperation in this process.


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