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Việt Nam attends virtual 34th ASEAN-US Dialogue



Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyễn Quốc Dũng attends the 34th ASEAN-US Dialogue held in the form of videoconference on Thursday. — VNA/ Photo 

HÀ NỘI — Deputy Foreign Minister and head of Việt Nam’s ASEAN SOM Nguyễn Quốc Dũng attended the 34th ASEAN-US Dialogue held via videoconference on Thursday.

Speaking on behalf of ASEAN states, the Vietnamese official emphasised that amid increasing challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, climate change, competition for natural resources and sovereignty claims, countries need to bolster cooperation and dialogue, build trust and enforce the rule of law, as well as uphold the sense of responsibility, behave according to standards and respect each other to ensure an environment of peace and stability for development. 

Highlighting efforts by ASEAN and the US in addressing challenges to regional stability and development, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Việt Nam said ASEAN and the US should strengthen coordination to ensure peace, security and prosperous development in the region through ASEAN-led mechanisms, promote a rules-based regional order and adherence to international laws, and resolve disputes in a peaceful manner. 

Dũng also reiterated ASEAN’s principled stance on the South China Sea (East Sea) issue, and voiced his hope that the US will continue to play a constructive role and back ASEAN’s efforts in building the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation, as well as the bloc’s role in helping Myanmar.

US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Atul Keshap said that US President Joe Biden’s administration attaches importance to the strategic partnership with ASEAN, supports ASEAN’s central role and ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), and wants to enhance cooperation with the organisation in settling current challenges.

ASEAN countries spoke highly of the US’s contributions to cooperation, development, peace and stability in the region. They appreciated aid worth US$112 million from the US to help the organisation cope with COVID-19.

The two sides agreed to foster collaboration in trade-investment, human resources development, renewable energy, marine cooperation, response to natural disasters and climate change through the US’s development cooperation programmes such as the Partnership for Regional Optimisation within the Political-Security and Socio-Cultural Communities (PROSPECT), the Inclusive Growth in ASEAN through Innovation, Trade and E-Commerce (IGNITE), and in development gap reduction via the Mekong-US Partnership.

ASEAN and the US will closely coordinate to contribute to maintaining peace, safety and stability in the region, including maritime security and safety in the South China Sea, which is among major shipping routes of the world with potential risks and complicated developments.

The US underlined its support for ASEAN’s principled stance on the South China Sea issue; welcomed the bloc to perform its role in promoting cooperation, dialogues, and trust building; ensuring the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the building of an effective and efficient Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) in line with international law and the 1982 UNCLOS. —



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…

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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.

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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


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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


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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. —


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